By Eliana Dockterman
January 28, 2016

Barbie’s dress won’t fit. I’m sitting in a bright pink room at Mattel’s headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., playing with a Barbie that only 20 people in the world know exists. Her creation has been kept so secret that the designers code-named the endeavor Project Dawn so that even their spouses wouldn’t be tipped off to her existence…

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

This appears in the February 08, 2016 issue of TIME.

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