Barbie has revealed its first-ever doll with Down’s syndrome, created in collaboration with British model Ellie Goldstein. Ellie made history by becoming the first model with Down’s syndrome to appear in big campaigns for fashion brands like Gucci Beauty and Adidas. She is also one of British Vogue’s cover stars this May.
Ellie expressed her joy about the doll, saying that she felt overwhelmed when she saw it. “Seeing the doll meant a lot to me… diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away,” she said.
To create the doll, Barbie worked with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in the US and a group of medical professionals. They made changes to the doll’s face and body, including a rounder face, a shorter height, and a longer body, to better reflect what a person with Down’s syndrome might look like. The doll’s palm also has a single line, which is something that people with Down’s syndrome often have.
The doll will be part of Barbie’s latest Fashionistas line, alongside a Barbie wearing braces and a Ken with a prosthetic leg. The doll’s clothes and accessories have been specially designed, with the pink necklace having a pendant with three arrows on it, representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome that cause the characteristics associated with Down’s syndrome.
Carol Boys, the chief executive of the UK Down’s Syndrome Association, welcomed the move, saying, “We look forward to seeing her on the shelves alongside Barbies who wear hearing aids, use wheelchairs, and celebrate inclusion.” Kandi Pickard, NDSS President, added that “This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”