[Kurtis] Taylor (aka “Dreamer Ken”) made [an audition tape] in December for toymaker Mattel’s “Genuine Ken” series, a competition between eight “Ken-testants”–Compassionate Ken, Artistic Ken, Party Ken, All-Ameri-Ken, etc.–to earn a modeling contract as the face of the company’s redesigned Ken doll. (To make a long story short for the non-dads in the crowd: Ken and Barbie “broke up” after a 43-year-courtship in 2004–that is, Mattel discontinued the male doll–and “got back together” on Valentine’s Day, when the company announced it was bringing Ken back to shelves.)
Of the eight, Taylor emerged as the winner, according to the New York Times, ultimately more for his generosity than his more obviously model-y aspects:
Spotlighting Ken comes after the toy maker’s recent update of Barbie, who turns 52 this year, as a fashion plate with high-style outfits. The eight contestants in the “Genuine Ken” series competed in an array of “Bachelorette”-style challenges to determine who had the ideal qualities to fill Ken’s customary role as the “ultimate boyfriend for every occasion.”
The redesigned Ken doll will resemble the contest winner, Kurtis Taylor, a 25-year-old former defensive lineman for Iowa State, who won over the judges in the romantic gesture category.
The contestants to be the face of “Ken,” Barbie’s boyfriend. Kurtis Taylor (bottom left) was the winner.
|Left: What Ken used to look like; right: what he will look like.|