Mattel just announced their newest Shero Barbie (the company's campaign to honor lady heroes-"sheroes"-which includes trailblazing women like Ava DuVernay, Ashley Graham, Gabby Douglas and Misty Copeland), and it's none other than Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad". Olympic athlete to compete wearing a hijab at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. Muhammad's Shero doll will hit stores in 2018.
"Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out", says Sejal Shah Miller, vice president of global marketing for Barbie.
Each year, the "Shero" Barbie program honors a select group of notable women who inspire the next generation of woman leaders. "Ibtihaj Muhammad has challenged every stereotype - which to me is the definition of a modern American woman", Glamour Editor-in-Chief, Cindi Leive, said in a statement.
"My mom made efforts when I was a kid to bring dolls into the house that were only dolls of color", she said. "For all those people who didn't believe in me, this Barbie doll is for you".
Ultimately, Muhammad was a ideal choice for Mattel to immortalize in their iconic doll for this year's Shero lineup.
The Olympian worked with Mattel to design the doll, according to People. "She's a Barbie who is strong enough to wield a giant sabre and dedicated enough to spend years working her way to an Olympic medal". "I was always told I had big legs growing up, but through sport I was able to learn to appreciate my body the way that it was-regardless of the images of skinny, white women with blonde hair and blue eyes that I saw on TV and the magazines, I was able to grow up as a curvier, brown kid and love my size and the strength I could achieve because of fencing".
The opportunity to be immortalized into a Barbie doll is a major thing, and to have that honor while also representing for a group of people who could use more representation in all facets is something Muhammad is especially grateful for. And companies like Hello Hijab still have a place in the conversation while we all wait for Mattel to make Barbie hijabs a reality for their dolls. And that's something to celebrate.