Mattel continues the diversification of their doll collection with the introduction of a new Barbie on Monday at the Glamour’s Women of the Year Live Summit. Inspired by Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American athlete to compete for Team USA wearing a hijab headscarf, the doll comes dressed in a fencing uniform and hijab. This is the first doll to sport the cultural garb in the brand’s 58-year history.
“We are so excited to honor @IbtihajMuhammad with a one-of-a-kind #Barbie doll! Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries,” the company said in a statement on social media.
Mattel recently introduced a line of "Sheroes," modeled after women who are breaking boundaries in order to inspire the young girls of tomorrow. This doll, made in likeness to Muhammad, is the latest to join the ranks of Gabby Douglas, Ava Duvernay, Ashley Graham, Misty Copeland, Emmy Rossum, Eva Chen, Kristin Chenoweth, Sydney “Mayhem” Keiser, and Trisha Yearwood.
“I played with Barbie for a long time, what some people might call an uncomfortably long time,” Muhammad joked before revealing that she used to sew little hijabs for the dolls so that they would better resemble her and her family.
“I had so many moments as an athlete, where I didn’t feel included, where I was often in spaces where there was a lack of representation,” the athlete said. “So to be in this moment, as a U.S. Olympian, to have Mattel, such a global brand, diversify their toy line to include a Barbie doll that wears a hijab is very moving to me.”
Both Muhammad and Mattel hope this doll will bring more confidence to little girls everywhere. “Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honoring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything,” Sejal Shah Miller, vice president of global marketing for Barbie, said in a statement.