The toys children play with growing up have a huge impact on their self-image, and Barbie dolls are no exception. Luckily, manufacturer Mattel has started to take note. Barbie has started a “Sheroes” initiative that makes dolls in the image of real and talented women to inspire and empower little girls. Included in the lineup are snowboarding champion Chloe Kim, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and celebrity Zendaya. And now, we can add ever-empowering model Adwoa Aboah to the list.
The model is known for creating an online platform called Gurls Talk, which aims to empower women by speaking of mental health, education and self-care.
What makes Aboah’s doll even more significant is how it represents people of color who don’t fit into the Barbie mold many of us grew up with. “Seeing my own doll that has my skin color, shaved head, freckles and my tattoos is beyond mad,” wrote Aboah on Instagram. “I spent the majority of my childhood wishing for blonde hair, pining over Barbie’s light skin and blue eyes. All those years ago and I didn’t feel like I was represented anywhere. But today with my big toothy grin I feel so very proud to have been awarded this Shero doll for all the hard work I have put into myself and @gurlstalk. All I hope is that some little girl out there sees this and realizes that her wildest dreams are possible if she puts her mind to it. I hear you and see you, this doll is for you.”
Aboah’s doll is in the dress she wore to accept her Model of the Year prize at the 2017 Fashion Awards.
The Shero initiative is part of Barbie’s larger efforts with their Dream Gap Project. For every doll sold, Mattel will be donating $1 to organizations leveling the playing field for girls, while shedding light on the limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential.