Model Adwoa Aboah turned into Barbie doll to celebrate International Women’s Day

' I hope we can inspire girls to try to change the world around them'

Sarah Young
Wednesday 06 March 2019 13:21 GMT
Barbie honours model Adwoa Aboah with doll in her likeness

Adwoa Aboah has been made into a Barbie to celebrate International Women’s Day (8 March).

Toy company Mattel has honoured the British activist and model with a one-of-a-kind “Shero” doll in her likeness to highlight the potential in every young girl.

In a bid to close the Dream Gap (a phenomenon that refers to the combination of barriers that impede girls from achieving their dreams or reaching their full potential), the brand says it is working with female role models to focus on diversity and inclusivity.

“I want to help close the Dream Gap, so that girls don’t have to question if they are smart or brave, and have no limits placed on their capabilities by society,” said Aboah.

Aboah was selected by Mattel in part due to using her platform to empower young women by founding Gurls Talk in 2015 – an online community where young women can discuss issues such as mental health, education and relationships.

“I’m passionate about encouraging girls to be anything they want to be, and I’m honoured to be a Barbie Shero,” said Aboah.

“I believe by working together we can encourage girls to find their authentic voices and that we can have an impact on the world for the next generation of girls.

“Through my work with Gurls Talk and partnership with Barbie, I hope we can inspire girls to try to change the world around them, through acts big or small.”

The doll's first outfit is a replica of the one Adwoa Aboah wore to the Fashion Awards in 2017 (Mattel)

Aboah’s doll comes with two looks that represent both fashion and activism.

The first outfit is based on the look she wore when accepting the British Fashion Council Model of the Year 2017 Award – a Halpern dress, Stephen Jones turban and Christian Louboutin platform sandals.

Adwoa Aboah was chosen in part for founding Gurls Talk in 2015 (Mattel)

The second outfit comprises of a Gurls Talk T-shirt and leopard print skirt.

“I love that Barbie offers so much choice now, but to see my own doll that has my freckled skin, skin colour, shaved head and my tattoos is so meaningful to me,” said Aboah.

The model said it is "meaningful" to see a Barbie with her skin colour, freckles, shaved head and tattoos (Mattel)

For decades, Barbie received criticism for giving young girls an unrealistic idea of what the female body should look like. However, the brand has made strides in recent years to reflect a broader view of beauty with dolls that feature different body and hair types, and abilities.

The model and activist has been honoured by toy company Mattel alongside 20 other women – from scientists and chefs to journalists – who actively inspire the next generation.

The full line-up of Barbie’s 2019 "Sheroes" is:

  • Adwoah Aboah, Activist and model, UK
  • Yara Shahidi, Actor, model and activist, US
  • Naomi Osaka, Tennis player, US
  • Kelsea Ballerini, Singer and songwriter, US
  • Kristina Vogel, Cycling champion, Germany
  • Dipa Karmakar, Gymanstics champion, India
  • Chen Man, Visual artist, China
  • Melodie Robinson, Sports journalist and presenter, New Zealand
  • Karla Wheelock, Mountaineer, writer and lecturer, Mexico
  • Tessa Virtue, Ice skater, Canada
  • Lisa Azuelos, Director, France
  • Eleni Antoniadou, Nasa scientist, Greece
  • Rosanna Marziale, Chef, Italy
  • Ita Buttrose, AO, OBE, journalist and editor, Australia
  • Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, Actor, talk show host and author, Japan
  • Mariana Costa, Entrepreneur and activist, Peru
  • Iwona Blecharczyk, Professional truck driver, Poland
  • Gulse Birsel, Columnist, screenwriter and actor, Turkey
  • Maya Gabeira, Big-wave surger, Brazil
  • Lyasan Utiasheva, TV show host and rhythmic gymnastics champion, Russia

As the brand marks Barbie’s 60th anniversary, it has announced that it will be building on the Barbie Dream Gap Project that launches last year.

Its efforts will include spotlighting relevant female role models and dedicating resources to like-minded organisations in support of closing the Dream Gap and levelling the playing field for girls.

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