Gloria Estefan Is Officially a Barbie on Her 65th Birthday: 'Wonderful Time in My Life'

"To have them celebrate my image and my career and my culture on my birthday ... it's really special," Estefan says of her Barbie

gloria estefan
Gloria Estefan. Photo: Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

Gloria Estefan is a Barbie girl, living in her very own Barbie world!

The Cuban-American singer is celebrating her 65th birthday by announcing that a new Barbie doll is being introduced — and she's inspired by the icon herself.

"Overjoyed is pretty much the word," Estefan tells PEOPLE, describing how she felt when she first learned there would be a Barbie inspired by her. "I've gotten every award that you could possibly imagine. But somehow this was so incredibly special for me, maybe because I played with Barbie since I was a kid, a little girl, and she's an American icon."

She continues, "To have them celebrate my image and my career and my culture on my birthday ... it's really special. They were really, really sticklers about making sure that I was very involved in choosing her image, the clothes. I actually sent them my thigh-high boots and my jacket so that they could see the detail. That jewelry, the microphone, we made sure the hair was right, that she represented me in the way that was important to me. And I'm just beyond thrilled. What can I tell you?"

She adds, "I'm a Barbie!"

Gloria Estefan barbie
Barbie. mattel

The doll's look is inspired by Estefan's outfit in the music video for her 1989 hit "Get On Your Feet," which prompts Estefan to reflect on her career.

"I can't believe it, it's just so quick. I mean, my life has flashed by. Maybe because my husband (Emilio Estefan) and I are constantly doing something and I'm probably at one of the most fruitful times of my life. If I would've thought back when I was a little girl that I would be doing this at this age, that I had a movie come out. Father of the Bride's so successful," she says. "I was in Vivo. I've got a Christmas album that I did with my daughter and my grandson that is coming out in a month — and to have Barbies celebrating my life right at this moment is just ... there's a lot going on and it's all great and I'm thrilled about it."

The singer's fondest memories with Barbie involve creating fun spaces for her and taking the toy sewing machine she bought her to create outfits for the doll.

"My favorite thing [about] playing with Barbie was creating her environment, her home. I would take big spools of thread from my mother's sewing kit and [would] make bar stools for Barbie and set up a little table," she says. "I also stole other things from my mother, from her bathroom, to make her bed, little Barbie mattress. And you can imagine what that is. My mom was not happy about that part, but I was very creative."

She continues, "My mom couldn't afford the house and the car. So we made our own. And that was the big fun of playing with Barbie."

And though Barbie was exclusively in her blonde, fair-skinned image when Estefan was a young girl, she says she was still able to appreciate how iconic she was. Now, she appreciates how much she's evolved over time.

"Barbie's really been good about evolving with the times. And Barbie's had over 200 careers now. So they've been on the cutting edge of really having women or Barbie step into so many roles that were not originally female roles. At the time, I was happy just to play with Barbie."

The doll's reveal also comes just ahead of Hispanic Heritage Month. Estefan — who's known best for the celebration of her Cuban roots in her music — says it's always important to embrace where you're from.

"Our cultures enrich us. I mean, you're not lesser than because you have other cultures in your background, you actually have more opportunity," the "Conga" singer says. "The United States is a tapestry. I mean, unless you're a Native American Indian, you're from somewhere else in some generation and that's what makes this country so unique and special. It's all these colors being woven together into this beautiful quilt or tapestry of richness."

Gloria Estefan rehearses onstage during the Latin GRAMMY Celebra Ellas y Su Musica on May 04, 2021 in Hollywood, Florida
Estefan. John Parra/Getty

She continues, "We have to celebrate those things. Also for me, it was particularly important so that Latinos that are coming down the pipe realize, 'Hey, we can do this and we can have success and we can live our dreams.' And Emilio and I have lived the American dream that everyone talks about so much. It's very important that we do everything we can to keep that alive and those possibilities alive for generations to come."

Also in honor of her brand-new lookalike, Barbie is donating $25,000 to Artistas y Musicos Latino Americanos to promote music education by helping children with private music lessons. In addition, Barbie will be underwriting one of their event programs and supporting their mentor-fellow programs. This is something that hits home for Estefan.

"It's really important to me. I have a foundation, Gloria Estefan Foundation, and I love things that help kids or that make their lives better in any way, because that's how you really affect the future," she says. "Being able to offer opportunities to young people, and especially now that those are the programs that get cut right away from public schools, music and art, which is absurd to me because music is math."

She concludes, "It's important to support those programs."

Related Articles