Hundreds of Barbie collectors, fans gather for annual convention in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Crown Center has turned into Barbie's dream world as fans from around the world arrive to celebrate her 60-year reign.

It all started in 1959. During the past six decades, Barbie's done it all, inspiring millions of children and adults along the way.

"I met Barbie when I was 10 years old," Icardo Jean Pierre from Nice, France, said.

"I've been a Barbie collector about 15 years," said Anne Lawrence-Cherry, a Hallmark art director.

"I've always been into Barbie since I was a kid," said Carlyle Neura, the lead designer at Mattel.

Now, Barbie has arrived in Kansas City, and hundreds of people are here to greet her for the 2019 Barbie Collectors Convention.

Barbie is much more than a hobby for Neura. As lead designer for Mattel, he gets to help design what Barbie looks like, even what she wears.

"It's really cool because you get to be a makeup artist. You can influence what her face looks like, different features of her face, her hair color, hair length, hair style, jewelry accessory she comes with," Neura said. "Of course, the fashion, too."

He said he's worked to design countless Barbie dolls but is most excited about a Barbie released about four years ago.

"In 2015, we released Mutya  Barbie. It's a Barbie inspired by the Philippines. I'm Filipino," he said. "It was really great to use some of my history and family heritage in this doll and release it out into the world."

He added that just seeing a doll that has the same skin color, facial feature or hair texture as you is an exciting feeling.

Many collectors said Barbie's really evolved over the years.

"They have a lot of male dolls in that line as well as a lot of diversity, so you have the different body weights and tall dolls, different skin colors, a lot of real hairstyles, so it makes it really fun," Neura said.

He said Mattel plans to make sure Barbie continues to evolve into the future, too.

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