A California grandmother’s super relatable “quarantine Barbies” are going viral on Instagram.
Tonya Ruiz, 56, started posting Barbie parodies to her @grandmagetsreal Instagram account as a fun hobby to do with her granddaughters.
Ruiz said she used to travel as a speaker on positive body image and would often use Barbies as props to portray unrealistic beauty standards. When she retired, she placed the Barbies in her attic, where her granddaughters found them years later and asked if they could play with them.
Ruiz said she didn’t want the girls to grow up with the same unrealistic beauty standards that she did, so she had an idea. She took the girls to the store and had them pick Barbies that looked like realistic members of their family.
"I heard Mattel came up with a new line of Barbies that look more like real people so I wanted to find them," Ruiz said.
They started photographing the Barbies with different props and put them on Instagram for fun. Soon, to her surprise, she had a following.
“I wanted to show my granddaughters Barbies are not just about the shoes,” Ruiz said. “It’s more about real life and family and realistic things.”
When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit and people began quarantining at home, Ruiz decided to do what she does best – make a real-life quarantine Barbie and post it to her Instagram.
Ruiz bought Barbies from the store but made them her own with miniatures that she collects from thrift shops and garage sales.
Her first post was “Curvy Barbie in stretchy pants,” but after inspiration from her family and requests from her Instagram followers she started making others.
Binge watch Barbie, bread baking Barbie, Zoom Ken and other hilarious quarantine Barbies came after. Ruiz even made a health care hero Barbie and said she’s working on a grocery store worker as well.
“So many people said – finally a Barbie I can relate to,” Ruiz said. “I love that because that has been my message for the years I spoke about body image. You can’t look like a Barbie. You’re a real woman.”
Ruiz said she was shocked by how many people asked if they were for sale or on Amazon, but she insists they're just her “comedic commentary on the quarantine.”