Skip to main content

What Happened to Barbie's Little Sister Skipper? Plus, a Barbie Time Line for All Fans

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Holly is a Photographer and Digital Marketing Professional focusing on SEO, Pay Per Click, Content User Experience & Strategy Development.

Do you see any consistency?

She doesn't even look like the same person?

She doesn't even look like the same person?

Skipper has had some serious PLASTIC REMOLDING

What happened to Skipper? You know Skipper, Barbie’s little sister. My two year old daughter has a bit of an obsession with Barbie, a personality trait which was passed down to her by me. In an effort to bribe her to be good, I told her I would get all my old Barbie Dolls from my mother and father’s home. To my surprise, she followed through and was well behaved, giving me little grief the other morning as I was attempting to get both her and her slightly older brother dressed, out the door and to daycare after sleeping in too late. I kept my promise to my daughter and found my way to my parents storage barn, and after an hour long adventure through memory lane, I pulled out an old Playskool Plastic Toy Box, filled with Barbie and everything that Barbie offered in the 1980’s. Aside from the fashionable 80’s wardrobe I had collected, and my Glue Head Ken Doll, I noticed Skipper, Barbie’s little sister.

I had the versions of Skipper which was made in 1985 and 1988 (which was the peak years for my Barbie Obsession before I reached recovery). These two versions are two completely different emendations of Barbie’s younger sibling, and compared to the versions of Skipper which have transcribed over the past 20 years, are two of the more innocent versions of the doll. 1985 Skipper looks like she had a bit of Down syndrome, and lacks any type of female attributes other than the long locks of blonde hair. 1988 Skipper has more of a round baby face, bigger/wider eyes and has hit puberty showing some breast development.

Although Barbie has obviously been well endowed with breasts and a figure to seduce a mountain lion into submission, I was wondering what the heck Mattel was thinking when they decided to make Skipper grow up and then fall back into the teen years? 1997 Skipper might as well have been Barbie… but the 2011 version, looks more like an annoyed 16year old being told she can’t wear her big sisters clothes or drive the Barbie Pink VW Bug to the Beach Resort. I realize that Barbie changes with the times, but can’t we get a little consistency with the dolls or at least the progression of age?

Well I guess that is that... or we could go back in time to see how Barbie and all that applies came to be what is still deemed Mattel’s #1 Produced Toy. Why not… this is about the one and only Barbie Legacy isn’t it?

She has been the constant playmate for thousands of little girls for over 50 years

The Perfect...ummm? Well??? Everything...

The Perfect...ummm? Well??? Everything...

Only Barbie could get away with that without airbrushing...

Only Barbie could get away with that without airbrushing...

Because a girl can be whatever a girl wants to be...

Because a girl can be whatever a girl wants to be...

Who, What, When or Where...Have no fear Barbie was There! Yay Barbie!

Barbie was produced by one Ruth Handler in 1959… She was modeled after a comic book character from London named Lilli. The first version that Ruth came up with for her Barbie Doll was rejected by Mattel-whom claimed it would be a flop and the market for such a doll did not exist. In 1959, Barbie premiered in a New York Toy Show, and although attendees were not impressed, little girls everywhere wanted to trade in their Baby Dolls for Barbie Dolls. It took Mattel years to catch up with the supply and demand of the doll. The first Barbie Doll sold for only $3 in its introductory year, selling over 300,000 dolls.

Barbie has, ever since her introduction in 1959, been at the forefront of all the latest fashions and trends. In 1964, when Skipper was introduced, Miss Barbie was reinvented, and became the only doll on the market with the ability to open and close her eyes. Ken was introduced into the market as Barbie's Boyfriend in 1961 and Skipper Barbie's little sister was introduced in 1964. Initially, Ken has fuzz for hair. It was two years after his introduction that his locks were painted on.

It was not until 1965 that Barbie was able to bend at the knees. 1965 along with the bendable knee was also the year that Barbie was first suited up as an Astronaut. The knee bend made dressing and undressing Barbie for her dates with Ken more plausible for young girls. (The ironic thing about 1965 Barbie is that women were not even allowed into the space program in 1965…that came a few years down the line).

In 1968 Ken disappeared, but Christie, Barbie’s first African American Friend Appeared, and broke into a whole new untouched market of little girls. Although 1968 was without Ken, Barbie developed a voice. With the pull of a string on her back, Barbie was able to speak 6 phrases. Wonder why one of these phrases was, I have a date tonight, but Ken was not manufactured this year?

In 1969, Ken finally shows back up and he too has a voice. I suppose the year he disappeared he was working out because when he returned he came back with larger more defined muscles to sweep Barbie off her feet.

It was 1970 in which Barbie lost her sideswipe model stance and had a strait forward head and appearance. Her sideswipe stance was replaced with the Hippie look as the Hippie Era swept over the nation. The year before Barbie lost the model stance she was given more movement with bendable arms along with legs and hip swivel. This is what I consider to be the year Barbie became double jointed.

In 1976 Barbie becomes the ultimate over achiever, she was an Olympic Star as a Skier, Skater and Gymnastic Mentalist. Even while participating in the Olympics, Barbie still has time to work, becoming a Doctor, a Nurse, Ballerina and a Flight Attendant. I am also convinced that the following year Barbie entered rehab for her addiction to speed, granted I can not find the ‘Strung Out’ Barbie Doll, or “Hospital ward” Barbie Doll anywhere, they must exist.

In 1980, Barbie made many friends when Mattel in an effort to desegregate the nation introduced Hispanic and Black Barbie followed by Asian Barbie the following year. But it wasn’t until 1993 that Native American Barbie paved Toy Store shelves.

Also in 1981, Barbie embraced the ‘Cowboy Chic’ with her western attire contributions.

To keep Barbie as a fashion Icon, 1986 Barbie sported clothing designed by Christian Dior and other High Fashion Designers of the time.

In 1989 Barbie became all that she could be and joined the Army, Navy, Air force and Marines. 1990, was the year Barbie became Punk Rock, with Barbie and the Beats debuting. The Dolls were paired with a musical collection made by Barbie herself. The hot pink cassette tapes were played on walk-mans everywhere. Although little girls loved the cassette tapes, Barbie’s musical career was short lived and only lasted that year.

Scroll to Continue

In 1997, before she turns 40 in 1999, Barbie gets a Harley and becomes the #1 Toy for the year, which amazed and shocked most Marketing Professionals.

Throughout time, Barbie has been apart of life for almost all girls. For some reason no one ever had enough Ken to go around? Perhaps this is because, Barbie is about being a girl, and becoming anything you want to become-with or without a man.

Although she may have had a boob reduction and had to begin being made with sheer panties…Barbie is Barbie, and even if we didn’t love her as children, we knew her. Barbie has and will always be an Icon and perhaps a bit of a Role Model for many future generations to come.


It is a Barbie World for Many Barbie Girls


Jerome on June 08, 2015:

I am so so proud to call you my sister! You have such an incirdeble talent. Yay for finally having a blog! Your passion is seen in each and everyone of your photos. I look up to you I'm so many ways and hope to someday have a job that I enjoy as much as you enjoy yours. I love you with all of my heart!

Christina on February 28, 2014:

i have always loved barbie since i was little in the 1970's. my most favorite was the first version of "malibu" barbie (with the "stacey" face-mold). but i never did get a new one. the only ones i got (2 of them) were both hand me downs with damaged hair (1 frizzed out with male pattern baldness & the other with the hairstrands broken off/worn down all around the head).

as for "skipper" my all time favorite "skipper" doll was the very first "malibu" skipper that came out, wearing the bright orange bikini that had the big dark eyes. oh that was the prettiest doe-eyed "skipper" that was ever made!!

as for the later models of "skipper", i didn't care for them very much. although the "sun lovin' malibu" skipper with the tan lines, kind of looked like the original "malibu" skipper, she didn't have them big dark eyes.

and "super teen" skipper & "western" skipper have always looked ugly to me. they had the ugliest face. LOL....

i had outgrown barbies & dolls by the time that the what i call, the "lollipop" face/head "skipper" doll. the one with the round, flat face and big round eyes. what the heck was mattel thinking when they made that skipper doll!!?? she was just plain weird & alien looking!!! and then they made such a pretty grown up skipper when they made 1997 "teen" skipper. she was such a fresh & pretty young lady, no longer a cute little girl.

heck, going back to my first love, "malibu" skipper, i remember thinking that she was "malibu" barbie's & "malibu" ken's daughter. to me they were the "malibu" family.

ha ha ha....

my rant is over. thanks for the walk down memory lane. i hadn't thought about the first "malibu" skipper since i was little. i think i might have had the paperdoll. it was so long ago, i can't say for sure.

oh well......

i miss you little girl, "malibu" skipper............

holly on February 14, 2014:

the barbie jeep Tonka the best

Holly (author) from Lone Star State on June 04, 2011:

Abound - thanks! I too am glad you found and enjoyed the hub about barbies. just today I was talking about barbie and my collection with someone. I was giving her facts and she laughed as she asked how in the heck I know so much about the doll...I said she was the one constant my life has had and I always thought that she was perfect... thanks again for reading and for the comment :)

Abound on June 01, 2011:

Wow I am so happy to have landed on this site. I collected Barbies for many years. Unfortunatley I hd to sell 75% of them due to hardship, but kept about70 of them. I have the Barbie, 40th anniversary, that you are showing. I also have her 'hubby', Ken (40th anniversary!). They are in the box and were never opened. In summary, I moved into survival mode when I lost my job and my Barbie(s) came in handy. Now others are enjoying her.

I think it is so cool you stepped up to the plate and brought up the unique Barbie(s). I had a blast collecting them and showing them off. Who would have ever thought I would end up selling most of them! God has a way of providing and blessing all involved.

My favorite Barbie was the Bride, Hollywood, Scooby doo, and Harley collections. I will keep on reading and thank you for sharing. Collecting Barbies was different and enjoyable.

Holly (author) from Lone Star State on April 21, 2011:

yenajeon- thank you ma'am, I appreciate the rate up and lad you liked the hub... I was a little obsessive with my Barbie Dolls--- now I have transferred the obsession over to something, well :)

Yena Williams from California on April 20, 2011:

HC Porter: I think the only thing I ever liked about Barbie's were the costumes and the different outfits. I wonder if they'll ever start making "Barbies" that look more like me! Great hub, rated awesome!

Holly (author) from Lone Star State on April 03, 2011:


I cant believe I had so many Barbie's...and outfits for her. I of course have the special editions like James Dean and 2000 Barbie that are still in boxes-but all the ones that were opened, were played with often and some are in not so great shape (Glue Head Ken-the Barbie with half her hand chewed off from my childhood puppy)...but all of them brought back many memories as I watched my daughter play with them. Thank you for commenting!

Holly (author) from Lone Star State on April 03, 2011:

A.A. Zavala

LOL- Joe rarely had any shame when it came to Barbie Camp :)... Thanks for the comment (made me laugh) and for reading!

Holly (author) from Lone Star State on April 03, 2011:


Thank you for reading and for commenting- I am so glad I was able to bring back some memories and spark a re-interest in the Skipper Dolls evolution. :)

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on April 02, 2011:

Loved this! OMG, how those Barbie pics took me back! I realy think your Barbie doll collection might be worth mucho bucks. It's even better that YOUR daughter gets to play with them now.

Hey, girls loved it, dressing Barbie in all her different little outfits. It was a dream come true.

Augustine A Zavala from Texas on April 02, 2011:

I had no idea about Skipper, if my GI joe knew, he would have ravaged her like he did Barbie. He had no shame. Thanks again for sahring.

craftdrawer on April 02, 2011:

I haven't thought about Skipper in years! I still have an original one from either the 50's or 60's given to me from someone's collection. I enjoyed reading about the newer version of this great doll...

Holly (author) from Lone Star State on April 02, 2011:


awww...thanks kim- likewise... forever and always! guess Barbie is not such a popular subject to read about these days, lol...oh was fun. I would love to share some of my work for DA, let me know when ans where to send it, and I will... got lots to share and to give!

kimberlyslyrics on April 02, 2011:

I adore you btw

that's my comment

and its true

hoping you can write something for DA also but more importantly is adoring you, since forever

Holly (author) from Lone Star State on April 01, 2011:

aware- read a different type of hub from me and you liked it too...I'M ON A ROLL... :-) thanks for commenting and in all seriousness I am glad that you enjoyed this as well as my poetry... Means a bunch! So thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Raymond Williams from Westpalmbeach on April 01, 2011:

smiles . Stopped by to check out a Lil something different. I dig your poetry stuff.When you write like this I think your professionalism shines tru.


Holly (author) from Lone Star State on April 01, 2011:

Simone Smith - that is what I am saying... 1997 she looked just like Barbie, now??? Looks like a teen again. I was going to add some personal photo's from my (now my daughters) Barbie collection, but cant find the cord to transfer the data... maybe later I will get a chance to :) Thanks for the comment, and for taking the time to read this one... wasn’t sure after not receiving any views on this one that there are any Barbie Fans amidst.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 01, 2011:

Oh wow, Skipper! Yeah!! How interesting that the 2011 version looks more like the original than ever before. What an interesting Hub. Thanks so much for writing it!

Related Articles