A screenshot of the Commuter Barbie parody video.

Screengrab via carinajing.hsieh/Facebook

Commuter Barbie is the best parody of millennial New Yorkers

She's the career girl who's running the world—but also running late.


Samantha Grasso

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 27, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 4:16 pm CDT

Riding public transit in New York, you could almost make a succinct list of all the typical personalities you’ll encounter. There’s the performer busking between express stops from Harlem to Midtown. There’s the mom singlehandedly carrying her stroller complete with strapped-in child up the stairs.

And then there’s your type-A millennial working some sort of media slash arts gig who clearly took two seconds to attempt drying her hair, but is still prepared enough to have stopped for coffee: Commuter Barbie.

“Commuter Barbie—the career girl who’s running the world, and running late,” a new parody advertisement for the public transit hero coos confidently. “Commuter Barbie has a seat at the the table, and on the train.”

Her MetroCard is visibly worn from countless swipes, her Starbucks cup is leaking onto her barely-read copy of this week’s New Yorker, and her over-the-ear headphones exude the attitude of “I don’t have the time to process the negative emotions stirred by your cat calls—kindly fuck off.” She embodies all commuters on our best and worst days of riding the train with hundreds of strangers—just trying to make it through.


The fun video comes from Carina Hsieh, a sex and relationships editor at Cosmopolitan.com, and her friend Claudia Arisso, a brand packaging designer. The duo pounced on the idea after finding a mini tote bag from the iconic New York bookstore Strand.

Since Hsieh uploaded the video on Facebook on Tuesday, “Commuter Barbie” has garnered nearly 270,000 views. Hsieh told the Daily Dot that the response to Barbie’s relatable “hashtag commuter probs”—such as forgetting the Tide to Go pen she usually brings with her on a day she really needs it, or having sweaty, penny-scented hands after holding onto the pole for too long—has mostly come from millennial women.

Hsieh holds the New Yorker and catcalling jokes near and dear to her, though she and Arisso have a few ideas in the works for Commuter Barbie’s friends: Etsy train-knitting Barbie, Murray Hill Ken, and Hypebeast-embodied Ken.

“We’re so surprised it resonated with women in other cities too—we thought it was even going to be too niche for [New York], but it’s been such a great response and we’re so happy it’s relatable!” Hsieh wrote in a Twitter direct message. “Some people on Facebook/Twitter have brought up Boston, which we never thought would happen … San Francisco, too.”

H/T HuffPost

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*First Published: Apr 27, 2017, 1:25 pm CDT