As we gear up for the “Barbie” movie release (or should we say “Barbenheimer” day?), we’re craving hot pink tacos, snapping up all the Barbie gear, and even getting a fuchsia Starbucks frap. This is Barbieland now… and we’re just living in it.

We’re also looking back at a Barbie that stole our hearts growing up: the first Latina Barbie, Teresa Rivera. For many of us Latinas, especially those with dark hair, Teresa was a doll we could actually identify with.

As one TikTok user put it in a recent video, “I always looked for Barbies that looked like me, and sometimes they were hard to find. Here’s to the Teresa’s.”

If you had a Teresa doll growing up, you know the classically brunette Barbie was freaking awesome. Maybe you had the Dance ‘n Flex that was super-twistable in a metallic blue 2000s-style crop top, or you might’ve treasured the Rollerblade Teresa instead.

And if you had the 1994 Quinceañera Teresa… well, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.

Since we’re major Teresa stans, we thought it was fitting to research the first Latina Barbie’s history— especially because she surprisingly doesn’t seem to be featured in the “Barbie” movie. We won’t stand for Teresa erasure in this house, so here’s everything we know about her!

Latina Barbie Teresa debuted in 1988 as the “California Dream” doll

Blonde Barbie first debuted back in 1959 wearing that black-and-white striped swimsuit that’s probably ingrained in your mind somewhere. That being said, Mattel didn’t expand their range to more diverse dolls until the late 1960s.

In fact, by 1968, the company introduced the world to Christie, one of the first Black dolls that was described as Barbie’s friend. By 1980, Mattel released Nikki, which is seen by some as the first “official” Black Barbie in the collection. The company also released Teresa, the first Latina Barbie, in 1988 as their “California Dream” doll.

Interestingly, Mattel did release a “Hispanic” Barbie doll in 1980 that remained nameless. As explained by Fashion Doll Guide, the “Hispanic Barbie” came with the words “Dark eyes! Dark hair! She’s a Barbie doll just for you!” written on the box.

However, while Hispanic Barbie did have dark hair and eyes, she also wore Spanish-style clothing similar to a traditional flamenco outfit. In this sense, Mattel might have been more inspired by Spain when making this doll— or kept the description vague to appeal to different people.

While we didn’t get the actual Teresa until the late 1980s, the Latina doll eventually became so popular that she turned into Barbie’s best friend.

Barbie’s “best friend” Teresa has appeared in several movies and is a cupcake-loving “tech genius”

Teresa Rivera regularly appeared on the series “Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures,” and had a supercool role many TikTokers still miss.

In a special introduction video posted by the show, Barbie says Teresa is “the best technical task master out there” and a “technical genius.” A.K.A., she fixes all kinds of things — and always “gets them out of a jam.”

She also “goes with the flow,” inserts a few Spanish words here and there, and really appreciates “geological conditions.”

Apart from being canonically a genius, Teresa has several other tricks up her sleeve. According to her “Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse” fan page, she is a fashion designer, loves baking cupcakes, pillow fights and shopping vintage. She also dislikes “bad vibes,” so she’s a real one.

Even more, Teresa has rescued tens of stray animals on the show and has a heart of gold.

Over on the doll side, Mattel has released more than 100 Teresa iterations over the years since her 1988 debut.

Apart from the first “California Dream” Teresa Doll, we also have 1994’s “Dance Moves” Teresa, 1995’s “Jewel Hair Mermaid” Teresa, the 2000-era “Millennium Princess” Teresa, and many more icons.

One TikTok video posted by @arthurhia shows the evolution of Teresa since 1988 and also notes how Mattel possibly “whitewashed her” starting in the early 2000s. You can see how her face and eye color changed over time here:


imo Teresa was intended to be Latina from the get go and then they whitewashed her #barbie #mattel #teresa #dolls #fyp

♬ Fairy – Deanmakes

And while @arthurhia alleges that Mattel sometimes made Teresa from Spain or Italy (very confusing), she does seem to be very much Latina — at least judging by her portrayal in recent shows.

Do you remember your first Teresa doll?