barbie goes sheroic

From Ava DuVernay to Eva Chen, Barbie gets empowering with six "Shero" models.

by Emily Manning
07 December 2015, 11:41pm

After posting a poignant response to Giuliana Rancic's culturally insensitive comments about her choice to wear dreadlocks to the 2015 Oscars, young actress Zendaya Coleman and her red carpet look were given the Barbie treatment in September. "She's a role model who is focused on standing up for yourself, your culture, and for what you believe in — that's very relevant for girls," Michelle Chidoni, a spokesperson for Mattel said of the manufacturer's decision to immortalize Zendaya's look. Although it received an outpouring of support on social media, the doll wasn't put into production -- Zendaya herself owns the only model. But today, one of Mattel's "Sheroes," director Ava DuVernay, is fully available in plastic, fantastic form.

Back in April, Mattel announced six new dolls based on real life Sheroes: Selma director DuVernay, actors Emmy Rossum and Kristin Chenoweth, fashion editor Eva Chen, singer Trisha Yearwood, and 5-year-old fashion designer Sydney Keiser. In true Barbie fashion, many of these Sheroes have the accessories game on smash: Rossum's plastic mini-me carries what might be the tiniest Phantom of the Opera script on Earth, Chenoweth and Yearwood's hold microphones, and Chen's is toting a copy of Lucky (whoops).

Mattel originally intended to create only one of each model and auction them off, donating proceeds to each Shero's charity of choice. Yet DuVernay's fans wanted the chance to buy the Barbie and her boss-ass director's chair, so they launched a successful Twitter campaign to put the doll into commercial production. Today, DuVernay's model will be made available for online purchase. And if the response is anything like the reaction to Mattel's Moschino Barbie (which sold out in hours) you better start hitting that refresh button now.

Not only is it inspiring to see Barbie spotlight real life role models, but also that consumers are making successful demands for a more diverse and empowering product. All DuVernay proceeds will benefit Color of Change, a watchdog organization focused on "strengthening Black America's political voice" by using the internet to lobby government power players in support of African American issues.


Text Emily Manning

Ava DuVernay
eva chen