You become. It takes a long time.
That's why it doesn't happen often to people
who break easily, or have sharp edges, or
who have to be carefully kept. Generally,
by the time you are Real, most of your hair
has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and
you get loose in the joints and very shabby.
But these things don't matter at all, because
once you are Real you can't be ugly,
except to people who don't understand.
The Velveteen Rabbit