Others included in the "Sheroes" program include tennis player Naomi Osaka and Olympic gold medal-winning ice skater Tessa Virtue

By Colleen Kratofil
March 06, 2019 12:45 PM
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Barbie is turning the big 6-0 this year, and she’s celebrating in a big way. In addition to new books, initiatives and events surrounding the milestone anniversary, the brand is expanding its collection of “Sheroes” dolls with 20 new inspiring faces from around the world.

To coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8, Mattel unveiled a new crop of role models from 20 different countries — in doll form. The brand chose women from ages 19 to 85 with a diverse array of careers for the new release, and representing the U.S. is Grown-ish actress Yara Shahidi.

Shahidi’s doll wears a sharp gray suit with a Tory Burch “vote” graphic tee underneath (a shirt she actually wore to the We Vote Next Summit in September 2018).

Shahidi was chosen for her achievements in acting and activism and for her creation of Yara’s Club in partnership with The Young Women’s Leadership Schools in NYC, a digital meet-up for high school students to discuss societal issues, self-improvement, and higher education.

Credit: Getty; Mattel

“I’m honored to be repping all the young ones as a Barbie Role Model,” Shahidi wrote on Instagram. “Let’s continue to inspire the next generation and each other. We need your voices and are watching you all Blossom and shine!”

Naomi Osaka’s Barbie (second from left), Yara Shahidi (center), Adwoa Aboah (fourth from left) and the other new Sheroes dolls
| Credit: Mattel

From the U.K., model Adwoa Aboah is recreated in Barbie form wearing a sequin colorful Halpern dress with a Stephen Jones head scarf. Aboah, who graces every top magazine cover and high-fashion runway, is also the founder of Gurls Talk, an online community where young women are free to discuss issues such as mental health, education, self-care, and relationships.

Another famous Shero is the no. 1 female tennis player in the world, Naomi Osaka, who’s the first Japanese tennis player to win a Grand Slam and the first Asian to ever hold the top spot in either men’s or women’s tennis. Osaka is the latest athlete to join some other inspiring sports stars with their own Shero, including gymnast Laurie Hernandez and Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad, who was also the first-ever hijab-wearing doll.

Credit: Quinn Rooney/Getty

“It’s a really big honor,” Osaka told PEOPLE. “I’ve played with Barbies when I was a kid, and I think it’s a bit of a surreal experience to have the opportunity to have a Barbie that looks like me.”

Among others rounding out the group are inspiring women like the NASA scientist from Greece, Eleni Antoniadou, the Canadian Olympic gold medal-winning ice skater Tessa Virtue, a boundary-breaking truck driver from Poland, Iwona Blecharczyk, and many others including a chef, journalist, director, alpinist and sports commentator.

“For 60 years, Barbie has championed girls, inspired generations to believe through make believe and showed them that they have choices. With more than 200 careers, six runs for president and a trip to the moon before Neil Armstrong, Barbie continues to evolve to be a modern, relevant role model for all ages,” said Lisa McKnight, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Barbie. “The Barbie brand believes girls should never know a world, job, or dream women haven’t conquered. Through our global platform, we are igniting a movement to help close the Dream Gap and further establish Barbie as the ultimate girl empowerment brand.”

Not only is Barbie inspiring girls through the new role models, but they’re continuing to close the “Dream Gap” through the new Dream Gap Project Fund, an initiative that dedicates resources to like-minded organizations that supports leveling the playing friend for girls. Barbie will be donating $1 for every Hero sold in the U.S. up to $250,000.