Toy company Mattel has been slowly rolling out signature series that pay tribute to important people in history, culture, and global philanthropy, such as the “Tribute Collection” which featured icons such as Laverne Cox, Vera Wang, and Queen Elizabeth. In their newest line, titled the “Inspiring Women Series,” Mattel has so far launched 12 more dolls, with the latest being none other than Madam C.J. Walker.
The line is described as a series that “pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time.”
“Madam C. J. Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was the daughter of parents who were formerly enslaved and became sharecroppers, Walker would become a successful entrepreneur and the nation’s first documented self-made female millionaire. Barbie honors her unflinching determination with a collectible doll, complete with a ‘Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower’ accessory,” Mattel’s website explains.
Known as a “Black entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist,” Walker made a name for herself with a “line of hair and cosmetic products for Black women” allowing her to become the first ever female self-made millionaire.
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Walker's great-great granddaughter A'Lelia Bundles, told CNN she worked with Mattel to finalize the design, saying “It was a joy to work with Barbie on the design and creation of an Inspiring Women doll made in the likeness of my great-great grandmother, Madam C.J. Walker.”
Bundles followed in her Walker’s footsteps and is also a designer for her own haircare collection. When speaking on her experience with the Mattel team, she shared, “Their design team graciously welcomed me throughout all steps of the process -- from hair development to packaging -- to capture and celebrate the legacy of this trailblazing Black businesswoman. I can't wait for a new generation to be inspired by her story and to tell their own stories through a role model who came before them.”
“I wanted to capture Walker in a time in her life where she was selling her Wonderful Hair Grower, at public meetings and private home demonstrations – the true spirit of self-made,” designer Carlyle Nuera shared.
The doll even features miniature hair balms encrusted with Madam C.J. Walker’s original hair care branding.
“Madam C.J. Walker is an embodiment of our Barbie Inspiring Women series. We're honored to welcome her into this group of trailblazing women and introduce more kids to her journey of becoming one of the nation's first widely successful female founders,” Lisa McKnight shared, who is the executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel.
You can find Walker’s Barbie on Mattel’s site for $35, though they are currently sold out, along with 9 other dolls out of the 12 released as part of the line. While legends like Susan B. Anthony, Jane Goodall and Maya Angelou are out of stock, you can still purchase Billie Jean King, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Ida B. Wells for the same price above.