Ashley Graham is on fire this year. She was the first “plus size” model to ever grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, she premiered her own lingerie line at New York’s fashion week, and she even celebrated her cellulite. Now, she has her own Barbie–who actually has matching measurements.
How awesome. Graham was presented with it at Glamour’s Women of the Year Awards–and couldn’t believe how it all happened, saying that she wished she had a Barbie her size as kid growing up:
“I never really thought that I didn’t look like her growing up, I just thought she was perfect. If I had a Barbie that was my size, I would have thought my size was normal. Young girls now get to grow up seeing that their bodies are normal, which I think is so empowering and encouraging to the younger generation.”
She did have one requirement for the doll:
“All we did was take 360 degree photos of my body to send to them, and afterward we fleshed out some details. The color of my hair, a few details on my face like beauty marks and full eyebrows. The number one prerequisite, though, was that her thighs touched. I was like, ‘Guys, we can make this Barbie, but if her thighs don’t touch, she’s not authentic.’”
As a feminist who played with dolls when I was little, this excites me. Having toys, dolls in particular, inspire imagination and storytelling–I often made entire, intricate story lines for my dolls–which definitely was an early way I began fostering my imagination. However, it was disheartening to see Barbie as a doll who wasn’t representative of many people–even as a kid, I noticed this. But thankfully, Mattel got with the program, as they released new body shapes and skin tones for Barbie earlier this year.
Tanya Missad, Mattel’s Director of Consumer Insights, said it best:
“We have to let girls know, it doesn’t matter what shape you come in. That anything is possible.”