A gifted polyglot psychology student from Knoxville, Tennessee, has spoken out about how people don’t take her seriously because she made herself look like Barbie by getting lip fillers, blue contact lenses and hair extensions.
Aston Clarke, 22, is a University of Tennessee student and clinical psychology research assistant and plans to pursue a doctorate degree. Clarke also speaks four languages: Norwegian, Persian, Spanish and her native English. She has also exhibited her artwork.
Despite her achievements, she says her peers often underestimate her because of the way she looks, reports Daily Mail.
When Clarke was 16, she gave herself a dramatic makeover and started making herself look like a Barbie doll.
She dyes her hair platinum blond, applies spray tan, gets lip fillers and contours her face, sports fake eyelashes, wears hair extensions and colored contact lenses — spending nearly $1,000 on her look — just to imitate Barbie.
Although Clarke feels more confident and happier as “Barbie,” others are quick to condemn her appearance.
Clarke told Daily Mail:
“For years, I was terrified of doing the “Barbie look” because I thought people would make fun of me. But for me when I look 'fake,' I feel more like 'me' than I ever have in my life. This is how I like to look. It may not be natural but it’s 'me.' People are always so taken back when they meet me because I don’t fit into the stereotypical mold they’ve placed me in because of my 'artificial' appearance. They expect me to be an airhead or shallow.”
Clarke created a blog about the Barbie look three years ago and it garnered a huge following. Supporters of her Tumblr social networking page frequently praise Clarke’s makeup skills and the images showing her unbelievable transformation have gone viral.
“There are so many individuals who believe that you can’t be a successful academic whilst also dedicating time to your appearance,” she says. “I want to show that it is possible. Makeup is an art and looking like a Barbie is just one of my many interests.”
As an adolescent, the Mirror reports, Clarke said she was shy:
“Growing up, I was extraordinarily shy. But when I was around 14 years old I came across a book about theatrical makeup. I was fascinated with all the methods and materials that can be used to transform a face. I had always associated the 'Barbie look' with confidence and, being so painfully shy, the possibility of feeling confident and beautiful was very appealing. It’s also a look that was so opposite to my natural appearance. I started viewing physical modification and makeup as an art.”
At first, Clarke was too nervous to wear heavy makeup in public and worried that her peers would ridicule her look, according to the Mirror:
“When I was 14 my experiments with makeup were private. I was terrified that my classmates would poke fun at me and that I would not be taken seriously. But each year, I started to care less and less about what people thought. And when I was around 16, I dyed my hair blond, bought extensions, began self-tanning, contouring with makeup and overdrawing my lips. This was before the [reality TV show family] Kardashians started contouring and Kylie [Kardashian] was doing the whole lip liner thing, so I stood out.”
When Clarke finally revealed her Barbie look to her fellow students, she said, “The initial reaction from my schoolmates was pretty negative.”
Despite the criticism and disapproval from her peers, Clarke when on to shine in her studies, earning a place as a psychology student at the University of Tennessee.
She was one of only a few of undergraduate research assistants nominated to handle research in the university’s clinical psychology department and is applying for doctorate programs.
“Pursuing the Barbie look improved my life massively. With all the criticism, I’ve developed a thick skin when it comes to my appearance,” says Clarke.