Mattel is about to release its first Barbie doll wearing a hijab.
This follows a partnership with fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history last year as the first member of the US Olympic team to compete while wearing a hijab. The special-edition Barbie has been designed after Muhammad, who visited the Mattel factory to take part in the process.
She saw her doll for the first time at this year’s Glamour Women of the Year Summit, introduced by model Ashley Graham who debuted her own Barbie at last year’s summit.
Muhammad’s face lit up when she saw her Barbie replica, that includes her fencing uniform and white hijab. She recalled her childhood experiences playing with Barbie and wishing she had one that looked like her. To compensate, she would sew a hijab for her Barbie and for her sisters’ dolls.
“Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honouring her story, we hope this doll reminds them they can be and do anything,” says Barbie VP of global marketing Sejal Shah Miller.
Muhammad’s Barbie will be released next year as part of Mattel’s “Shero” line, which includes Barbies inspired by role models such as Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and director Ava DuVernay.