British Columbia

Bratz, Barbie dolls get no-makeup makeover at B.C. workshop

An art gallery in Prince George, B.C. is inviting people to "make under" Barbie and Bratz dolls to make them look more relatable as toys.

Dolls' made-up faces and revealing clothing replaced by more realistic features and everyday apparel

On the left, a Bratz doll as purchased, with makeup and glamorous clothes. On the right, the same model of Bratz doll, after her makeup has been removed and her face repainted to look more realistic, dressed in more everyday clothing. (Shaam Semere/CBC)

An art gallery in Prince George, B.C. is inviting people to "make under" Barbie and Bratz dolls to make them look more relatable as toys.

"A lot of them are really unrealistic and it doesn't seem like something that's very relatable," Two Rivers Gallery's makerLabs co-ordinator Kathleen Angelski told Daybreak North's Shaam Semere.

Angelski has collected dozens of plastic dolls and this week, held an event allowing people to drop in to repaint the dolls faces and make them new clothes for $5.

Public programmer Anna-Maria Lawrie said the gallery had to do some testing to figure out the best ways to re-make the dolls.

Initially Lawrie tried to remove the bright make-up from one doll's face with nail polish remover.

"I took three different brands of [nail polish remover] and I scrubbed, I moved, and I scrubbed and it didn't come off," she said.

Eventually, she found a solvent that took the face off easily and she was able to repaint it with more realistic features.

Proceeds from the Make Under Makerlabs were donated to the Elizabeth Fry Society, which works with and for women and girls in the justice system.

Angelski said re-making the dolls touched adults and children alike.

"I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but I think it just touches the child in us all, that remembers back to the days when this was us playing with them."

To hear more about the Make Under Makerlabs, listen to the audio labelled: Making under dolls.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?