Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 February 2020

'What makes us different makes us beautiful': Barbie introduces dolls with vitiligo and alopecia

The toymaker has introduced a diverse range of new figurines for 2020

The newest additions to Barbie's Fashionista ine include a doll with alopecia, centre, and a redheaded Ken. Instagram / Barbie
The newest additions to Barbie's Fashionista ine include a doll with alopecia, centre, and a redheaded Ken. Instagram / Barbie

The very first doll was introduced back in 1959, but now toymaker Mattel is redefining what it means to "look like Barbie".

The American company has introduced a diverse new range of dolls to its already bolstered line-up, which last year saw the release of a gender-neutral Barbie and a disabled Barbie.

For 2020, Mattel has unveiled a doll with vitiligo, a condition in which a person's skin loses pigment, typically in patches, and another with the hair-loss condition alopecia.

The Barbie with vitiligo is now on sale, while the latter, which comes without hair, will hit shelves in June. "What makes us different makes us beautiful," said Mattel, when announcing the new releases on Twitter.

The latest iterations of the world's most famous doll form part of Barbie's Fashionistas line, which already includes a figurine with a wheelchair and one with a prosthetic leg.

New releases also include a Ken doll with long rooted hair and the first-ever redhead Ken.

In total, the line represents nine body types, 35 skin tones and 94 hairstyles, according to the Barbie website.

"As we continue to redefine what it means to be a 'Barbie' or look like Barbie, offering a doll with vitiligo in our main doll line allows kids to play out even more stories they see in the world around them," Mattel said in a statement, adding that the brand worked with a dermatologist to ensure the doll accurately represented the condition.

"For 2020, Barbie is continuing the journey to represent global diversity and inclusivity in the fashion doll aisle by showcasing a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion."

Last year, Mattel also released a series of 20 ‘Shero’ Barbies, turning the likes of activist and supermodel Adwoa Aboah; Bindi Irwin, actress, conservationist and daughter of the late ‘crocodile hunter’ Steve Irwin; actor, model and activist Yara Shahidi; tennis star Naomi Osaka; and film director Ava DuVernay in Barbie figures.

The dolls were designed in collaboration with the women they represent, and the team hopes to help close the “dream gap”, by donating funds to organisations championing equality for women.

Updated: January 29, 2020 04:31 PM

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