Mattel to release Barbie dolls with disabilities after campaign from Rose Ayling-Ellis

Barbie has been given a new makeover to help represent those living with disabilities – in a campaign backed by the winner of our Inspirational Person of the Year honour, Rose Ayling-Ellis.

Part of the Mattel’s Rose, Barbie and Friends campaign – which also features the first Ken doll with vitiligo, one with a prosthetic limb and another with a wheelchair – the doll was created in consultation with experts to accurately portray the hearing aids.

Rose, who has been deaf since birth, said “It’s so important for children to be able to see themselves represented in the toys they play with. When I was little, I would draw hearing aids on to my Barbie dolls to make them look like me, so I am thrilled that Mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences.”

Rosie Eggleston, participation manager at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said “She will give all children a much greater appreciation of the diversity of people around them and provide a window into the world of deafness.”

The Eastenders actress continues to break new ground in the deaf acting community, this year she became the first celebrity to sign a Cbeebies bedtime story.

She made her debut in the CBeebies story corner in May, where she told the story in British Sign Language.

Since the inception of the Barbie Fashionistas line, over 175 looks have been introduced, offering children a variety of skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and textures, body types, disabilities, and fashions to choose from.

Lisa McKnight, Executive vice president and Global head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel, Inc. said: “The Barbie brand wholeheartedly believes in the power of representation, and we are committed to continuing to introduce dolls featuring a range of skin tones, body types and disabilities to reflect the diversity kids see in the world around them.”

The 2022 Barbie Fashionistas line is available in the UK now.

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