Just two years ago, as Valeria Lukyanova rose to viral notoriety, the combination of her extreme physical appearance “justified” by New Age-ish rambling seemed almost quirky. Tabloids turned her into a walking world-wide trend piece with an internet army of copycats and fans and a trailer of hate blogs. V Magazine flew the “controversial” and “extraordinary” micro-waisted, giant-breasted, blank-faced girl in from Ukraine for a photo shoot and had her blab about her “spiritual practice.” Vice did a solid video profile, letting the self-dubbed “Amatue” — the self-professed alien who communicates with the 22nd dimension through dreams and visions — go all out with cheesy special effects, then let her crazed posing and neuroticism bleed hilariously through. And now, GQ just published the definitive Lukyanova profile by Michael Idov (of the Pussy Riot prison interview).
I realize that just like everyone reading about Human Barbie, I had had a simple narrative prepared in my head: A small-town girl grows up obsessed with dolls, etc. Instead, I get a racist space alien.
His first Amatue encounter went “from nails to eugenics in about two minutes flat.”
When seated across the table from a living Barbie and stuck for topics, by all means go for collegiate bullshit. “But Amatue seems to be all about the Eastern philosophy of reincarnation,” I say. “And the beauty that you embody is very Western. American, even.”
Valeria grows pensive, which in her case means rolling her eyes slightly upward without changing anything else about her face. “I wouldn’t say so. Everyone wants a slim figure. Everyone gets breasts done. Everyone fixes up their face if it’s not ideal, you know? Everyone strives for the golden mean. It’s global now.”
“But that’s a relatively new thing,” I reply. “The ideal of beauty used to be different.”
“That’s because of the race-mixing.”
Initially, Idov’s reaction to the “real” Amatue (and every detail of her particular brand of extreme artificiality) seems almost a tinge harsh, until Amatue starts cracking trans jokes, poo-poo’ing feminism and going on about her little theory on the “degeneration” of white beauty.
“For example, a Russian marries an Armenian,” Valeria elaborates helpfully. “They have a kid, a cute girl, but she has her dad’s nose. She goes and files it down a little, and it’s all good. Ethnicities are mixing now, so there’s degeneration, and it didn’t used to be like that. Remember how many beautiful women there were in the 1950s and 1960s, without any surgery? And now, thanks to degeneration, we have this. I love the Nordic image myself. I have white skin; I am a Nordic type—perhaps a little Eastern Baltic, but closer to Nordic.”
What’s next for Lukyanova?
“The next step is to cut off Ukraine entirely, because all I get here is shit. Why waste myself on this?”