Saturday, 13 June 2015

Human Ken doll dies @ 20


He would eventually become known as the human Ken doll, for his resemblance to Barbie’s other half. But even long before that nickname started to stick, Celso Borges Pereira was noted for his good looks. His almost perfect features remained with him as he got a bit older and, at the age of fifteen, he began winning modelling competitions, and eventually managed to attract the attention of a talk show talent scout from Sao Paulo.


He then entered the weird world of celebrity. Within one year he had decided to change his name, and chose Santabañes after his favourite sitcom character from Mexico.

People began telling the boy that he kind of looked like a Ken doll. Celso seemed to like this comparison. So much so, that he began to develop what many might call an unhealthy fixation on the doll, and indeed, making sure that he really did resemble Barbie’s man. Apparently, this was to the extent that he had lots of the toys in his bedroom at home, his shelves housing dozens of plastic figurines of Ken dolls.

“Obsessed with the perfection of physical beauty, Santebañes started to identify features of his face that didn’t look like the Mattel brand doll,” said a story in the Latin Times. “(He believed) his nose was too wide and his philtrum — the crease of the upper lip — simply too natural”.

It was reported that Celso spent tens of thousands of dollars in order to get rid of what he now saw as imperfections and underwent multiple operations in order to look like the perfect Ken. As it turns out, he wasn’t the only one. Justin Jedlica and Rodrigo Alves were his main Ken lookalike rivals. He began charging tens of thousands himself, just for public appearances, and even had his own line of dolls made in Los Angeles.

“He daydreamed about making a film with Valeria Lukyanova, the Ukrainian ‘Human Barbie’,” the Latin Times said.

Unfortunately for the human Ken doll, his world came crashing back to reality last year when he was given a cancer diagnosis. It has been discovered that he had a rare and aggressive form of leukaemia. The discovery was made while in preparations for further plastic surgery to repair a leaky filler in one of his legs. He was only twenty years old.

“I am starting chemotherapy and I admit I’m a little concerned about some side effects, like hair loss, nausea, my body’s rejection (of chemotherapy), among other things, but I am no longer concerned with the issue of aesthetics,” he told reporters in January. “For me that doesn’t matter. What matters is my health now, and I will fight for it”.

“Everyone who wants to be pretty, who wants to be perfect, to call attention to themselves, to supplant this lack of … of love, perhaps,” he admitted to Hoje Em Dia not long before his death. He then said that if he managed to survive, he would not have surgery again.

He died last Thursday after contracting pneumonia.

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