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Goodbye, Ken! Hunky Blaine is Barbie toy boy

Sunday, July 4, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:16 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

More than 2 million girls worldwide logged onto Barbie.com in May and June to help their favorite Barbie doll choose a new crush.

The votes were tabulated and the results released to the public Tuesday. Barbie’s new beau, Blaine, an Australian native with “sun-bleached hair and surf-bronzed skin,” now resides in Malibu, Calif., where he surfs, snowboards and skydives, Mattel said.

Blaine is part of the Barbie Cali Girl line that was introduced at Toy Fair in conjunction with the Barbie and Ken breakup this spring. He is the older brother of Barbie’s friend Summer and will be the latest addition to the Cali Girl fall collection when he surfs into stores this summer.

Voters participating in the Barbie.com online survey picked from one of four scenarios for Barbie’s summer romance. Blaine’s competitors were Steve, an African-American doll, and Ken, her former flame. Barbie was also given the option of remaining single.

“In my personal opinion, Blaine was chosen because his style follows current trends in television shows like ‘The O.C.,’” a television series based on the lives of young people in Orange County, Calif., said a Mattel spokeswoman. “California is cool right now, and Blaine is a typical, good-looking guy.”

Typical, good-looking guy might be an understatement. In addition to being an extreme athlete and bronzed beach babe, Mattel described Blaine as having “a mature character and worldly, seasoned surfing style.”

Barbie’s background is even more impressive. She has embarked on more than 90 career paths, including engineer, teacher, surgeon, Air Force pilot and, in the 1980s, UNICEF ambassador. This Barbie doll has both brains and beauty.

“I like Barbie because she’s pretty,” 6-year-old Laryn Pinkston of La Plata said.

Laryn said she has been playing with Barbies for a long time. She had 30, including a Ken doll, before selling several at a garage sale. When she saw a picture of Barbie’s new crush, however, she decided she likes Blaine better.

So, will Blaine and Barbie’s summer fun fizzle, or will it sizzle into a match made in Mattel heaven? The company would not comment on the future of the relationship.

Blaine is Barbie’s first romantic interest since her unexpected breakup with Ken in February. The former couple met on the set of their first television commercial in 1961 and remained an item for more than 40 years.

Barbie and Ken were an extraordinary couple on- and off-screen, said Russell Arons, Mattel vice president, marketing. In fact, the former couple turned “best of friends” will appear together in their fourth film, “Barbie as Princess and the Pauper,” when it’s released this fall.

Barbie Millicent Roberts was born March 9, 1959, in Willows, Wis., created by Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler. The timeless beauty of the plastic princess complements her endless reign over the doll industry. Barbie ranked No. 1 in girls’ global entertainment property in 2003, according to Forbes. CharacterProducts.com and ToyDirectory.com each report the doll generates $1.5 billion in annual worldwide sales.


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