You've seen her everywhere: the NYC millennial woman decked out in leggings and Canada Goose, toting around the latest Zadie Smith novel and knocking out innocent bystanders with a yoga mat. This woman is a constant fixture in our subway system, and now local comedians Carina Hsieh and Claudia Arisso have given her a name: Commuter Barbie.
In their new three-minute mock ad for a product so esoteric it'd never make it out of a Mattel focus group, Hsieh and Arisso introduce us to a new Barbie inspired by their fellow MTA riders. The creative spark behind the video came during a late-night trip to The Strand, where the sight of a tote bag "set off a PTSD flashback to every canvas-lined rush hour commute we ever had. If there are 18 miles of books at The Strand, there must be double that mileage in stockroom totes," Hsieh said, "and every single one of them will end up being flaunted on the train."
Commuter Barbie is neither hero nor villain, she's a presence so ubiquitous she's now a subway staple. Stand clear of the closing doors and also the swinging tote and Unicorn Latte, please.
"We don't think we're Commuter Barbies, if only because we can't afford $800 Canada Goose jackets," Hsieh told Gothamist. "But aren't we ALL a little bit Commuter Barbie?"
Putting together their perfectly-on-brand Barbie was no easy task: Hsieh and Arisso designed and printed a tiny Starbucks cup, iPhone, Sing Time, Trader Joe's Bag, and New Yorker issue (which comes complete with an ad for Slack on its tiny back cover). And in the future, Barbie-style expansion packs might include Etsy knitting projects, and a Murray Hill Ken. He'll of course come complete with oversize loafers and suit flaps that sick out from under his crisp Herschel backpack.
When they're not busy hijacking anatomically incorrect toys for local satirical humor purposes, the duo host monthly comedy shows at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg that center around the ups, downs, and WTFs of modern romance and New York City life.