Barbie 2023 posters collage in front of blue to white sky gradient

Barbie/Warner Bros

‘Barbie’ character memes are now all over the internet

Are you a Barbie or a Ken?


Michelle Jaworski

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 4, 2023

Between first-look photos and an instantly iconic trailer, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is already taking the internet by storm. But those character photos also serve as the perfect template to ensure anyone can be in the Barbie movie.

Over a series of tweets, Warner Bros. shared 24 character posters, revealing that while Margot Robbie was playing Barbie and Ryan Gosling was playing Ken, they’re not the only Barbie and Ken in Barbie Land: They’re joined by the likes of Issa Rae, Hari Nef, Emma Mackey, Dua Lipa, Alexandra Shipp, Nicola Coughlan, Ritu Arya, Kate McKinnon, Ana Cruz Kane, and Sharon Rooney (as Barbie) and Kingsley Ben-Adir, Ncuti Gatwa, Scott Evans, and Simu Liu (as Ken). Mix in actors like Will Ferrell, Helen Mirren, America Ferrera, Ariana Greenblatt, Jamie Demetriou, Connor Swindells—and Michael Cera and Emerald Fennell playing obscure Barbie dolls—and we might have one of the more eclectic and ambitious casts of the year.

(Interestingly, Rhea Perlman and John Cena, credited in the trailer, didn’t get posters.)

The posters all have a certain look to them. With the Mattel logo as a background around each character, the poster indicates if they’re a Barbie, a Ken, a human, or someone working in corporate; Mirren is the film’s narrator. All Barbies have a prestigious job title— the President, a lawyer, a Supreme Court Justice, a Nobel Prize or a Pulitzer winner, or an author—or quirk that makes them unique while the Kens are simply allowed to be Ken.

And it’s a solid setup for a meme: All you have to do is swap out the Barbie actor, put in a fictional character of your own, and stick a label to it. It’s admittedly a lot easier for fictional Barbs and Kens, and in Succession’s case, it works much better than you’d imagine. (The tagline, “She’s everything. He’s just Ken” fits perfectly, too.)

Several larger-than-life characters also jumped into the Barbie Cinematic Universe, which now includes The White Lotus, TÁR, and M3GAN.

Jamie Lee Curtis? Why not!

Barbie is set to open on July 21, the same day as Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. And while that’s oft been a source of amusement for Film Twitter, it also lends itself to making Oppenheimer Barbie happen.

Many of the poster edits involve fictional characters, but if you want to be a Barbie or a Ken? There’s a selfie generator for that.

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*First Published: Apr 4, 2023, 1:10 pm CDT