She’s inspired by Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
Barbie has made some fairly progressive strides in the last few years — she’s embraced body positivity, recognized icons (or, in Barbie talk, “Sheroes”) and, now, as part of that collection, Barbie is wearing a hijab.
Inspired by Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the doll will be wearing a fencing outfit and hijab — a first for Barbie. Muhammad debuted the doll, along with model Ashley Graham, at Glamour’s Women of the Year LIVE Summit in New York City on Monday. In 2016, Muhammad became the first American athlete to wear a hijab during the Olympics. Fittingly, she says she played a major part in designing the new Barbie.
“I think that having strong legs helped me win a medal at the Olympic games. So I wanted my [doll’s] legs to be larger, more athletic legs, toned legs,” Muhammad revealed. Mattel chose the right person to create a new Shero in more ways than one. The fencer joked to Glamour that she played with Barbies for an “uncomfortably long time.” As a child, Muhammad said she and her sister would sew on hijabs for their dolls.
The new Barbie will be available starting in 2018.
“When I think about my own journey, me being a Muslim girl involved in the sport of fencing, there were people who made me feel like I didn’t belong,” Muhammad said while visiting the Mattel factory. “For all those people who didn’t believe in me, this Barbie doll is for you.”