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Barbie celebrates her 55th birthday -- Hollywood style

March 18, 2014 at 10:42 AM ET

From her debut 55 years ago to today, Barbie has been reinvented over the years as everything from characters from favorite movies to pop icons like Marilyn Monroe.

Who says youth is wasted on the young?

America's favorite doll is keeping up appearances despite hitting her mid 50s this month. Barbie (her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts) turned 55 on March 9, and Mattel is celebrating by expanding her ever-impressive résumé to further Hollywood pursuits.

For the “Barbie 2014 Hollywood & Pop Culture collection,” she pays homage to the "Divergent" movie series ($24.95, Barbiecollector.com) in theaters this week, and wears a gown by red-carpet designer Zuhair Murad.

Divergent Tris Doll Designed by: Bill Greening Release Date: 2/13/2014
The future belongs to those who know where they belong. Tris doll wears her Dau...
Barbie, Summit Entertainment
The "Divergent" Tris Doll by Mattel is modeled after the series character, played by actress Shailene Woodley.

The Lebanese-born Murad has dressed such A-list stars as Jennifer Lopez, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Swift, and has now has partnered with Barbie on a limited edition doll ($75, Barbiecollector.com) outfitted in a nude strapless gown from his spring-summer couture 2012 collection, originally worn by Blake Lively.

Barbie has donned high-end designs before, including those from couture designer Bob Mackie, footwear icon Christian Louboutin, and even "Project Runway" star Tim Gunn. She has also entertained roughly 130 professions, ranging from astronaut and presidential candidate to street rapper and soda fountain waitress.

Barbie poses on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Sports Illustrated.
Barbie poses on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

It's been a busy season for the fantastic plastic icon. Last month, Barbie was featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, a title generally reserved for striking human models. The spread became a bigger issue when parents and fans of the brand questioned whether it was the right move for the doll's legacy.

Barbie, ever the feisty blonde, responded to critics with an op-ed on the Mattel website, with the hashtag #unapologetic.

"I am a doll. And yet, I’ve always caused a bit of a stir, starting with my debut as a teenage fashion model in a swimsuit in 1959," read the statement. “Barbie dolls” aren’t the problem. Models choosing to pose in a bikini aren’t the problem. The assumption that women of any age should only be part of who they are in order to succeed is the problem."

As for Ken, he also celebrated his birthday in March. He is but a mere 53 years old. 

Video: Barbie is celebrating her 55th birthday this year, and to commemorate the celebration the doll has an elegant dress to wear courtesy of Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad. NBC's Janet Shamlian reports.

With reporting by NBC's Zainab AbdulAziz.


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