Mattel’s latest release recognizes award-winning actress, producer, author and renowned LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox. As Barbie’s 50th birthday approaches on May 29, the “Tribute Series” Barbie becomes the first Barbie doll to feature a transgender model.
The accomplished actress, who rose to fame playing Sophia Burset on the Netflix series “Women in Prison,” is not breaking the glass ceiling for the first time. A four-time Emmy-nominated actress and Emmy Award winner, she became the first transgender woman of color to have a lead role in a scripted television show. An advocate for using one’s voice and always living an authentic life, Cox embodies the values of the Barbie tribute series, a respect for trailblazing women.
“We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate …… Laverne Cox and a doll,” shared Lisa McKnight, Mattel Barbie executive vice president and global head. “We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and recognize the significant impact that Laverne has had on the culture.”
As Barbie continues to add to its diverse collection, the iconic brand realizes the importance of image and how important it is for more people to see themselves reflected in pop culture.
Says LaVerne Cox: “It’s been a dream of mine for years to work with Barbie to create my own dolls.” “I can’t wait for fans to find my Barbie dolls on the shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll based on a transgender person to their collection.”
She added: “I want people to see this Barbie and dream as big as I have in my career.” “The space to dream and manifest is such a powerful source that leads you to achieve more than you initially thought possible.”
Barbie said they worked closely together to honor the star by creating a doll that reflected her unique style while also showcasing her glamorous appearance. By studying past red carpet looks, the research team recreated her Hollywood waves hair and stunning makeup. Cox herself chose deep auburn as the color of her tulle gown to reflect her personal aesthetic. The outfit can be styled in many ways:with heeled boots, shiny silver metallic tights and silver earrings. Even the skin tone and body shape of the doll, Cox was involved in every step of the production process until it was finally approved by her.
To celebrate Cox’s 50th birthday, Barbie also made a donation in her name to TransFamilySOS, a nonprofit organization that is close to Cox’s heart and whose mission is to create a more gender-affirming and gender-accepting community.
Cox’s road to Barbie has been long and drawn out. in 2018, fans started a petition on Change.org asking Mattel to make a doll in Cox’s likeness. In additional video footage provided by Mattel for the Barbie release, Cox shares her “Barbie story” dating back to her childhood.
“When I was a kid, I really wanted a Barbie doll, but my mom wouldn’t let me have one,” Cox shares in the video. “It was painful.”
Having her own Barbie doll was a full circle moment for Cox, who played with it as a child by making dolls. “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood,” she says. “You have a child inside you now.”
She adds that many years later, in her 30s, her mother finally bought her a Barbie doll for Christmas. With Barbie, she hopes parents will be inspired to allow their children to play with any toy they want.
She says: “I hope that parents who see this and their kids want to play with Barbie – whatever gender they were assigned at birth – and they say, ‘Yay, you can go do this, it’s cool.’ “
The Barbie tribute series launched in 2021 to honor pioneering women whose forward-thinking and revolutionary visions changed the world forever for the better. Since then, the series has paid tribute to entertainment icon Lucille Ball and Queen Elizabeth II.
It’s another step in Barbie’s quest to inspire, uplift and encourage young girls around the world, showing them their limitless potential. Just last month, Barbie was launched to the International Space Station National Laboratory as part of the Dreamstar mission, a partnership between NASA and Mattel to encourage children to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.