The ‘Barbie Woman’ Complex: Why Unattainable Perfection Makes Plastic Surgery a Slippery Slope

Ukrainian model Valeria Lukyanova has spent a small fortune — nearly $1 million as of 2013 — to turn herself into a real-life Barbie Woman. And at least in terms of exposure, the investment seems to have paid off. She has more than one million followers on her official Facebook page. She’s been covered by some of the top media outlets in the world, including GQ and In Style. She’s built an entire career — albums and books included — around being the woman who looks like Barbie. By most accounts, her transformation could be deemed a success.

But for every Barbie woman success story, there’s one that didn’t turn out as planned. In a video titled “I Nearly Died to Look Like Barbie,” Amanda Ahola recounts the breast augmentation surgery that nearly killed her. In an attempt to enhance her breasts to size 30GG, she suffered a seizure and swelling in her brain, all while under the knife. The brush with death didn’t stop her, though. As of 2017, Ahola was still committed to achieving her dream “Barbie Woman” look.

Plastic surgery disasters are nothing new. Hollywood has built a lucrative business around shows dedicated to fixing plastic surgery mistakes, like the E! Network show Botched. The world is fascinated by talking about other people’s plastic surgery. The success stories, the failures, and the outlandish.

Take a look at just some of the media mainstays whose names have become synonymous with plastic surgery.