In honor of her 50th birthday on May 29, actress and LGBTQ+ activist Laverne Cox will receive her very own Barbie. It is the first time that a transgender woman has been honored with a Barbie. Part of the Tribute Collection, the Barbie doll wears a silver bodysuit topped with a red ball gown, and accessories such as high-heeled boots and silver earrings.
Cox, known for her role in ‘Orange is the New Black’, is an outspoken activist for the rights of trans people. She worked closely with Mattel on the new doll, which is sold in the US for $40 (about $37).
“It has been my dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll,” Cox said in a statement. “The space in which you play with dolls, the space in which you create worlds with dolls, is a space to dream. And now kids can dream with a Laverne Cox Barbie, the very first transgender Barbie – that’s a beautiful space for dreams and possibilities.”
“I hope people can look at this Barbie and have big dreams like I have in my career,” she continues.
The actress says that as a child she felt a lot of shame because she wanted to play with a Barbie doll, but her mother didn’t let her. Years later, after talking to her therapist, she finally bought her own doll. “I went to the store and bought a Barbie doll and played with her and dressed her, and it was a way for me to heal my inner child,” she says. When she told her mother about it, she got a new Barbie every time for her birthday and for Christmas. “Barbie has been a truly healing experience for me as an adult, and I hope Barbie fans of all ages will find healing and inspiration in this doll,” said Cox.
Toy manufacturer Mattel has been trying to adjust the image of the slim, blond doll for some time. In recent years, for example, fuller and smaller dolls in different skin colors have come onto the market, and Mattel launched a series of gender-neutral dolls. In addition, new Barbie dolls are regularly released that are inspired by role models such as female astronauts and scientists, historical figures such as civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and athletes such as fencing star Ibtihai Muhammad.
“Barbie knows representation is important and is committed to continuing to increase diversity in its collections so that more people can see themselves reflected,” the company said in a statement.
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