09/08/2012 14:21 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Is Sindy A Better Role Model Than Barbie?

Is Sindy a better role model than Barbie? PA Barbie (left) and Sindy (right)

We all worry that there just aren't enough good role models for young girls these days. And given that most high-profile women are either reality TV contestants, pop stars who perform in their pants or surgically-enhanced A-listers, it's easy to see why.

But when we were kids there was an aspirational figure who wasn't bright orange, with FF implants and a desperate desire to be rich and famous.

She was wholesome girl-next-door type, who looked like a teenager but managed to have a string of successful careers as a nurse, an air stewardess and ballerina.

Her name was Sindy, she was 27cm tall and she had big blue eyes, soft, posable limbs, an unusually large head - and, by 1970, she she was the most popular toy in Britain.

It's been almost 30 years since Sindy's heyday but, when I was growing up in the 80s, she was the doll we all wanted to play with.

Is Sindy a better role model than Barbie? Sindy as we remember her - check out the shoes!

Back then, I had a treasured collection of Sindy dolls and accessories. There was ballerina Sindy, show-jumping Sindy (complete with horse) and, inexplicably, one that came with a spare head so that you could quickly change her hairstyle.

But, by the early 90s, Sindy's popularity had waned thanks to Barbie, her blonder, bustier - and sexier - rival from across the pond.


Sindy was the Krystle Carrington to Barbie's Alexis; and this was one girl-fight that she couldn't win.


Out of desperation, she had a few nips and tucks to make sure she'd look better in lycra - all this rendered Sindy virtually unrecognisable. She fell out of favour and, a few years ago, she vanished. A cautionary tale in itself, you might say.

But Pedigree Toys, which introduced Sindy way back in 1963, is now planning a major relaunch to mark her 50th birthday. So next year, the girl who has reinvented herself more times than Madonna is coming back with a whole new look, ready to take on her nemesis all over again.

Rumour has it that, this time round, Sindy has eyelash extensions, purple hair and leg-warmers. She's ditched her boring boyfriend Paul, but she'll have plenty of female friends to keep her company.

Hopefully the razor-sharp cheekbones and pointy chin will be gone and her original rounded face will have been restored. After all, plump pillow faces are all the rage for 50-somethings, right?

Pedigree are confident that she'll be popular with younger girls, especially as Barbie sales in the UK are currently up 23 per cent year on year - and, in a recent survey by The Guardian, 71 per cent of readers voted Sindy their favourite doll while just 29 per cent chose Barbie.

But is she a better role model than Barbie?

Well, as role models go, I reckon Sindy is hard to beat.

"When Sindy first launched in the 1960s she reflected the popular culture and fashions of that time, especially as London was caught up in the Swinging Sixties then," says Neandra from

"Her boyfriend Paul was named after Sir Paul McCartney, and she was even given her own copy of BOAC's (British Airways) uniform because, at the time, being an air stewardess was considered to be a glamorous career.

"In the early years she was a trendy career girl, working as a fashion designer with her own boutique, which I feel is a positive message to send out to young girls.

"I'm so excited to see that she's making her comeback."

Compare that to Barbie, who now seems to spend most of her time bathing puppies and dressing like a fairy - both of which get stale very quickly. Having done both, in real life and with Barbie, I know this for a fact.

That's why we desperately need Sindy to try out a few new and exciting careers: maybe she could be an Olympic sportswoman, a pilot, a chef, a scientist - or a laptop-toting IT whizz-kid.

Throw in a wardrobe of cool, fashionable clothes (not short-shorts and bra tops) to dress her soft, natural-looking body, and she just might send out the message that you don't need to be size six to succeed.


As well as encouraging us to have a career, Sindy taught my generation to aspire to owning our own car (a yellow jeep) and our own home (a three-story mansion, complete with swimming pool, stable block and country garden, no less). And she didn't get all that by marrying a footballer.


So I'm very happy that Sindy's coming back - if only because I need to know how she manages to look so fabulous at fifty.

So who was your first love - Sindy or Barbie?