Move over, Barbie. Trophy Wife is in town and she’s taking over the social sphere one femininely divine day at a time. Instagram is the Gem that keeps on giving, especially after stumbling across Trophy WifeBarbie. Now before you assume anything, she’s not your typical Barbie. She’s still as gorgeous as ever, but she’s also as crazy, classy and real as ever. We had the honor of speaking with the creator of Trophy Wife Barbie to get a deeper look into the Mattel icon’s modern-day boss babe. Check it out.
First, I’d like to say thank you for your time. It’s such a pleasure to speak with you. Why don’t you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
My name is Annelies Hofmeyr. I’m a 37-year old South African-born, Australian-based conceptual artist with a background in Graphic Design and Contemporary Jewelry.
What you do is so interesting. You’ve taken Barbie, a global icon, and put such a powerful feminist spin on her. What inspired you to start Trophy Wife Barbie?
I use iconic Barbie imagery, with a little twist, to explore gender issues and the modern female identity while highlighting the limitations of labels. It is often easier to talk about challenging topics using humor and something as non-threatening as a doll. Instagram is a great platform for an image-based project like Trophy Wife Barbie.
After going through all the Barbies on your account, it seems like she threw in the crown for antlers. Can you explain what those antlers represent? The antlers are a physical representation of a label imposed on her and her friends, likening her/them to hunting trophies. Having labels imposed on you and choosing to live according to stereotypes are two very different things. Nobody is just one thing, yet we often treat people as if they are and their labels become their identity.
Trophy Wife Barbie isn’t your typical cookie-cutter girls-next-door Barbie. She’s rebellious, fierce, and outspoken (so to speak). Each one bringing a new character into Barbie’s world, but I’m curious…why choose Barbies? Did you know they were going to get such social recognition? Dolls are non-threatening, and allow us to project our feelings and ideas onto them. I use Barbies (and Kens) in an attempt to circumvent censorship and talk about more challenging topics. I think I’ve simply found a new way of talking about old things and I’m very grateful that the message is so well-received.
I really love the diversity in Barbie’s posse. Especially with how watered down colorism is in today’s society, it’s a breathe of fresh air to see that she has friends from all corners of the world. What was your goal in choosing the women in her life? I believe the more we see something, the sooner we become desensitized to it. My intention with incorporating LGBTQ and other marginalized communities in everyday scenarios is to invite people to consider what might happen if we focus on the things that we have in common, rather than fear the things that make us different. Being represented, even in doll form, has a tremendously affirming ability. Building people up and promoting confidence and a healthy self-esteem is very important to me.
You’ve taken a pop culture icon and gave her a real-life spin on her. Barbie is famous for being the face of perfection, but Trophy Wife Barbie lets us know that life is anything but symmetrical perfection. What is your goal with Trophy Wife Barbie? Where do you want to take her? I believe the ultimate goal of art is discussion, something that affords us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and each other. It is also the only way we stand a chance at shattering taboos and growing as a society.
As an artist I feel the Barbie vehicle is one I can take in many directions, including more traditional artistic venues such as gallery exhibitions. There are many ways to reach people and I’m fascinated by different formats of expression
I’ve launched a website and currently selling prints to help spread the Trophy Wife Barbie message and facilitate discussion outside the realm of social media. When you actually own and interact with an object that carries a message you believe in, that message gets anchored even more deeply, and I’m excited to share that with my followers.