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Flicks With Nicki – ‘The Barbie Movie’

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Flicks With Nicki – ‘The Barbie Movie’

Nicki Salcedo

There’s a Barbie inside of me. She is sometimes quiet. She is sometimes bold. I’ve always loved Barbie. As a child, she was my friend and my playmate. I didn’t have TikTok and 1,000 streaming channels. I had a doll with a dream house.

She is the reason I love to tell stories, why I’m comfortable being alone with my thoughts, and why I trust my imagination. She is also the reason I have too many passions! I still feel like I can be anything I want to be. I don’t have to be one thing. Even though I was an active child, Barbie accepted me for who I was. An adventurer who liked digging in the dirt, a kid who dreaded household chores, and a woman who still likes to dress up. This week, Barbie asked me to go to the movies.

I wore a pink dress.

I hate pink. It is my least favorite color. I prefer blue, and I look amazing in it. When I do not have blue, I like reds and maroons, but the sad fact is I look great in pink. Maybe there was a part of me, despite my love for Barbie, who was ashamed of the idea of pink. How could I be strong and also be girly, feminine, and delicate? How could I be strong and also like fun and frivolity?

I found pink shoes.

As a kid, my summers meant the backyard, books, or Barbie. I read Louis L’Amour and Harlequin Romance. I have fond memories of reading, but I feel differently about the content of those books now. I still love Westerns and romance, and those stories have evolved. Barbie has evolved since her debut in 1952. I did not have a stereotypical Barbie. My Barbie had a townhouse, car, horse, and teeny tiny accessories. I’ve lived a thousand lives through Barbie. I gave Barbies to my own children because Barbie brought me joy when I was small.

I bought pink jewelry.

My kids experienced Barbie through animated movies. We have a favorite in our house. It is Barbie’s “The Princess and the Pauper” based on the tale originally written by Mark Twain. We love “Barbie in a Christmas Carol” a twist on Charles Dickens’ classic ghost story. We watched movies with mermaids and fairies, and Swan Lake. At some point, we watched Barbie movies in Spanish, so there was an educational component. “Barbie y el Castillo de Diamantes” is a great one. And if you’re wondering if Barbie movies are fun, they are extra fun in Spanish.

I have a pink purse. It is shaped like a phone.

I now have a live-action movie “Barbie” for this next phase of my life. It hits at just the right time. Though our dream house is still in my mother’s basement, my Barbies are gone. We played with them so much, they all became weird. Like me. Like this film. “Barbie” is silly, hysterical, poignant, and bittersweet. I laughed, and I cried. The theater was filled with a cross-section of people. My friends wore pink to the theater. We hugged strangers and told them they were beautiful. We had sparkly happiness in our clothes and big dreams in our eyes. I owe a debt of gratitude to Greta Gerwig for taking Barbie seriously. Thank you to Margot Robbie for being vulnerable. Bless you, Ryan Gosling, you are so cool.

I want to thank the entire creative team behind the Barbie movie. They replicated perfectly the toys we owned. When the Barbie treehouse flashed on the screen, we all gasped and several women whispered, “I had that one…” Thank you to the brave writers, actors, and friends in the film industry who are on strike and out of work because they believe in the value of their work and worth. They believe in the value of the stories that will be told. We want to see movies about scientific geniuses and people who risk their lives to save kids and a doll. This doll is tall, beautiful, imperfect with thoughts of dying and cellulite. We love her. We are entwined.

We have been watching Women’s World Cup this summer. I’ve cheered for the U.S.A., Jamaica, and France. When I picked up my daughter from soccer camp this week, I turned on the Indigo Girls “Closer to Fine” and started singing very loud:

“…The best thing you ever done for me is to help me take my life less seriously…”

I am beautiful in pink, and I have the “Barbie” movie to thank for that. Grade B+

Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a writer, story consultant, and working mom.

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