Pete Davidson transformed into a nude Ken Barbie Doll for Paper Magazines’s #BreaktheInternet issue. Davidson’s good friend and 13 Reasons Why star Tommy Dorfman helped conceptualize the project, which is a play on artist Lisa Frank’s iconic shot, and a reference to Davidson’s mental health struggles and colorful love life.
Of the project, Dorfman recalled, "In a car, on our way to set for [Pete's] new movie with Judd Apatow, we brainstormed ideas for our upcoming shoot together. I threw out a Ken Doll concept. It seemed right since tabloids manipulate people that way, him especially. He was down with the idea, but challenged me to go darker, something that leaned into his struggle with depression, which he has been admirably public about."
"He'd told me he slept in a car bed as a kid and I saw it immediately: this Staten Island Ken Doll version of Pete stuck in a Barbie nightmare, pills everywhere. ‘You'd be like depressed Ken,' I said. ‘Yeah! And d-ckless, like, with Ken-d-ck,' [Pete] said, and the whole car exploded with laughter."
Two years ago, Davidson revealed that he was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. In 2018, after his breakup with fiancé Ariana Grande, he sent friends and fans into a panic when he wrote on social media: "I really don't want to be on this earth anymore."
While he chose to step out of the limelight for a time, the interest in his love life has only increased. Since breaking up with Grande, he’s dated multiple women, including Kate Beckinsale and most recently, Kaia Gerber.
He gave insight into his success with women. He said: “My love language, when I’m in a relationship, is I treat the person I’m with like a princess. I try and go as above and beyond as possible, because that’s what you’re supposed to do? If you’re in a relationship with someone, you’re just supposed to make that person feel as special as possible.”
But sometimes, above and beyond is too much, he noted.
“But sometimes when you put so much on someone, it overwhelms them, and then they don’t know if they could come close to that. Or if they can keep up with it,” he said. “So, it’s very off-putting to some … It’s something I had to learn in a past relationship, which sucked to learn through that person, but it makes you better.”