Barbie-maker Mattel unveiled its first doll with a hijab headscarf Monday, in honor of Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first U.S. Olympic athlete to compete wearing the Muslim headgear.
The new doll, set for public release next fall, forms is part of Barbie’s “Shero” (female hero) line, which celebrates boundary breaking women intended to inspire the next generation.
“I had so many moments as an athlete, where I didn’t feel included, where I was often in spaces where there was a lack of representation. So to be in this moment, as a U.S. Olympian, to have Mattel, such a global brand, diversify their toy line to include a Barbie doll that wears a hijab is very moving to me,” Muhammad said Monday night, the Associated Press reported.
Muhammad worked with Mattel to design the Barbie and said her resemblance to the doll, which wears a fencing uniform and carries a sabre, is uncanny. “I know that as an athlete I have larger legs — these strong legs that we use, especially fencers, to propel ourselves into lunges — and it was important for me to have my doll be as close to my likeness as possible,” she said.
Other “Sheroes” include model Ashley Graham, actress-singer Zendaya, Olympian Gabby Douglas, ballerina Misty Copeland and Selma director Ava DuVernay.