Becoming Barbie: Living Dolls

Real Life Couple Are Models Of Plastic Perfection

For millions of little girls, the Barbie doll has been the pinnacle of plastic perfection for more than 40 years.

"I think a lot of little 6-year-old girls or younger even now are looking at that doll and thinking, 'I want to be her.' And it's something they grow out of," says Cindy Jackson, 48, who admits that she never outgrew her obsession with becoming Barbie.

"I looked at a Barbie doll when I was 6 and said, 'This is what I want to look like.'"

Cindy wasn't born with good looks. She bought them. And along the way, she's bought a lot of attention to her odd goal of becoming a living doll. Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports.
"This is who I'd like to be," says Cindy. "This is glamorous."

Cindy grew up a farm girl in Fremont, Ohio. "I wasn't that good looking. And my sister was really, really a pretty girl," recalls Cindy. "She was breathtaking. And everyone used to talk to her more and smile at her more and notice her first."

But Cindy says she had a lot going for her, even with her old looks: "I was recognized as being highly intelligent when I was a child. I was never shy. I was never lazy. And I was never lacking in ambition."

At 21, Cindy packed up her things and moved to London, where she went through a lot of changes – including a short career as a punk rocker. Finally, at 33, she began the grand transformation.

"I just wanted to look better," says Cindy. "Barbie was the blank canvas I filled in all those years ago. It was still my role model."
Cindy didn't have any of Barbie's looks, but she did have some money, which she inherited. It was enough to begin the surgeries that made her as plastic as her role model.

"I had laser surgery on my forehead," says Cindy. "I've had upper eyes done, lower eyes done twice. Cheek implants, nose job – two nose jobs."

She also had four facelifts, a chin reduction, several chemical peels, and more.

"My upper lift has been cut and rolled upwards to shorten the gap between my nose and mouth," adds Cindy. "My eyebrows, eyeliner and lip liner and the full lipstick is tattooed on."

It took 31 operations and 14 years, but Cindy's strange passion for plastic surgery got her a new look -- and a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

How much did all that surgery cost? "About $100,000," says Cindy. "But I did get quality discounts."

And that doesn't include maintenance. For instance, her lips will not permanently stay pouty. They'll have to be re-inflated every few months.

"How much of the problem with your old looks do you think was a perception problem in yourself," Schlesinger asks Cindy.

"Absolutely zero," says Cindy. "It's not that deep. It's not that psychological."
Since Cindy re-invented herself, she has made some snapshot friendships with Ivana Trump, Michael Jackson and Sarah Ferguson. She's also written a book, which she sells on her own Web site.

She now makes a living becoming a kind of celebrity. But just like a surgeon needs a scalpel, or a tummy needs a tuck, a Barbie needs a Ken. And Cindy got hers soon enough.

Tim Whitfield Line, 36, was a web designer who lived north of London. He saw Cindy on television, and all of a sudden had a new goal in life.

"I wanted to be a male version of her," says Line.

It didn't take long. About one year and $50 thousand later, he's now Miles Kendall -- new name, new face.

"People call me shallow. But I call society shallow. Because they treat me differently now," says Miles. "…I mean I wanted to look better anyway. I did. Who doesn't? People like me or Cindy Jackson go a bit further. A lot."

They're just perfect, and delighted – and just friends. But whatever went on between Barbie and Ken is not going on here.
But as Barbie and Ken, Cindy and Miles credit their new faces for their new lives. Cindy helped Miles open his new bar, and it's a goal he says he reached with the help of plastic surgery.

"The point is I'm content inside. I don't worry about my looks anymore," says Miles. "I want to concentrate on more important things in my life, which I'm doing now."

And Cindy, at 48, is also content to be the poster girl for plastic surgery, a plastic image she's dreamt about becoming since she was 6 years old.

"The surgery was a means to an end. That's all," says Cindy. "There are so many people who are being held back by their looks, and if that can help give them a better quality of life and make them happier – what else is more important in life?"
  • Rebecca Leung

More From 48 Hours

Comments