Julia Renkert is the designer and artist behind the increasingly popular Mitten State Barbie Instagram page. @Mittenstatebarbie began with 250 followers in December 2016, jumped to 940 followers in just one month, and now has over 5,000 followers!
“I am a huge Barbie fan,” Renkert says. “I tried to be a normal adult who didn’t play with Barbies. Except now, I want to! After seeing the Socality Barbie Instagram account I thought, I could totally do this! ”
Mitten State Barbie has Renkert’s looks and stylish charm: Vintage fashion that’s a little bit hipster and a lot of fun! She sports trendy outfits and delightful, detailed accessories. Mitten State Barbie can be seen with the latest magazines, an iphone, and a crinkled bag of Yates donuts. She shares stories of her yoga sessions, Netflix binges, kitchen remodeling choices, honeymoon adventures with “husband man,” and trips to Eastern Market, Ikea, and the lake.
LMAC: Tell us a little about yourself!
Julia Renkert: Hello! I am a graphic and web designer living in metro Detroit. I love retro style, sloths, and going to bed early.
LMAC: Other than @Mittenstatebarbie, what do you like to do in your spare time?
JR: In the past year or so I’ve really gotten into cross stitching. I’ve been designing my own patterns and selling them on Etsy! Like cross stitching, I prefer quiet, chill hobbies: reading, doing crosswords puzzles … I have an old soul :)
LMAC: What kind of music do you like?
JR: it depends on my mood, but generally anything with a retro vibe. Current artist favorites include She & Him and Lake Street Dive. I’m always down with classic rock though, particularly The Beatles and CSNY.
LMAC: Do you have a local shop or eatery that you like to frequent?
JR: I love a dinner out at Amici’s Pizza in downtown Berkley. They have a giant martini menu! They also have the most gorgeous outdoor patio in the summer, it’s almost like you’re eating in the Secret Garden.
LMAC: What is your favorite thing about @Mittenstatebarbie?
JR: I love that she is loosely based on my life. It’s fun to just recreate what’s going on in my life with her, only she looks cooler living it, haha! I’m not just taking photos of my dolls (there’s no problem with that though, in fact, I have a lot of favorite accounts that follow that style!) but I’m also making it a story line with recurring characters and themes… Just like my own life! I’m also really into the details. When my husband and I were planning our honeymoon we were always referencing this tour guide we had, so I printed one out in ⅙ scale for Barbie too!
LMAC: Which image was the trickiest to make? Do you have a favorite?
JR: The trickiest is probably getting her to stand or look in the right direction. I have a lot of outtakes where she’s mid-fall, those are her action shots! And they don’t get posted!
I think my favorite is the one where she’s making a snow angel. It was fun taking that photo because it was snowing pretty hard while I was out there and it ended up looking very genuine. She also got to show off her vintage coat!
LMAC: Tell us something about @Mittenstatebarbie that no one knows!
JR: She has a whole bunch of 80s and 90s clothes in her closet that she hasn’t been able to use for her Instagram life. Maybe she will go to an 80s party just to make use of them! I kept all of my Barbie stuff from when I was a kid… I’m so glad I did!
LMAC: What inspires you?
JR: Other Instagrammers’ creativity! I know I’m not the first person to start an Instagram for a Barbie, but it’s just so inspiring to see other accounts and then put my own spin on it!
LMAC: Do you have any advice for others?
JR: Don’t let your imagination escape you; life is so much more interesting with it! And don’t be afraid to put yourself out there if that’s what you want to do. There will always be haters, but the overwhelmingly positive response has been so supportive and motivating!