V. Stiviano was nicknamed ‘Barbie’ in high school for her expensive taste – USA TODAY
LOS ANGELES — Barbie was her nickname, and the woman in the now-infamous taped conversation that led to Donald Sterling being banned for life from the NBA was remembered on Thursday for wearing $800 jeans and calling attention to her breast augmentation while attending Roosevelt High School.
Javier Cid, longtime teacher at Roosevelt High, said V. Stiviano, then known as Vanessa Perez, was in his civics and economics class her senior year. He recalled her being smart, enthusiastic and mature — and for her nickname, Barbie.
“Which kind of says a lot about her and who she wants to be,” Cid told USA TODAY Sports. “Barbie, someone that just wants to have the car, the house, the clothes, the designer stuff.’’
Stiviano graduated from Roosevelt High in 2000, and Cid said memories of her came back to him after he learned she was the woman in an audio recording in which Sterling spews racist views. Cid said he recalled the day she showed up to school bragging about her $800 jeans.
“She had very expensive tastes, which is not common for most students in this neighborhood,’’ said Cid, who said he has been teaching for 24 years at the school in East Los Angeles’ Boyle Heights.
Cid, who also is the school’s head football coach, said he remembers Stiviano telling him she’d had a breast augmentation in the spring of her senior year.
“I was talking to another teacher and she comes running, ‘Coach Cid, coach Cid. I finally got my boobs done,’ ” he said, “… It was a very awkward moment for me.”
Cid said he saw Stiviano last in about 2007, when she came to the school to talk about her younger sister, then attending Roosevelt.
“Her younger sister wasn’t doing well in school,” Cid said. “I do remember when she did come and see me about her little sister she did mention something about, ‘Oh, yeah, well I’m drive a Range Rover now.’ I remember that very clearly. I said, ‘Good for you.’”
Cynthia Medina, a graduate of the class of 2000, said she did not know Stiviano directly but that other classmates with whom she has spoken this week recalled Stiviano being known as Barbie. She said former classmates have been talking about her since discovering Stiviano and Sterling both graduated from Roosevelt. Sterling, 80, graduated in 1952 — 48 years before Stiviano, 31, did.
Medina said students recalled Stiviano being “ashamed to be from Boyle Heights.” Records show Stiviano also has lived in San Antonio.
Maria Ibarra, who works in the registration office at Roosevelt High, said she remembered helping Stiviano register.
“She was a nice person,” Ibarra said. “She always tried to look pretty and really nice. I know that she had a nickname. She said they called her Barbie.’’