TIME Business

13 Fascinating Careers You Never Knew Barbie Had

From rapping to campaigning, Barbie has done it all

Barbie has a resume that even the most accomplished high-achievers would envy.

Her first-ever job was as a “Teenage Fashion Model” in 1959, but she soon broke boundaries in male-dominated fields, playing Major League Baseball, programming computers and rising to the rank of sergeant in the Marine Corps. She has even made a foray into space travel, reaching the moon in 1965, years before Neil Armstrong’s famous first steps.

This week, as dedicated fans of Barbie gather in Washington, D.C. to kick off the 2015 National Barbie Doll Collectors Convention, TIME is revisiting some of Barbie’s 150-plus careers over the years. Here’s a sampling of her most memorable ones:

  • Executive ‘Career Girl’ Barbie, 1963

    1963 Executive (Career Girl)
    Mattel 1963 Executive (Career Girl)

    Outfitted in a tweed skirt suit and gloves, Barbie had her first stint as a corporate exec in 1963 — a time when women were almost entirely absent from top-level roles in companies and were making 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. She must’ve liked the job, considering that she’s taken it up three more times since, with the latest Business Executive Barbie released in 1999.

  • Astronaut Barbie, 1965

    1965 Astronaut
    Mattel 1965 Astronaut

    Barbie’s first space voyage in 1965 took her to the moon a full four years before Neil Armstrong, and over a decade ahead of Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. She has since made two more missions and has even taken her talents to Space Camp to educate the next generation in a partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala..

  • UNICEF Ambassador Barbie, 1989

    unicef barbie

    Taking a page from Audrey Hepburn, who served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF from 1989 until her death in 1993, Barbie became one herself in 1989. The undertaking rounded out a decade of diversity in her career, including stints as an aerobics instructor, a rock star, and an officer in the U.S. Army.

  • Rap Musician Barbie, 1992

    Barbie first became a singer in 1961, but her musical talents have since expanded. In 1992, she made her rap debut as “Rappin’ Rockin’ Barbie” with her boom box in tow, and shared her street cred with the world in a memorable commercial. Unfortunately, this is one career she hasn’t since revisited.

  • Marine Corps Sergeant Barbie, 1992

    Marine Corps Sergeant
    Mattel Marine Corps Sergeant

    Barbie made history in 1989 when she first joined the military as an officer in the U.S. Army, but to date her 1992 position as a sergeant in the Marine Corps is the highest rank she’s held in the Armed Forces. As a sergeant, Barbie would’ve had a great deal of responsibility directing eight soldiers in combat operations as their squad leader.

  • Presidential Candidate Barbie, 1992

    1992 Presidential Candidate
    Mattel 1992 Presidential Candidate

    Long before Hillary Clinton hit the campaign trail, Barbie made her first bid for President, joining the fictional ’92 race. No word on how she fared in her first election, but she has since made four more bids for the Oval Office—the latest of which was in 2012.

  • Paleontologist Barbie, 1997

    So nice she did it twice! Barbie followed up her first foray into paleontology in 1997 with another in 2012. Both times she proved that she wasn’t afraid to get her hands (or her signature pink flair) dirty working with dinosaur fossils.

  • Major League Baseball Player Barbie, 1998


    To date there has never been a woman in the MLB (though that could be changing soon), but Barbie is always a step ahead of the game. In 1998 she made her MLB debut, with different editions for the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. That same year the Yankees won the World Series—surely thanks in part to the help of their newest teammate.

  • WNBA Player Barbie, 1998

    1999 WNBA Player

    Barbie added “baller” to her resume in 1998 when she joined the WNBA as No. 1 at a fictional Dallas team, though this was far from her first stint in sports. She made her Olympic debut in 1975, and throughout her long career she’s sampled everything from Olympic gymnastics (1996) to World Cup soccer (1999).

  • American Idol Winner Barbie, 2005

    2005 American Idol Winner
    Mattel 2005 American Idol Winner

    American Idol introduced the world to Carrie Underwood when she took home the title in 2005, but Barbie took it upon herself to rewrite history when a version of the doll was unveiled as an American Idol competitor the same year. With Britney Spears’ hit “Oops! … I Did It Again” as her audition song, she squared off against friends Tori and Simone for the top spot, with more than 700,000 fans voting for a winner on the company’s website. No word on what Randy, Paula and Simon thought of her performance, though.

  • SeaWorld Trainer Barbie, 2009

    2009 Sea World Trainer
    Mattel 2009 Sea World Trainer

    Back when Barbie first joined the team at SeaWorld it was still a tourist favorite, but following the release of the explosive documentary Blackfish in 2013, the park is no longer beloved by the public, or Barbie herself for that matter. In April 2015 ,Mattel was lauded by animal rights groups for ending the production of its SeaWorld Trainer dolls.

  • Computer Engineer Barbie, 2010

    2010 Computer Engineer
    Mattel 2010 Computer Engineer

    In 2010, Barbie wanted a hot tech job, but she found herself in hot water instead when a companion book entitled Barbie: I Can Be A Computer Engineer went viral a few years later, with critics saying that it was sexist. Thought Barbie was described in the book as a computer engineer creating a new game, it turns out that she needs the help of two male colleagues, Steven and Brian, to actually make the final product. Backlash was severe, and Mattel apologized, pulling the book from shelves soon after.

  • Arctic Rescuer Barbie, 2012

    Barbie was a long way from Malibu in her 2012 role as an arctic rescuer, but she made herself at home with a pink snowmobile and matching igloo for her pets.

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