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Barbie unveils its first doll with Down’s syndrome

Barbie has launched the first Barbie doll with Down’s syndrome, championed by model Ellie Goldstein.


Mattel/Catherine Harbour

Barbie has launched its first doll with Down’s syndrome as part of its diverse Fashionistas line.


Trailblazing British model Ellie Goldstein, who has Down’s syndrome, appeared in a campaign with the new Barbie.


Mattel, the makers of Barbie, created the doll in close partnership with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in the US.


(Barbie/PA)

Barbie’s consultation with the NDSS and medical professionals led to the introduction of a new face and body sculpt to be more illustrative of women with Down’s syndrome, including a shorter frame and a longer torso.


Mattel said the new face sculpt features a rounder shape, smaller ears, and a flat nasal bridge, while the eyes are almond-shaped. The doll’s palms even include a single line, a characteristic sometimes linked to those with Down’s syndrome.


The doll wears a necklace with three upward chevrons representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which is the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with the condition.


The doll also wears pink ankle foot orthotics (AFOs) matching her outfit – commonly used by children with Down’s syndrome in the US.


On the launch of the doll, Goldstein said: “I am so happy that there is a Barbie with Down’s syndrome.


(Barbie/PA)

“Seeing the doll, I felt so overwhelmed – it meant a lot to me and I’m so honoured and proud that Barbie chose me to show the doll to the world. Diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.”


Goldstein, 21, advocates for inclusivity and a broader view of beauty across the fashion industry. She made history as the first model with Down’s syndrome to feature in major international campaigns for brands such as Gucci Beauty and Adidas.


She is one of British Vogue’s Reframing Fashion cover stars celebrating disability in May, and was also named one of the Business of Fashion 500, a list of people influencing the global fashion industry.


“This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them,” said Kandi Pickard, NDSS president and CEO.


“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.”


The 2023 Fashionistas line also features a Barbie wearing braces and a Ken with a prosthetic leg. The line is available to pre-order from Smyths for £13.99 each.

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