The woman who became the first US Olympian to compete wearing a hijab now has a Barbie modeled after her—and it’s the first one to wear a headscarf in the doll’s 58 years of existence.
Bronze medalist and sabre competitor Ibtihaj Muhammad, 31, made headlines when she donned her hijab at the Rio Olympic games last year.
Today, she unveiled the doll Mattel made in her honor as part of its ‘Shero’ line dedicated to inspirational women, which also includes Ava DuVernay, Ashley Graham, who hosted the doll’s debut in New York City, Misty Copeland, and Gabby Douglas.
‘It’s so cool to see myself in this little doll form with my fencing uniform on,’ she told People. ‘It says my name on the back and it has a fencing mask and the little sabre. I just love it.’
The athlete expressed her delight that children who wear headscarves themselves can play with a doll that look like them.
‘I think its revolutionary for Barbie to take a stand in this moment that we’re in—and I would say, as a country, to have a doll wear a hijab and be the first of its kind,’ she added.
‘There has never been a Barbie doll to wear a hijab before. I’m really excited to have this moment happen in my life and also for all these little girls now who can shop for Barbie doll that may look them, may wear a hijab like they do, or like their mom does, or like a friend does.
‘But also have kids who aren’t Muslim, who don’t wear a hijab, to also have the opportunity to play with a doll that wears a hijab.’
Ibtihaj made sure her doll wears her signature eyeliner, which she likes to wear while competing as well as while running errands, and had a realistic body shape.
‘I know that as an athlete I have larger legs—these strong legs that we use, especially fencers, to propel ourselves into lunges—and it was important for me to have my doll be as close to my likeness as possible,’ she said. ‘So I wanted to have athletic toned legs for sure.’
Her doll will be available for sale in the fall of 2018. In the future, Ibtihaj would like to see Malala Yousafzai join Mattel’s ‘Shero’ line-up too.
Glamour editor-in-chief Cindi Leive was thrilled to see Ibtihaj become the inspiration behind a new Barbie doll.
‘Ibtihaj Muhammad has challenged every stereotype—which to me is the definition of a modern American woman,’ she said.
‘Last year, she was the first athlete from the U.S to compete in the Olympics wearing a hijab, and today we are thrilled to celebrate Ibtihaj as the first hijab-wearing Barbie.