Governor Barbie is coming to Michigan … in a pink Corvette

By: - July 20, 2023 10:39 am

Governor Barbie at the Michigan Capitol | Gov. Whitmer office photo

Updated, 11:55 a.m., 7/20/23

Barbie has been a trailblazer for more than a few careers since her creation in 1959: Putting her little brown boots on the moon four years before Neil Armstrong did and achieving the office of president of the United States in 2023, while no woman has been elected to the office. 

However, there’s never been a governor Barbie.

Until today. 

While she’s not an official Mattel Barbie, “Governor Barbie,” a creation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office designed to generate social media buzz, is decked out in a hot pink suit reminiscent of some of the pink outfits the Michigan governor has worn at key events in her tenure.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the Michigan Democratic Party’s Election Day watch party in Detroit on Nov. 8, 2022. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)

“Barbie has had a host of careers over time, from fashion designer to doctor to engineer, but she has never been governor,” said Whitmer. “I am thrilled to be announcing the first Barbie Governor so that every child can envision a future as a public servant and leader in the great state of Michigan. From signing legislation expanding fundamental rights and freedoms, to leading the future of mobility and electrification, this Barbie is getting to work ensuring everyone can make it in Michigan.”   

Whitmer has become a national fixture in U.S. politics, with her name being on now president Joe Biden’s list for possible vice presidential candidates in 2020. She now co-chairs his re-election campaign and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of running for president herself. (Barbie has done it at least six times).

Governor Barbie will be appearing in a series of Whitmer social media posts Thursday, driving in between engagements in a pink Barbie Corvette, a car originating from Flint.

She will be attending a press conference, a bipartisan bill signing and posting a photo of herself outside the Michigan State Capitol, all of which will be viewable on the governor’s social media.

Meanwhile, Whitmer will be in Traverse City signing the state’s “real world” education budget for Fiscal Year 2024, which includes funding for free breakfast and lunch for K-12 students, and key investments in literacy and funding for early literacy programs, amongst other investments.

The governor’s office is utilizing cultural excitement for the “Barbie” movie, which officially is premiering to the public Friday, to garner attention for not only what changes are happening in Michigan, but to encourage the children of Michigan to “dream big,” according to a release from the governor’s office.

Whether she’s taking care of animals at her veterinary practice or exploring Mars (she’s ahead of mankind on that front, too, and was decked out in fuchsia), Barbie sends the message she can do everything she sets her mind to, and she’ll wear pink while doing it.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is sworn in for a second term during the Michigan Inauguration on Jan. 1, 2023. | Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance

Whitmer has donned pink for pivotal events, like the night she won her second term in November 2022, her 2023 inauguration and when she signed legislation to repeal the 1931 law banning abortion in Michigan.

Whitmer has a story she tells about her late mother, Sherry, an assistant state attorney general under former Attorney General Frank Kelley.

At a luncheon during Women’s History Month in 2021, Whitmer was asked about women that inspire her, and she talked about her mother.

“One time someone said, ‘Can’t wear fuchsia in the court, Sherry,’” Whitmer said. “She responded, ‘Fuchsia is my power color!’ … I think that I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of women in my life who have inspired me and showed me that you can be tough and funny and strong.”


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Anna Liz Nichols
Anna Liz Nichols

Anna Liz Nichols covers government and statewide issues, including criminal justice, environmental issues, education and domestic and sexual violence. Anna is a former state government reporter for The Associated Press and most recently was a reporter for the Detroit News. Anna is a graduate of Michigan State University.