BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than a decade after the release of Architect Barbie, she’s back in the spotlight after being featured in the hit film Barbie — and she has a Buffalo connection.

University at Buffalo professor of architecture Despina Stratigakos is one of the women who helped with the creation of the doll.

“What is amazing about Barbie is that whatever she does, she brings it into the world of girls,” Stratigakos said. “And just by being an architect, she makes that point that this can be part of their future.”

In 2010, she and her UB colleague, Kelly Hayes McAlonie, wrote Mattel with the idea of Architect Barbie.

They couldn’t believe the response.

“We were shocked, to be honest,” Hayes McAlonie said. “It was so exciting. First of all that they were interested. But, also that they wanted to work with us to develop the doll.”

Stratigakos and Hayes McAlonie consulted heavily on the doll’s architect accessories. She came complete with a hard hat, boots and architectural drawings.

“One of the big topics was drawing tube or not,” Hayes McAlonie said. “But, it’s such an iconic signal representation of architects.”

Less than a year later, the doll was unveiled.

Fast forward to today — the Barbie these two architects helped design is featured in the opening sequence of the box office smash.

“There she appeared right at the front of the movie, and I gasped very loudly in the theater,” Stratigakos said. “People probably thought I was having a heart attack.”

“I hope this is the beginning of more directors tapping into the feminist power of humor,” added Stratigakos.

Hayes McAlonie told us she’s received emails from young women who say the doll has inspired them.

Barbie continues to perform strongly at the box office. It’s raked in one billion dollars worldwide, right behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie in the box office rankings for 2023.

Patrick Ryan is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2020. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.