Nuevo Culture

‘Barbie’ Honors This Pink Used in Mexico for Centuries — Here Are All the Details

Think pink. The color is probably one of the first things that comes to mind when you reflect on Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster hit Barbie starring Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling, and America Ferrera.

If fact, there is so much pink in Barbie Land, one would be hard-pressed to not find a shade they’re looking for. Magenta? Fuchsia? Amaranth? Even Rosa Mexicano is represented in Barbie.

Rosa Mexicano, or Mexican Pink, is defined by the International Color Association (because there is one) as “a semantic marker for the experience of a very geographically local variant of pink.” Even though it has been used for centuries across textiles and embroidery, and is inspired by the bougainvillea plant, the specific term was coined in the 20th century by artist and designer Ramón Valdiosera.

According to Barbie cinematographer and three-time Oscar nominee Rodrigo Prieto (Brokeback Mountain), the inclusion of Rosa Mexicano was a conscious decision.

“Seeing all the shades of pink and blue and yellow, but mainly pink, it was like, ‘Let’s see, there is this range and how each pink is photographed,’” Prieto said during an interview with Javier Poza en Fórmula. “And then I said, ‘Well, Greta, you have to include the Mexican pink.’”

During an interview with Quien, Prieto said that Gerwig and production designer Sarah Greenwood weren’t familiar with Rosa Mexicano. “They didn’t know [the color] and they liked it,” he said. “I told them that we had to include the color in the movie. That was my stamp on Barbie.”

In an interview during the Barbie cast’s international media tour, Robbie complimented Prieto for the work he did on the film.

“Speaking of a lot of pink, that was the bane of [Rodrigo’s] existence,” Robbie said. “As a [director of photography], a world covered in pink, as fun as it is for the audience, [but] not if you’re trying to light it. He is the most lovely, sweet, kind, wildly talented man.”

We’re sure after hearing that high praise, Rodrigo Prieto’s cheeks turned bright pink.

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, Barbie being covered here wouldn’t exist.