People do a lot of weird things when it comes to their appearance, but surgically modifying yourself to look like a toy character just seems to be a whole other level of bizarre. And yet here we are: a new real-life Ken has been identified! Yes, that Ken. The one who dates Barbie. And yes, he's not the first such man to have himself surgically altered to look like this paragon of doll masculinity; in fact he's, the third.
The third human Ken is a 28-year-old Londoner named Rodrigo Alves, and he joins Justin Jedlica and Celso Santebanes in the ranks of men who want to look like they just got through with a date with Barbie. As far as I am aware, none of them are actually dating any of the human Barbies, though — in fact Jedlica actually disapproves of human Barbie Lukyanova — so at least the universe is not making us deal with the ramifications of any of that.
Alves recently underwent another round of plastic surgery to make himself look even more like Ken, and based on the amount he's shelled out to mimic the signature look — over $250,000 so far — he is currently the most dedicated of the human Kens. And we'll say this at least: he really does look like Ken.
Freaky, no? You kind of want to invite him over to your Malibu dream house. Or you would if it weren't also really freaky to see a real person who looks like a plastic doll.
When we hear about lookalikes from the Barbie family, it's most often women who have had surgery to look more like Barbie. Which is surprisingly common. (Though some claim not to have actually had surgery to get their look). And part of that might be the fact that Barbie is the iconic character from the franchise, rather than Ken, and part of it might be our cultural obsession with women's bodies and what they look like and what women choose to do with them.
But despite the fact that women almost certainly face more body image issues as a result of that disproportionately intense scrutiny, that doesn't mean men don't have body image issues, either, or feel pressure to live up to an ideal — even a completely fictional ideal molded out of plastic and not found anywhere in the real world.
And in fact, based on an interview in The Daily Mail, Alves certainly sounds like he might be addicted to plastic surgery and making himself look more and more Ken-like. "It doesn’t define the man that I am," he said. "I’m much more than silicone and cosmetic surgery — but once you get started it’s difficult to stop." He added, "I’m quite hard on myself and I’m scared of getting old — that’s the truth."
If that doesn't sound like someone who's internalized our society's absurd emphasis on youth and beauty, I don't know what does.
In an idea world, aka not the one we clearly live in, people wouldn't feel the need to actually modify their physical bodies, especially using extreme surgeries that do things like restructure your nose or cut the skin between your lip and gum to widen your smile. Which are all part of the procedure Alver just had done, in case you were curious. Maybe someday we will truly send the message that people's bodies are great however they look naturally, rather than just giving the idea lip service.
Until then, all I ask is that no one put together any sort of reality TV series featuring human Barbies and human Kens. Just don't do that to me. I can't deal with it.