In the pink: AI gives droll Barbie and Ken makeovers to Princess Kate, Prince William, and Joe Biden

July 25, 2023

Your favorite celebrities and politicians—“Barbified.” Ever wonder what Joe Biden would look like in a Barbie World? You’re in luck: An enterprising film editor is cashing in on the rabid “Barbie” movie craze by giving the U.S. president and other A-listers Mattel-inspired makeovers with the aid of artificial intelligence (AI), reports the New York Post.

“I absolutely loved making these photos—I was laughing the whole way through,” freelancer Duncan Thomsen, 53, said of his star-studded AI “Barbiefication” campaign.

The U.K. native, who is a “big fan of Ryan Gosling,” told South West News Service he was inspired to transform celebs into Barbies and Kens considering the hype surrounding Greta Gerwig’s much-anticipated live action film, which dropped on Friday, July 21, in movie theaters across America.

Also, “who wouldn’t love a Barbie makeover?” Thomsen declared.

To bring famous figures to life in simulated plastic, the digital wizard turned to scarily sophisticated AI software Midjourney, which responds to user prompts and commands—and generates pics by cross-referencing billions of online images.

This process took some time as AI— despite rendering us obsolete in every sector from academia to life partners— requires super specific commands with an “absolute description,” Thomsen explained.

Thankfully, the freelancer’s project paid dividends as he was able to create a variety of celebrity doll-ppelgangers.

Perhaps the highlight was U.S. Commander-in-Chief Joe Biden reimagined as Ken with the trademark fufu pink regalia, six pack abs, and a pink car.

“When has an American president ever had a six pack on show before?” chortled Thomsen, who gave a similar treatment to former U.S. President Barack Obama. (Barack Obarbie?)

AI might not be able to replace our leaders yet, but it can give them a helluva makeover.

Others include former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher gussied up in a pink pantsuit and a Barbie version of Princess of Wales Kate Middleton that looked like the royal was cursed by a palm reader she’d spurned.

On the plus side it looked more lifelike than Middleton’s facsimile at the Krakow Wax Museum.

“What you want to do is capture the person or place’s unique essence; then, bring the Barbie features in. That’s when it starts to looks really good,” described Thomsen.

He also used digital software to turn real world buildings into a Barbie Dreamhouse.

The Brit summed it up like this: “Creating these images is great fun, so I thought I’d give everyone a dash of pink and ‘Barbie up’ the whole world.”

Unfortunately, not all AI-generated images are so fun and frivolous. In the past, hyper-realistic generative tech had been used for nefarious purposes—from faking images of President Trump getting arrested by the police to creating pics of a Pentagon explosion (the latter of which resulted in a brief stock selloff).

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