Ukranian model Valerie Lukyanova has become Internet-famous for her wild, alien-like appearance and “spiritual teachings.” Dubbed the “Real-Life Barbie” for her physical similarities to a Barbie doll, Lukyanova, who will not disclose her real age, has amassed a massive YouTube following over the past few years. This month, she’s the focus of a Vice documentary, Space Barbie, that explores her bizarre life and beliefs. She tells Anna Nemtsova about her “out-of-body” travel, people’s reaction to her appearance—and why she’ll never have children.
This interview has been translated from Russian.
How do you feel that people call you a “real-life Barbie”?
Look, to me the Barbie doll looks perfect; it was created as a human idol. When I adopted her image, it felt very positive, at first—I constantly heard compliments from everybody around me. But then I got a lot of insulting comments questioning my intellect. That was painful and bad for my reputation, since I’m a spiritual teacher for many people.
What made you want to become a spiritual teacher?
My out-of-body experiences began when I was a little girl: I could travel outside of my body to other planets and universes. Back then it happened spontaneously and now I can control my trips and travel only when I feel like it. For the last four years, I have been teaching seminars on meditation and out-of-body travel.
How popular are you as a spiritual leader? And what do you teach at your seminars?
Many people are interested in that topic nowadays; people do not even realize that aliens visit them—they need to be explained certain things. I know only a few professionals of my level who have the skills to communicate with visitors from other civilizations. My experience is very wide. I can travel around the entire world, to the past and to the future. I also share my ideas on dieting with people. If you want to live a long life and stay beautiful, eat vegetables and herbs, eat very small portions—you will have more energy, feel more pure emotions, and that will make you a more creative person.
So you communicate with aliens?
All the time. My communication with aliens is not verbal—we speak the language of light. I have learned a lot from my contact with them. Now I know that my spirit is very old. And also that humans are the least sophisticated civilization—we’re on the lowest level of evolution. Aliens helped me understand everything about the creation of our world. It turns out that the truth has nothing to do with how religions interpret it.
So you don’t believe in any religion?
No, I don’t. I know too much about human life and death to believe in any of the existing religions—they just threaten to slow down your spiritual evolution. There is no hell and no paradise. Your spirit stays on the same level of evolution until it is ready to move on … Buddhism is the only philosophy that comes close to the real understanding of the creation, the structure of universes and the way spirits travel.
Do you feel like your appearance is just as important as the spiritual work you do? How does your appearance help your spiritual work?
Yes, my unusual appearance helps me attract clients to my spiritual practice. I don’t think I would be so popular if I looked ordinary. Every week I get emails from hundreds of fans interested in my spiritual seminars.
Many people are fascinated by your looks. How does that make you feel?
I believe the way I look inspires other people to improve their appearance, eat healthy, and live a more active, creative life. It is very important to eat less, observe nature, live in harmony with your inner world. There is always room for perfection, it just depends on your personal desire.
Are you married? Are you planning to become a mother?
Yes, I am married to somebody I have known since school. Our fathers were friends. My husband and I are very close. No, I am never going to have my own children. Once when I traveled outside my body, I remembered that I was not a human and my spirit is not a human spirit—I should not have children in this world.
Who do you consider to be the most beautiful woman in Hollywood?
It’s hard to tell. When I was younger I admired bright personalities—such as Bridget Bardot and Sophia Loren—but now I don’t see too many beautiful women in the West. Except for Angelina Jolie, she’s beautiful. She has a personality that shines so bright … I adore fatal beauties. The beauty of a woman is not just in her appearance but in her manners, gestures, the way she looks at you.
There are photos on the Internet that purport to show you as a teenager, and you look a lot different from the way you do today. Can you explain?
Most of my old pictures that you find on the Internet are Photoshopped. Don’t believe any stories about me having rib-removing surgeries—they aren’t true. The only surgery I had was the breast surgery. My mother’s waist is as narrow as mine—I inherited that from her.
What do you do to stay in shape?
I do a serious workout in the gym three times a week and I run a lot. It is important not to eat for two hours after your work out—just drink liquids. I prefer liquid foods. But don’t drink water with your food if you want to have a slim body. The biggest secret is the amounts of food I have—they are very small.
When people see you on the street, how do they react to your appearance? How does your husband feel about it?
Every time I go out I hear compliments, people want to pose for pictures with me. Especially when I travel abroad. My husband has known me for more than 10 years. He is used to me being the beauty queen at all the parties, from back when we were in school together and now at his corporate parties. Fortunately, my husband doesn’t go online too much, so he is not aware of the negative comments about me.
Is your husband a human?
I prefer not to talk about that, as I do not want to damage his reputation.
What kind of clothes make you feel the most comfortable?
I don’t like workout clothes. I prefer feminine clothes, dresses, high heels, platform shoes—everything that emphasizes the shape of my body. I would never wear any loose or baggy clothes. My favorite brand is Dolce & Gabbana.
Your YouTube page has millions of views. What’s the secret to your success?
I enjoy my popularity although I can’t understand the English-language comments. No doubt, it is my inner energy that attracts people—there are plenty of beautiful women in the world, but millions choose to watch my videos. I also think somebody is behind all the bad comments about me, as the negative wave [in my comments] began as soon as my spiritual seminars first became popular. Overnight, all the websites started screaming about the real-life Barbie, a dumb blonde girl. I am sure it was some sort of contract order aimed at ruining my reputation.
What’s next for your career? Do you have any more plans to model? Write a book? Have a TV show?
I have already published a book about my astral trips. My plan is to develop my music career. I already have more than 100 songs in my repertoire. No matter how many bad things people say about me, soon I’ll become a pop star and a popular teacher about out-of-body experiences.
—With additional reporting by Misty White Sidell.