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Maya Angelou and Jane Goodall join the Barbie crew

Mattel has released ‘The Inspiring Women Series’, which pays tribute to amazing women all over the world. Championing the writers, activists, and game-changers, who took risks to change the rules.

Designed by the very cool and creative Barbie lead designer, Carlyle Nuera, the new Barbie range is everything that you want it to be, and more. Neura has nailed the likeness of Dr. Maya Angelou and has been integral in contributing to Mattel’s expansion in terms of diversity (body type, skin tone).

Angelou, and Jane Goodall, are among seven new dolls, joining Ida B Wells, Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Billie Jean.

new barbie
Credit: Mattel

In a recent chat about his work with Costume Society he shared “When designing a doll, I ask myself ‘Who haven’t we represented yet? Who needs to be represented more?’ And I also account for the nuances of hairstyles, textures, the range of skin tones & facial features within a demographic, because each group isn’t monolithic. I also account for the context in which those nuances are represented. For example, I put an afro on the 2018 Holiday Barbie in a glam gown because I think it’s important for Black girls to see their natural hair in aspirational, glamourous contexts too.”

Mattel celebrates Dr. Maya Angelou, for her work that has brought her numerous awards and accolades that include over 50 honorary doctorates, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a National Book Award nomination for her 1970 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Credit: Mattel

Mattel says of the Jane Goodall doll: “Recognizing decades of dedication, ground-breaking research, and heroic achievements as a conservationist, animal behaviour expert, and activist, Barbie honours Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, with a collectible doll made from recycled plastic”

The Jane Goodall Barbie doll comes with a figurine of her most famous subject, a chimpanzee named David Greybeard, plus a pair of binoculars and a notebook.

Chatting about the doll with Reuters, Goodall said “I wanted a doll to be me even before this idea came up. I’ve seen…little girls playing with Barbie dolls and certainly at the beginning, they were all very girly girly and I thought little girls need…some choice,”  

“Mattel has changed its range of dolls and there’s all kinds of astronauts and doctors and things like that. So many children learn about me at school. They’ll be thrilled to have the Barbie doll.” Which makes Goodall a bonafide living legend.