Superstar writer and producer Shonda Rhimes has created some of our favorite television shows ever, including Gray’s Anatomy and Bridgerton — and she’s won basically every relevant award for her work along the way. Now, thanks to a new project from Mattel, she officially has her own Barbie doll, too.
According to research funded by toy company Mattel, girls with no positive female influences aged 5-10 are less likely raise their hands for leadership positions. This includes tasks like leading a group project at school or even volunteering to answer a question in class. However, after girls (and boys, too) were exposed to female role models, all children were more likely to volunteer to lead a group activity.
So in 2018, Mattel created the Barbie Dream Gap Project, is a multi-year global initiative so highlight female role models in society and immortalize them in doll form.
Now, for International Women’s Day this year, Mattel has released 12 role model Barbies, including Rhimes.
It’s only fitting that Rhimes, a Black female screenwriter, CEO of Shondaland, and the best showrunner ever, is honored with a Barbie Doll that looks just like her.
The doll itself features a likeness of Rhimes that is pitch perfect. With a gorgeous full afro, an amazing figure that puts traditional Barbie to shame, and a colorful ensemble that includes a full-length rainbow skirt, the doll exudes some of the same strength and confidence as Shonda does herself.
The 52-year-old entertainment industry history-maker was ecstatic to be featured in the collection.
“I have my own Barbie! Proud to be among the 12 amazing women, all of whom are breaking barriers in their respective careers, who have been selected to be honored for #internationalwomensday,” she wrote on Instagram
Rhimes’ colleagues in the industry were thrilled for her as well, with celebs like Reese Witherspoon, Viola Davis, Ellen Pompeo, and Kerry Washington all chiming in with congrats.
“We know that children are inspired by what they see around them, which is why it’s so important for young girls to see themselves reflected in role models who’ve daringly pushed past roadblocks and overcome the Dream Gap to become the brave women they are today,” Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Mattel, said in a statement. “This International Women’s Day, we’re proud to honor 12 global trailblazing women to help empower the next generation of female leaders by sharing their stories.”
The other 11 role models might not have names with such high profiles in the United States as Rhimes does, but they are 100% just as inspiring. They include women like fashion designer Lan Yu of China, activist Butet Manurung of Indonesia, and astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.
We just have one big bummer headed your way: the role model Barbies aren’t for sale, even in a limited edition. Still, we’re glad to see any Barbie that doesn’t look like a... Barbie.
Here’s your daily reminder that representation matters for kids of all ages, genders and ethnic backgrounds — and what they see around them, and in their toys, effects how they see themselves and others.