A British man who has spent $12,000 a year on cosmetic surgery designed to make him look like Ken, the boyfriend of Mattel’s Barbie, has criticized filmmakers behind the new Barbie movie for casting actor Ryan Gosling in the role and making the character heterosexual.
Jimmy Featherstone, a 23-year-old mini-celebrity and tabloid fixation who was offered the chance to star in a proposed reality TV show, has become known for his addictions to cosmetic surgery and tanning, which he undertakes to look like the Mattel figurine, leading the media to dub him the “real-life Ken doll.”
Featherstone believes that Barbie would be more “realistic” if the character played by Gosling was attracted to men, as Featherstone is in real life.
“I do think Ken being gay would suit the character more. I think gay men like to take pride in themselves,” Featherstone told the website JOE. “He’s a good-looking guy, and I think that’s what Ken is all about. So I think that would be great.
“If the character was gay, it shows people are equal, times have changed. At the end of the day, we are all human, and it doesn’t matter what you are. With everything going on in the world, with gay rights and LGBT and all that, I think that would get a lot more interest in the movie as well – so why not?”
Featherstone also believes that casting directors should have looked elsewhere for a Ken.
“I think they could have chosen someone a bit better looking on the eyes. I don’t think he’s very attractive. He doesn’t look anything like Ken,” he said. “I think it would be better if they chose me rather than Ryan.
“They could have chosen someone like Harry Styles — a young icon — or Joey Essex, for example, he’d be a good one, or maybe Rylan [Clark], I like him… But I can see why they’ve gone for a U.S. cast because that’s where Barbie and Ken originally came from — it’s an American company.”
Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie is scheduled for a July 21 release and features several A-list stars, including Gosling, Margot Robbie — who plays the titular character — Helen Mirren, John Cena, Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon, Rhea Perlman, America Ferrara, and Dua Lipa.
The film follows Barbie after being expelled from “Barbieland” for looking less-than-perfect before she sets off for the human world to search for “true happiness.”
In a trailer released last week, Gosling’s “Ken” tells Barbie, “I thought I might stay over tonight…because we’re girlfriend, boyfriend,” implying he’s heterosexual — although Ken doesn’t seem to know what they’ll be doing when he stays over Barbie’s house.
Referencing the trailer, Featherstone notes that several of the male characters in “Barbieland” are referred to as “Ken.”
“There seem to be a few Kens about. I think they’re trying to make it equal for everyone, showing there’s no such thing as ‘the one’ Ken,” he told JOE, seeking to justify his assertions that Ken should be gay. “I think that’s important because they’re trying to target everyone and make it look equal.”
Featherstone has previously made many media appearances in the United Kingdom showing off his Ken-doll looks, which he obtained by pursuing facial procedures, including a butterfly lip procedure, a fox brow lift, and work on his cheeks and jaw, starting five years ago.
He still has regular cosmetic treatments and enjoys being recognized as the “real-life Ken doll” on the street.
Despite his quibbles with casting, Featherstone says he’d love to be invited to the movie’s premiere in London. “I wouldn’t turn down the offer,” he says.
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