The Strange Case of the Fake Fashionista



Naomi and I have both always looked out for things the other wants when we go shopping. When we lived in Adelaide we had almost every toy department and toy shop in the metro area covered between us. In Tasmania there are not as many places to look and not as many dolls we want to buy but we still check out the local stores if we have an errand in town or the suburbs. Recently Naomi was doing this and she came across a Barbie she thought I might like but she noticed something odd about her. I will let her tell the story.

Naomi’s Story:

I had to go to the main shops in Glenorchy a Hobart suburb to buy some things I had run out of. I had a lot to do including popping into Big W. I wasn’t going to bother with the toy department at first but in the end I thought why not? I wasn’t in a hurry. There were more Barbie dolls than I expected. Usually looking at them in Big W these days only fills in five minutes for me. I started looking to see which ones had made it to the Big W shelves. What I usually do is look at the stock at the very back. Sometimes you find a hidden treasure or simply get something in better condition as they have been handled less often and not been dropped on the floor. I saw a blonde Barbie that looked a little different to the others. This one has a nicer face I thought. I am not a fan of the newer dolls. I was thinking that Vanda would not have this one and she was the only one there. She cost me $13.00 at the checkout and nobody said a word about her being the wrong doll in the wrong box.

I took her home along with printer ink, black biros and some toiletries. At home I examined her a little more closely and soon realised the box had been tampered with. Someone had covered up the number on the box. I noticed this Barbie was not pictured on the back of the box either. The box had some tape down the sides to reseal it and Barbie was neatly tied in. Ok so someone has done a shonky trick I thought but how did they do it? What happened to the #70 Fashionista who was meant to be in the box? I was able to find out which doll this one had replaced. Someone has nicked off with the #70 and stuffed the mystery doll in her box for some reason. They had gone to a lot of trouble to put this doll inside the box and it would have taken a long time so it’s left me very puzzled. My thing is if you steal something you should never try to put anything back or you will get caught for sure. This is good advice honestly. I heard it on a MASH episode.

This is a link to a picture of Fashionista #70

I spent hours and hours on the Internet with my eyes nearly rolling back inside my head and my back feeling like it was going to snap in two looking at Barbie dolls. I nearly went insane and I dreamed about the dammed doll even. In the end I found there were two Eden Starling dolls and she really looks like them.

(You can see a photo of Eden Starling Barbie here.)

I think she might be the one from the set with the Kelly dolls or Chelsea whatever they call her now. It would be nice to see if she is this doll or not. The pink dress is still a puzzle. I did come across a doll wearing a similar blue dress but would have to look for her again as I did not save the search. Well all from me in Oatlands. I have to say it is so typical of me to find something a bit out of the ordinary when I think I have just picked up some simple thing. This happens over and over. It really does like with the ugly red-headed clone doll I picked up for three or five bucks. She turned out to be something special in the end. More from me later.

The Search:

Naomi wrote me an email about her strange find and both of us spent an evening online looking at literally hundreds of Barbies to try to work out what this doll actually was. We could not find a doll that looked like her in that exact outfit.

Naomi found a doll that looked like her though.  “Barbie A Christmas Carol” was a Barbie Christmas movie where Barbie played a character called Eden Starling. She has the right hair style and the beauty spot near her eye. However the clothes were wrong and this doll was issued in 2008!  What was going on? However, in all our searching neither of us turned up another doll that looked remotely like her. Naomi also found a photo of the pink dress with a jacket and shoes.  My doll did not have the jacket and had entirely different accessories. It seemed as if someone had redressed a Barbie, inserted her into the Fashionista box and taped it up.

The Doll:

Naomi brought the doll to me on Sunday so today I carefully examined the box before taking her out of it for photos. As Naomi said the top corner had been covered in pink tape to hide the number and the box had been slit down one side to remove and replace the doll. I found the number 70 when I pulled the pink tape off completely. The box was then taped up with black tape to match the box. Barbie was secured inside with elastic bands at her waist and ankles. Someone went to a lot of trouble to make this look authentic.

Here is Barbie in her box.

Out of the box I could see that Barbie has the belly button body and ballet arms. Her legs are the bendable ones. She has pearl drop earrings but her necklace does not look quite like the one Eden Starling has although it is similar. Her shoes are the older style of shoe which was more common prior to 2000.

Here she is out of the box.
Here she is in her birthday suit.



It appears that somewhere between the warehouse and the store somebody extracted the Fashionista who was supposed to be in the box and replaced her with Eden Starling Barbie in a different dress, taped it up again and put her at the back of the display hoping nobody would notice. It is kind of surprising that nobody noticed that this was a ten-year old doll. Should we have been mad and taken her back? Well, we didn’t. For one thing I’m not sure if anyone at the store would have believed it and if someone who works there had done the deed I wouldn’t want to be responsible for getting them into trouble. Actually I like this doll much better than the Fashionista who was supposed to be in the box and the mystery of how she got there has given us a lot of entertainment searching and talking about it not to mention a new blog post.

If anyone has another theory about whom this doll is we’d love to hear it.

Here is a link to another photo of Eden Starling Barbie but  this time in a set with 3 Kelly’s. As you can see she is slightly different having a closed mouth smile.

No, she is not number #70












  1. Wow! Sometimes people buy a doll they want, take it home and replace it with another doll, then return it to the shop for a refund. The people in the shop don’t recognise the wrong doll because they don’t pay that much attention. Could that have happened here?

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a possibilty I hadn’t considered. Considering that the Fashionista was only $13 it seems a lot of trouble to go to but it could be. Shows that the staff don’t know much about the products they are selling.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have no information to give you about this doll, but I enjoyed your mystery story so much. It started my day off with a laugh – and we can always use a laugh. I feel for you and Naomi searching through Internet pics of Barbies as I’ve done the same sort of thing to try to identify a doll. I think you’re probably right about it being a store employee who made the switch, but whoever did it left you with an amusing story and a special doll.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Someone went to a lot of trouble over an inexpensive fashionista doll. Any chance of an OOAK makeup makeover? The doll has lustrous hair and the beauty mark gives her character. She has a more interesting face than most fashionistas so it’s quite curious why someone would make the switch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. I am too. In my opinion she is the better doll of the two but then a young person might not agree. This doll is in very nice condition though. Whoever had her looked after her.


  4. I’ve seen this kind of thing once or twice at a local walmart but usually the doll swap is with a cheap modern budget doll, easy to see the difference. Very fun story to read


  5. You got a bargain! This character was featured in a Barbie movie! Her packaging is more like a Christmas exclusive doll which can be pricey. Eden Starling is a Victorian singing star. It is a take-off from the story A Christmas Carol, she was the scrooge like part. She is haunted by her Grandmother Marie and others..This mean girl learns her lesson..yada..yada.. check Fandom movies by Wikia and , Barbie Movies Wikia which has images erlated to Eden Starling..which my Dinosaur computer isn’t letting me share..Happy hunting..The doll is sooo much prettier than the animation. Had to treat myself to a used version as the others w/ shipping wee over my $20 u.s. budget.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Naomi found the story when we were searching and you can see this is a good quality doll even though now a few years old so swapping her out seemed such a bizarre thing to do.


  6. Anyone’s guess why..reminds me of some e-ay lots was looking for Sindy’s boyfriend Paul?..saw one for sale but the pics didn’t look like the ones in your blog.wasn’t sure how much I should pay for a clone or mystery doll.


  7. Wow, that doll swapper must have nerves.

    The doll looks like the regular Eden Starling to me, who came with the red and gold dress and her cat. Her earrings are original. The necklace looks very similar to the necklace on Pearl Beach Barbie’s bikini top.

    Pearl Beach Barbie (1997)

    The dress is part of the 2006 Fashion Fever Closet K8500, pink and white fashions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Andrea I will check out that closet. I think you are right about the necklace too. It is very similar.Whoever did the swap had access to older Barbies as the shoes are also . older style pink sandals. The swapper could not have done all this in a couple of minutes, it was very meticulously packaged.


  8. Pulling out Eden Starling for my Christmas pins and the three little Angels that look like Kelly and friends,also some kitties to go w/ hers .Still looking for a good looking Santa ..Drew Carey is doing game shows now and lost a bit of weight even if his doll hasn’t. I also want to put my new (to me) action man.

    Liked by 1 person

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