A who's who of all the different Barbie characters and is the Barbie movie for kids, or can adults watch too?

Barbie is nearly in theaters so let’s take a look at a full guide to characters and who the movie is aimed at...

Is Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling's Barbie movie for kids?
(Image credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

People are feeling plastic fantastic. The Kenergy is high. Barbie is nearly upon us.

After months of teasing – and ushering in the Barbiecore trend -  Greta Gerwig’s Barbie releases in theaters worldwide on Friday, July 21, finally letting us in on all the secrets of the hugely anticipated movie.

With a plot still kept relatively under wraps, little is known about the actual details of the Margot Robbie fronted movie.

We know there’s surprising role for Helen Mirren and there’s a whole roster of Barbies in a Barbie world. But who are all of the different characters and is it suitable for younger children?

Is the Barbie movie for kids?

The Barbie movie is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), which means it is suggested parental guidance for anyone under 13 years old.

This rating has been given due to “suggestive references and brief language”, according to the MPAA. Meaning the movie is much more suited to older children, teens, and adults.

The trailer for the movie indicates that some of the jokes are aimed at an older audience, as Ryan Gosling and Simu Liu’s Kens argue about “beaching” each other off.

Margot Robbie on the Barbie red carpet

(Image credit: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Who’s who in Barbie 2023?

The cast for the Barbie movie is stacked full of recognizable faces, and most of them are all some variation of Barbie or Ken, but just who exactly are they playing?

Margot Robbie as Barbie

Margot Robbie plays a Barbie who escapes the toy world to go to the real world

(Image credit: Christopher Polk/WWD via Getty Images))

Margot Robbie’s Barbie is just Barbie – so she’s likely modeled after the original.

The first Barbie doll was introduced in both blonde and brunette on March 9, 1959.

Margot’s Barbie is expelled from Barbie Land “for not being perfect enough”, leading to “an adventure in the real world” with her boyfriend, Ken.

Ryan Gosling as Ken

Ryan Gosling plays Ken in the new Barbie movie

(Image credit: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

Ryan Gosling plays Ken, Barbie’s longtime boyfriend.

First introduced at the American International Toy Fair as Barbie doll's boyfriend on March 11, 1961, the first Ken doll was 12 inches tall, had “molded” plastic hair (blond and brunette) and came dressed in red bathing suit trunks with a yellow towel and sandals.

Ryan’s Ken is known to have a power ballad in the movie, so fans can expect to see more of Gosling’s musical prowess, years after his turn in 2016’s La La Land.

Again, Ryan isn’t the only Ken.

  • Simu Liu (Shang Chi) as a different Ken
  • Scott Evans (Grace and Frankie) as a different Ken
  • Ncuti Gatwa (Sex Education) as a different Ken
  • Kingsley Ben-Adir (Peaky Blinders) as a different Ken
  • John Cena as Merman Ken.

Michael Cera as Allan

First introduced by Mattel in 1964, Allan Sherwood started out as Ken's Buddy and was set up as a boyfriend for Margaret ‘Midge’ Hadley, Barbie's best friend.

Emerald Fennell as Midge

Introduced in 1963, Midge Hadley was Barbie's best friend and the third doll introduced in the overall Barbie line. 

Midge was initially introduced as a response to criticism that Barbie was too mature for children so, while Midge had the same body proportions as Barbie and thus the two dolls were able to share clothes, her face mold was fuller than Barbie's.

Issa Rae in Barbie

(Image credit: Warner Bros/YouTube)

Issa Rae as President Barbie

Insecure star Issa Rae plays a Barbie in the Barbieverse who has been elected President.

And yep, you guessed it, the White House is actually the Pink House.

Dua Lipa as Mermaid Barbie

All we know about Dua Lipa's character so far is that she's a mermaid version of Barbie with blue hair.

In real life, the Mermaid Barbie is a collector’s item designed by Linda Kyaw and released in 2012 with no more than 4300 units produced.

She’s far from the only ‘other’ Barbie in the movie though.

  • Emma Mackey (Sex Education)  as physicist Barbie
  • Alexandra Shipp (Straight Outta Compton) as writer Barbie
  • Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) as gymnast/weird Barbie
  • Ana Cruz Kayne (Little Women) as judge Barbie
  • Nicola Coughlan (Bridgerton) as diplomat Barbie
  • Hari Nef (And Just Like That) as doctor Barbie
  • Sharon Rooney (My Mad Fat Diary) as lawyer Barbie.

Will Ferrell as CEO of a toy company

Anchorman star Will Ferrell stars as one of the real life characters, a CEO of a toy company who discovers Margot Robbie’s Barbie has entered the real world.

America Ferrera as Gloria

Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera is a Mattel employee in the film who discovers Margot Robbie’s Barbie has left her own universe and entered the real world.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.