Barbie’s newest “Shero” is Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
Muhammad made history in 2016 as the first American athlete to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab, and now she’s breaking barriers again as the first hijab-wearing Barbie doll.
Muhammad tweeted that it was a “childhood dream come true” to have a Barbie made in her image.
Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie #Shero family! I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true 😭💘 #shero pic.twitter.com/py7nbtb2KD
— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) November 13, 2017
Muhammad got to tour the Mattel factory to see how her Barbie doll is made.
She said she was never able to find dolls that looked like her when she was growing up.
“This is such a big moment, not just for me, but for little girls everywhere,” Muhammad explained to Glamour.
— Britni Danielle (@BritniDWrites) November 13, 2017
In addition to her hijab, Muhammad’s doll is decked out in full fencing attire- from protective mask to athletic shoes, celebrating the Olympic athlete’s inspiring physical achievements.
It hasn’t been easy for Muhammad to get to where she is today. She told Glamour that some people in the fencing world made her feel like she didn’t belong. The accomplished athlete even had a hard time registering for SXSW when one volunteer insisted that she remove her hijab for her ID photo.
Barbie hopes to embrace Muhammad’s differences with its new doll.
“Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out,” Vice President of Global Marketing Sejal Shah Miller explained in the company’s press release. “Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honoring her story we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything.”
As a Barbie “Shero,” Muhammad joins the ranks of Gabby Douglas, Ava DuVernay, and Misty Copeland, among many other accomplished women, who have all been honored with Barbie dolls of their own.
The doll will go on sale to the public in 2018.
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