It's not uncommon for people to want to be more like their favorite celebrities or stars. When a very famous person gets an innovative hairstyle, for example, you can bet that people will be going to their local hairdresser and asking for an identical one themselves. It's how fashion works.
Stars can also set trends when it comes to outfits. If we see a big star wearing a particular brand of clothing, sales for that clothing line often skyrocket. In fact, this is how influencers operate online in the modern age; they're paid to wear clothes, and people copy them.
What if your favorite star isn't a celebrity, though? What if they aren't even a real person at all? This is the tale of a little girl who grew up wanting to become a real-life Barbie doll, and the extreme measures she went to in order to achieve her dream.
Valeria Lukyanova was born in Tiraspol, Moldova, in 1985. She was an ordinary baby girl in every way, and her parents Valery and Irena, were also as normal as normal could be.
From the moment she was born, everyone was struck with how naturally beautiful Lukyanova was. She had blonde hair and blue eyes and seemed perfectly suited to modeling. Her father, who was a disc jockey, was locally famous. Perhaps that's how she fell in love with the idea of becoming a star.
Like many little girls all over the world, Lukyanova liked to play with dolls when she very young. Barbie was her favorite, and in her eyes, there was no such thing as having too many Barbie dolls to play with. Lukyanova took things a step further, though.
She didn't just like to play with her dolls. She liked to style them. She would customize their outfits and hairstyles, constantly refining and improving them until she had them just the way she wanted them.
As she got a little older, she began to realize that life wasn't easy for her parents. Neither of them earned high salaries, and keeping all the bills paid was sometimes a struggle. Lukyanova didn't want that for herself.
In her teens, though, she thought the route to the top was through education. She studied hard, moved to Odesa in Ukraine, and graduated with a qualification in architecture. Soon after that, she accepted a job in Moscow and seemed to have a career plan sorted out.
It was clear Lukyanova was blessed with brains, but she also still possessed the beauty she was born with. She'd blossomed as she grew older, and won the 'Miss Diamond Crown of the World' beauty pageant in 2007 when she was 22.
Winning the competition got Lukyanova into the press, and she enjoyed the attention. She started accepting jobs modeling swimwear and lingerie and appeared regularly in Russia's glossy magazines. Her media profile had started to grow, and she found herself craving more recognition.
Lukyanova was largely happy with her looks, but not completely satisfied. She remembered how her Barbie dolls had looked when she was a child, and how much work she'd put in to make them perfect. She started applying the same standards to herself.
The first time she went under the knife, it was for a breast augmentation. She thought it would help her modeling career and bring her closer to her dream look. She didn't realize that she'd get addicted to it.
In her interviews, Lukyanova wasn't always honest about how much plastic surgery she'd had done, and when it was performed. That makes it hard to judge how many procedures she's been through in total.
What we can say is that it was a gradual change. Her nose began to look different, and then her eyebrows changed shape. Even the shape of her jawline appears to have been amended. Despite the obvious alterations, she continued to insist she was all-natural.
Lukyanova's denials weren't fooling anybody. There was no exercise and diet routine in the world which could give the human body the kinds of appearance that hers now had. Her breasts had been lifted. Her shoulders had been sculpted. She almost didn't look real.
The public began to criticize her for her extensive body modifications. She fired back, always happy to respond to an insult with an insult of her own. The controversy only served to raise her profile higher.
People who had met Lukyanova in the flesh knew that her appearance was very real, but not everyone on the other side of the world was convinced. They looked at the pictures of her and assumed digital manipulation had taken place.
She rejected that accusation, but continued to say that she simply worked hard in the gym to improve her body. She accepted that she'd had a breast augmentation, but claimed that everything else was the work of makeup and contact lenses.
Because she insisted that she was dieting her way into her unnatural appearance, people started to ask Lukyanova for diet tips. She was happy to oblige, but her diet tips didn't make sense. Not only that, they would have been dangerous for anyone to follow.
At one point, she even claimed that she was a 'breatharian' - someone who lives on nothing more than sunshine and oxygen. Clearly, that's impossible, and anybody who took her advice would have become seriously ill.
The more people showed an interest in Lukyanova, the more she seemed to enjoy showing the world her perfect life. Again, her inspirations seemed to come straight from the world of Barbie, from her pink beach buggy down to her wardrobe.
She told her admirers that she was a keen practitioner of yoga, and spent hours each day exploring the astral plane. She also started insisting that people call her Amatue instead of her real name, because that was the name the spirits had given to her.
By this point, Lukyanova had convinced herself that she had more to offer to the world than just her looks. She styled herself as a lifestyle guru and life coach, and released a self-help book called 'Astral Travel Amatue.'
In the book, she promised to share the secrets of astral travel, which she claimed to have divined from her yoga practices. It takes a yogi decades to reach the point where they claim to be able to do this, but Lukyanova had apparently achieved it in a few short years.
Lukyanova claimed to have a good reason for being adept at astral travel; during her teenage years, she'd had an epiphany and realized she was a witch. Many of us go through a gothic phase in our teens. She took it to the next level.
Not only did she dress in black, she would venture into the forest alone to dance around fires, perform dark rituals, and chant incantations and spells. She'd also make up multiple personas for herself.
When a young person becomes a little wayward, what usually happens is one of their parents steps in to take control. That didn't happen with Lukyanova. If anything, the exact opposite happened.
As this picture demonstrates, Lukyanova's mother started taking fashion cues from her daughter. Before long, they began to look more like sisters than mother and daughter. It also seems that her mother shared her interest in the occult; she had a history of practicing yoga and also claimed to be an astral-plane traveler.
Lukyanova didn't really mind when people said she no longer looked human. In fact, she positively embraced it. In fact, she'd come up with yet another strange theory. She wasn't even from the planet Earth, and had arrived here as a gift to her parents.
According to Lukyanova, she was born on Venus and was sent to our planet because the human race had much to learn from her. These claims got her a television show of her very own called 'Space Barbie.'
It seemed that being from outer space made life on Earth a little difficult for the newly-named Space Barbie. She suffered from vertigo from a young age and says her vision was plagued by spiral shapes when she was a child. She attributes both issues to her alien origins.
Shortly after she made the Venusian-origin claims, she went seeking professional help for some of the issues she was experiencing. What would a professional make of her bold claims? Was she rational, or irrational?
We suspect that most psychologists would offer Lukyanova medication or therapy, or at least try to reassure her that she's as human as the rest of us. It would seem that the psychiatrist that she managed to find disagreed, though.
According to Lukyanova, the psychiatrist told her everything she saw and believed was real. Not only that, she was told that she was psychic, and should embrace her psychic abilities. She'd always thought that she was special and gifted, and now she'd had her beliefs confirmed by a supposed medical professional.
Whether or not she was psychic, Lukyanova's next career move wasn't to become a mind reader. Instead, she felt a calling towards music. That started with DJing, but before long, she'd moved into songwriting. Unusually for someone so young, her chosen genre was opera.
To date, she's released two albums, both of which are described as 'new age opera' records which capture 'the sound of the universe.' Both recordings were made under the name of Amatue if you want to go and check them out.
With her mother apparently being along for the ride, was there anybody else in the Lukyanova family prepared to step in and have an honest conversation with their famous relative about her strange beliefs? No, there wasn't.
Her sister Olga has a more conventional appearance than Lukyanova, with naturally dark hair, and no obvious augmentations. She even smiles once in a while! She's still broadly supportive of her sister's stance, though, and feels that she genuinely does have a message for the human race.
Her brother Ivan is even more supportive of his sister's aspirations, to the point where it becomes a little creepy. The muscular model builder used to insist on getting very close to his sister in pictures and wore her clothes occasionally.
Ivan has always claimed that his sister represents his ideal woman, and has repeatedly said she's the most beautiful person in the world. Even Lukyanova finds him a little strange and has limited her contact with him in the past.
When Lukyanova cut her brother out of her life, he didn't react well. He went online and posted nude pictures of her on various websites. He also made very indecent comments about the pictures.
Astonishingly, Lukyanova forgave him for this, and asked her followers to find him a girlfriend. That seemed to work for a while, but before long, he was posting pictures of her online again. According to Lukyanova, he also tried to extort her for money. Their relationship is strange and tempestuous.
While her brother's interest in her seemed to be deeply inappropriate, Lukyanova has often said she has no interest in having a sexual relationship with anybody. She's claimed on many occasions to be asexual.
Being asexual apparently isn't a barrier to marriage for her, though. She married a childhood friend named Dmitry Shkrabov, who financially and emotionally supports her. They don't have any children because, apparently, on Venus, children don't exist, and everybody is celibate. We're not clear on how her species reproduces.
Lukyanova and her husband may not be physically intimate, but several aspects of their marriage sound wholesome and romantic. They climb mountains together, and go on spiritual trips to the Himalayas regularly.
On her part, there seems to be a depth of feeling for him. She's described him as always being on her side, and says he loves her unconditionally. He, rather strangely, refers to Lukyanova as his 'pet' on social media. Perhaps it's a term of endearment.
All famous people sometimes attract attention that they'd rather not receive. In the case of Lukyanova, that attention has sometimes been violent. She was assaulted in her home in Odessa in 2014.
Fortunately, a neighbor was able to come to her aid before any lasting damage was done, but she was still taken to hospital with severe cuts and bruises. It later transpired that her attacker had been threatening her through the mail and the internet for more than two years.
Dealing with negative people on the internet has become an everyday fact of life for Lukyanova. She has to post on social media to maintain her profile and her brand, but doing so opens her up to people who say terrible things to her.
Although it used to upset her, she now says that it no longer has any effect. She's more than happy to defend herself when people say things that she feels cross the line, too. She doesn't take abuse lying down!
Perhaps Lukyanova's most powerful weapon against the haters is claiming that she enjoys the abuse. She's said many times that as long as people are talking about her, she's still famous, and so it doesn't matter whether they're praising her or being unkind.
The phrase she's used most often to describe this attitude is 'energy vampire' - the love and hate people display to her is a form of energy, and she just uses it all as fuel. In other words, hating her makes her stronger.
Given all of the abuse that Lukyanova has had to deal with online, she should know how it feels to be bullied about your appearance, and avoid doing it to other people. Apparently, that isn't the case, though.
She's lashed out - without provocation - at many famous people in the past. One of her targets was actor Sarah Jessica Parker, who Lukyanova called a 'horse face,' and said she's ugly both inside and out. She ranted about her in a video in 2017. How charming!
Sadly, it isn't just her views on other celebrities which can get a little ugly. Lukyanova has also had some highly controversial things to say about race and ethnicity. She told GQ magazine that she's proud of being Nordic - which is fine- but what she said next wasn't.
According to Lukyanova, the human race is degenerating because of mixed race relationships and mixed-race babies. Not only that, but she doesn't believe that's it's possible for a person of mixed race to be beautiful.
Having completely transformed her body, it would appear that Lukyanova's next objective is to alter the reality of her birth. We all know that she was born in 1995; it's a matter of public record. She's had her birth certificate altered, though.
Her new chosen year of birth is 1991, and she insists in interviews that the year is representative of her 'true' age. Apparently, this is yet again something to do with people from Venus aging at a different speed to humans.
Now she's apparently younger, she's taking advantage of her rediscovered youth to burn off some energy in the gym. Specifically, she's shown an interest in bodybuilding. Recently she's been looking ripped and sculpted.
At the same time, she's decided that she'd like to conquer Hollywood. She's landed a few roles in minor Russian TV shows recently, and is looking to build an acting career from there. It would seem that she's somebody who simply can't ever be satisfied. There always has to be something else to aim for.
Because of her profile, Lukyanova has become somewhat influential within Russia. Regardless of how any of us feel about her lifestyle choices, many young girls look up to her. They want to look just like their hero, and they're not afraid to follow her path.
That's why you'll often see pictures like this on Lukyanova's social media profiles. It's like she's been cloned, and there's a small Lukyanova clone army out there now. The effect can be quite eerie - especially the eyes.
Here's where Lukyanova's Hollywood ambitions came from. In 2016, horror movie writer Susannah O'Bren decided that she'd be perfect to star in her new film 'The Doll.' It wasn't a flattering part, but the fame-hungry Lukyanova went for it anyway.
Lukyanova's character was a sort of Frankenstein's monster who worked in the escort industry. Her job was to murder the men who paid for her services. It sounds gruesome and strange, but O'Brien says she was a natural in the role. We find that easy to believe.
People tend to have one of two reactions to Lukyanova; they're either amazed, or repulsed. Those who are amazed engage with her in a big way. Her social media numbers are staggering.
She passed the thirty million views mark on her YouTube account five years ago. She has a quarter of a million Facebook follower, and significantly more than that on Instagram. There's even a tribute channel on YouTube, on which girls share makeup tips to look more like Lukyanova.
If Lukyanova is the human Barbie, then here's the human Ken. He's called Justin Jedlica, and at one point, he was very keen to meet Lukyanova. It would seem that the first impressions between the two of them were good.
Not long after that, though, something changed. Jedlica, who has been honest about the 190 surgeries he's had to achieve his look, has had some very negative things to say about Lukyanova. He's even called her a fake - which, to be honest, seems a little rich.
As we said earlier, Lukyanova isn't big on human contact. She's celibate, and doesn't like to be touched. Jedlica ignored that, and tried to give him a hug. She brushed him off coldly, and that's when he took offense.
Instead of just accepting that the two weren't going to become friends, Jedlica took to the press to say that most of Lukyanova's look was down to hair extensions and make up, and she was unattractive. Going a step further, she also said she looks like a drag queen.
Regardless of what she claims her age to be, the reality is that Lukyanova is in her mid-30s now, and won't maintain the attention of the press forever. Many girls in Russia are already trying to line themselves up to be her successor.
One of them is Angelica Kenova, who calls herself a living doll. Her tale sounds like a miserable one - her parents had her on a strict diet from the moment she was born, and choose all her clothes for her.
Here's another potential claimant to Lukyanova's throne - 19-year-old Lolita Richi from Kyiv in Ukraine. Like Lukyanova, Richi claims that she's never had any plastic surgery. Perhaps even more unbelievably, she says she's never heard of Lukyanova.
Unlike her rivals, Richi says her chosen style is nothing to do with dolls. In fact, she says she never played as dolls at all as a child. We're not sure we're convinced by any of her tales, and her bodily proportions can't be natural!
There is another way to go about becoming a living Barbie, of course - just wear as much pink as possible! That's the route Moscow's Tatyana Tuzova has taken, and the 31-year-old looks much healthier as a result.
As much as she loves Barbie, she's not as keen on Ken - either the real-life one, or the doll! She feels that Ken dolls are feminine, and that she prefers 'real' men. In fact, she drives around Moscow in her pink sports car, looking for them.
If there really is a 'next Lukyanova' out there, we think it's probably going to be Andressa Damiani, who comes from Brazil. She could pass for Barbie, but she actually came to prominence because people think she looks like Elsa, the star of Disney's 'Frozen.'
As you've probably predicted by now, despite having enormous eyes, a 32F bust, and a twenty-inch waist, Damiani denies ever having had plastic surgery, and puts her appearance down to a great diet. She tells anybody who doubts her to let it go.
Whichever one of them is next, though, they're going to have to wait. We've seen nothing to suggest that Lukyanova is ready to hand over her spotlight. After all, she came here all the way from Venus to deliver a message to the human race, and we're still waiting to hear it.
With that in mind, we can't help but wonder what's next for Lukyanova? Where does she go from here? More films? More bodybuilding? More dramatic plastic surgery?
If her most recent social media posts and interviews are anything to go by, Lukyanova's next move will more likely be something to do with spirituality. She's back into it in a big way, but she still harbors musical aspirations, too.
At the time of writing, she's gearing up to release her third 'new age opera' album. She claims to have some incredible guest stars and collaborations lined up, and that the world will be shocked. All we can say is that we're totally here for the inevitable Space Barbie featuring Kanye West track.