It seems that Valeria Lukyanova has found her niche. The 21-year-old Ukrainian model is one of the fastest-growing sensations to have hit popular culture, even if you haven’t yet heard of her, yet.
Dubbed as the “Living [Barbie] Doll” by some media outlets, Lukyanova’s VK profile (the largest European social network with more than 100 million active users) has attained over 162 thousand followers since the profile’s inception in 2009.
But that’s not the impressive feat; the model has made a Facebook account less than two weeks ago, on April 21, and has already hit 168,000 subscribers (“likes”) as of May 2.
You are starting to wonder: what’s the big deal?
As her internet stardom started to rise on this side of the Atlantic last month due to her controversial figure, there have been numerous rumors and claims that seem to have gotten out of hand. It appears that very few publications are checking their sources but publishing these stories anyway.
A Huffington Post article claims that Lukyanova spent over $800,000 to attain the look of a Barbie doll. Reporter Ellie Krupnick describes Lukyanova’s appearance as “plastic”-looking, like a wannabe Barbie doll.
While I am not contesting Krupnick’s opinion, as many readers who’ve cared enough to comment dislike Lukyanova’s extreme appearance, the link that makes the $800,000 claim sends us to a 2009 BBC article that doesn’t mention Lukyanova at all, but cites mathematical measurements for real-life Barbie proportions.
A week ago, Dr. Anthony LaBruna, Plastic Surgeon Director of Manhattan Plastic Surgery, made the following claim on Good Morning America: “A woman needs to…cut some ribs out to get an 18 inch waist, make the hips wider and change her face.”
This is perhaps where gossip about Lukyanova’s rib-removal got its start. Unfortunately, gossip has a way of spreading, and the speed that word travels is the fastest it’s ever been.
Or as Valeria Lukyanova would put it, “Said one man, and all repeat like parrots.”
In this six-minute video uploaded to one of her YouTube accounts, titled “My comment at the expense of gossip about me,” Lukyanova responds that she was disappointed to read and find out that people think that her body is the work of a doctor’s knife. While she doesn’t hide that she had breast augmentation, had work to bring her hips into alignment and to accentuate her waistline, she says she’s never had ribs removed or had any facial work and had nothing done to her nose.
“It is hard work for many years and good genes... I do not drink, I do not smoke, and I lead a healthy lifestyle, my goal is powered by prana,” she states in the description of a video titled “Doll’s appearance is not everything.” Prana is associated with Hinduism and is the notion of a vital, life-sustaining force of energy in all living things.
Everyone’s physical appearance is the reflection of their inner beauty and she simply holds high standards, she claims. If someone is beautiful, she believes, it just means that that person is in harmony with their inner self.
However, there are also people with good looks who are empty on the inside. Normally, these people will lose their good looks very fast - in three to five years - and begin to look on the outside how they are on the inside.
She explains that she is not an empty girl who spent $800k on surgery. The “yellow press” is saying and repeating this false information about her, while it seems that nobody went on her personal site to check the facts, she asserts. Perhaps they can't, as the entire thing is written in Russian.
While there have been a couple of cases in which this large sum does hold some water (for British mother Sarah Burge and a Chinese woman in her 20s, both in the news in March), Lukyanova hasn’t disclosed how much money she spent on plastic surgery for her look.
The most recent accusation, which made headlines this weekend, is the portrayal of the Ukrainian girl as a scam artist. Tony Oxley, an Uxbrdige, Ontario school board caretaker claims to have been in contact with the somewhat mysterious sensation through e-mail.
“It’s all a scam and it is fake,” he said. “This same woman tried to get money from me a couple of weeks ago to move to Canada.” After professing Oxley as her true love and sending him pictures available on her Facebook profile, she “wanted $900 to buy airline tickets to come to Canada” to be with him.
After she asked for the money to be transferred by Western Union, as it was the quickest way for “lovers to be together,” Oxley broke off contact with the woman. “I don’t think she is real and I am convinced she is a scam targeting people,” he said. “People should be careful and not send money to anyone they meet by e-mail.”
I must remind the reader that it is good to question most everything you hear and read, especially online. It is possible, believe it or not, Mr. Oxley, for anyone to copy and save pictures from any Facebook profile, attach them to an email, and send them to any recipient.
While I am not questioning Oxley’s contact with what sounds like a very real scam, it raises curiosity as to whether he was in contact with the real Valeria Lukyanova or someone claiming to be her. As Lukyanova’s popularity in Ukraine and Russia has perhaps been saturated, the light of her existence has just hit a new market, and anyone could try to take advantage of that.