Barbie Releases 6 New Dolls Celebrating the 'Heroes of the Pandemic'

Photo: (Photo : BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)

Mattel has come out with six new models of Barbie dolls to honor the "Heroes of the Pandemic," who are experts in their field and have made "tremendous sacrifices" in the name of public health.

In a statement, senior vice president of Barbie & Dolls, Lisa McKnight, said they want to shine the light on these women by "leveraging Barbie's platform" so that the younger generation will know of their work and become inspired by their stories.

The six women whose images have been modeled into Barbie dolls are nurse Amy O'Sullivan, who worked in the emergency room of the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and looked after the first COVID-19 patient in Brooklyn; frontline worker Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, who stood up against racial discrimination in treating patients in Las Vegas; AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine inventor Professor Sarah Gilbert in the United Kingdom; psychiatrist Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa, who fought against systemic racism in Canada's healthcare system; genome sequencing expert Dr. Jaqueline Goes de Jesus of Brazil; and Australian Dr. Kirby White, who established Gowns for Doctors to protect the frontliners.

A Strange Honor

In an interview with The Guardian, Gilbert said that having a Barbie that looks like her feels "very strange," but she hopes that it will inspire young women around the world to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers (STEM). The vaccine inventor said that the new dolls could show girls that they can work as a vaccinologist and help the world. According to the STEM Women organization, only 35 percent of women work in the STEM industry, but Gilbert hopes that will change for the next generations.

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Last month, Gilbert also received an honor from Queen Elizabeth as a Dame. Gilbert was one of the earliest scientists to develop the vaccine when COVID-19 was just emerging from China in March 2020.

Oriuwa, on the other hand, said that becoming a Barbie role model is proof that Black women can also make a mark in the field of medicine. She absolutely loves that the doll has her hair texture down to pat. The doctor said that she didn't have a Black Barbie doll with hair similar to hers when she was a little girl.

The Toronto-based specialist stood out to Mattel because she gave importance to the problems of racism in the healthcare system. She's also a proponent of mental health in children.

In early 2021, White received an Australian of the Year Award for her efforts to make specialized gowns that frontline doctors can use and rewash because protective equipment supplies have been running out. White said that Mattel would be donating $5 to Gowns for Doctors for each of her Babie dolls sold in the country.

Heroes of the Pandemic Release

In the U.S., the Heroes of the Pandemic Barbie dolls will be available at Target from August until supplies last. Part of the proceeds of the sales will also go to the First Responders Children's Foundation.

Jillian Crane, the foundation's president, thanked Mattel for this initiative and said that the dolls would bring joy to kids and help families across the country weather through this difficult period. The foundation provides food and hotel accommodations for thousands of first responders in the U.S.

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