Looking at a photograph of Valeria Lukyanova, you might wonder if this Ukrainian internet star really exists outside of the strange land of YouTube, where "living doll" beauty has become a trend.
The picture, however, is from the new issue of V magazine, which flew Lukyanova, known as "the human Barbie," to New York for the shoot, proving her existence and giving us a glimpse into her bizarre brain. At Shine we've profiled many doll-like ladies, from 19-year-old Anime queen Anastasiya Shpagina, to 15-year-old London YouTube sensation Venus Palermo, to England-native Sarah Burge, who currently holds the world record for spending over $500,000 on cosmetic surgery. Even so, Lukyanova's story stands out.
Twenty-one-year-old Lukyanova refers to herself as "most famous woman of the Russian-speaking Internet" and often uses the alias "Amatue," which means sun goddess. She hails from the Moldavian city of Tiraspol, and currently has 466 videos uploaded to her YouTube account with over 16 million views and 535,000 Facebook fans. She was early to the living doll movement, but she tells V, "Indeed, I've noticed a trend." In fact, Lukyanova is friends with "Anime Girl" Anastasiya Shpagina, who makes similar popular online beauty tutorials. "Every good-looking woman with fine features and a slim figure looks like a doll. I won't deny that I play along with people's perceptions. I'm amused by the reactions. I don't take it seriously."
Strong reactions to Lukyanova's appearance are not surprising. With her large glassy eyes (enhanced by makeup and contact lenses), long platinum blond hair, Gumby-like limbs, and disproportionate chest to waist ratio, the Ukrainian YouTube star really does look like she belongs in a Mattel box on a toy shelf. But despite her unrealistic exterior and confusing claims on her website that she is "endowed by nature with extraordinary external data," this woman is real.
So what is the average day like for a human Barbie like Lukyanova? "In the morning I work on my face and I get a massage, then I spend some time on the Internet," she tells V magazine. "I meditate and travel in my astral body, and after that I work out at the gym. I go for a walk with my best girlfriend, I get home, and I make dinner for the man I love. Then I spend some more time on the Internet, do some reading and meditating, and go to bed." Yup, all in a day's work.
Lukynova encounters many haters in online forums, but she isn't deterred by them. "I know the other side of celebrity is negativity, but I see it in a positive light. If people care about me, then I am on the right path," she says. "I'm happy I seem unreal to them, it means I'm doing a good job. It's hard work, but they dismiss it as something done by surgeons or computer artists. This is how they justify not wanting to strive for self-improvement. "
While clearly she values her appearance, she insists that her inner self is far more important. So in addition to maintaining her intense beauty routine, Lukyanova is focusing on her spiritual journey. In fact, she says she's a teacher at the School of Out-of-Body Travel. (We looked it up-as bizarre as it sounds, there is one textbook available on Amazon and an online course We're wondering if she's actually paid, and perhaps this is how she makes a living as a YouTube star and professional living doll.) To elaborate, she told V, "It's an international school in which our instructors show students how to leave their physical body and travel in their spiritual body, where you can visit any place on the planet and in the universe. I know that this is the future of mankind and that it has huge potential."
Speaking of potential, Lukyanova is also actively pursuing a music career in the unknown-to-us "new age opera" genre. She says she writes most of her work during meditation and astral travels, and counts music by Sarah Brightman and Enigma amongst her influences. "Sometimes I can write a piece in one breath, in as little as five minutes," she tells V. Another dubious unknown talent of Lukyanova: "I'm a professional mountain climber."
She may be real, but it's clear Lukyanova is from another planet.