By Nathalie Bonney @nathaliebonney
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Videographer / director: Per Christian Lind
Producer: Nathalie Bonney, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal
In a pink, pink kitchen, in a pink, pink apartment, a pink, pink Barbie superfan cooks some pink, pink eggs. Azusa Sakamoto doesn’t just like Barbie, she LOVES her.
The 36-year-old has dedicated her adult life to building up a Barbie collection worth an estimated $80,000. Every inch of Azusa’s West Hollywood apartment is crammed full of Barbies and related memorabilia.
Azusa, who works as a nail artist, even customises her furniture so that everything from her fridge and kettle in the kitchen, through to the loo in her bathroom, have all been Barbie-fied.
Azusa told Barcroft TV: “On a scale from 1 to 10 I would say I’m on 100 a Barbie fan.
“To be honest I have never really counted or I never really cared how much I was spending on Barbie items but maybe I have spent over $80,000.”
Kept in glass cabinets in her pink home, Azusa has 222 Barbie dolls and counting.
She said: “It’s getting a little harder to count each Barbie dolls I keep; for numbers right now I have 222 Barbie dolls.
“I’m not a huge collector for vintage Barbie dolls but I have two Barbie dolls which are valued at $1,800.
“My favourite Barbie doll is called Movie Mixer Barbie Doll. If you have never collected Barbie maybe you will think that Barbie’s are only made of plastic but she is made of silk stone, which is pretty heavy.”
Compared to some Barbie fans who have doll collections going into the thousands, Azusa’s is admittedly small fry but what makes her collection stand out is that she doesn’t just have Barbie dolls - she has Barbie everything.
Azusa said: “Everything in my room is Barbie.
“I have a Barbie fridge, drawers, table and dresser, shelves. I have a Barbie kitchen counter and Barbie oven, and bathroom.
“I have Barbie dolls; I have purses, I have shoes, I have pillows, I have necklaces, I have shirts, I have skirts, I have socks, I have cups, I have plates, I have posters, I have art works, I have nail polish, I have a Barbie clock…”
Originally from Japan, Azusa never had a Barbie doll as a little girl; it wasn’t until she was 15 that she got her first Barbie item.
She said: “My very first Barbie item was not a doll but a lunch box. I was 15 years old and it just looked like cute American pop culture to me. Since then I was just so attracted by these hot pink Barbie things.
“My first Barbie doll was actually two years later from that. I became an exchange student when I was in junior high school and I was staying in Indiana for one year and when I went to Indiana I got my first Barbie doll.”
Since then Azusa’s love of all things Barbie has grown so much that every step of her day involves something Barbie-related. She posts Barbie videos and photos on her YoutTube channel and social media. She also makes customised nail designs to co-ordinate with Barbie dolls.
She said: “I wake up in my pink bed with my Barbie pillows and with my Barbie pyjamas and I make my tea with my Barbie kettle.”
Barbie’s biggest fan even cooks herself pink meals to reflect her love of the doll's signature shade, mixing in beet juice to her egg white omelettes, edible pink glitter on cupcakes and even pink food dye into her coffee.
“I love cooking some pink food because I got really cute Barbie plates so that totally makes me want to cook more and I really love trying to cook some pink food,” she said.
The nail technician spends a lot of her time scouting for Barbie items online and at Barbie conventions and when she can’t find something with Barbie on it – she makes them herself.
She said: “If they don’t make one, I have to make one.”
On top of Azusa’s home being wall-to-wall Barbie, she also makes sure to always look the part, dying her hair pink and wearing clothes to match.
“I mostly wear pink and even now if I wear some other colours beside pink they always have the Barbie logo. I have over 100 Barbie T-shirts.”
But Azusa says although she loves Barbie that doesn’t mean she wants to be Barbie
“I don’t think I want to have surgery to make myself look like her. I just love Barbie, I’m not trying to be like her. I know she’s a doll, I’m not confused about that point.
“I am not hurting anyone and I think life is too short to wear boring clothes and I just love being my self, I feel comfortable.
“Sometimes people think it’s kind of crazy because they think Barbie is only for kids but I see Barbie as more like a fashion icon or like a brand.”
Barbie doll’s extreme proportions and blonde blue-eyed appearance has been criticised for its narrow view on beauty but Azusa disagrees:
She said: “I really don’t know why some people think Barbie is not healthy for kids, or tells you we have to be skinny or something.
“If you see my Barbie collection I have all different ethnicities, all different skin tones all different hair colours and now even they even have different body types.
“Actually Barbie is just telling girls how to have fun being a girl, I think.
“Barbie has boyfriend Ken but I always think Barbie is buying that dream house with her own money, she didn’t ask Ken to buy her house, or shoes or purses or anything, she is so independent, she has a bunch of jobs. So real beauty is outside and inside.
“I don’t really care what other people think of me, I just love what I’m doing."