Mattel closely worked with the National Down Syndrome Society to make the doll the true representation of a person with Down Syndrome.
Mattel recently launched the first-ever Barbie with Down Syndrome and model Ellie Goldstein has a powerful message to share about its importance. "I am really happy and emotional," said Goldstein, who has been a model for brands like Gucci and Adidas and was recently featured on the cover of British Vogue. When asked how kids with Down syndrome will see this doll, she told This Morning, "When I saw it, I was like, 'Wow, it's like a normal doll but okay, a different doll, but they will get used to it.'"
She said explaining the design of the doll, "The necklace has got a symbolic thing that has got the 21st chromosome on it and it actually looks like me." Goldstein has Down syndrome and has been modeling for the last five years.
She also posted on Instagram to express her feelings about the new doll. She wrote, "When I saw the doll, I felt so emotional and proud. It means a lot to me that children will be able to play with the doll and learn that everyone is different. I am proud that Barbie chose me to show the dolls to the world. Diversity is important as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away, Barbie will help make this happen."
Yvonne Goldstein, Goldstein's mom, said that it is all about visibility and inclusion."There wasn't any when Ellie was growing up. It wasn't that look ago. It's just amazing to have that out there for just people to be aware of Down syndrome."
According to CBS News, Mattel worked in close association with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to make sure that the doll represented a person with Down syndrome. The doll's dress has butterflies and is in yellow and blue colors, which are used for Down syndrome awareness. The Barbie also has ankle foot orthotics, which many children with Down syndrome wear for support.
Kandi Pickard, the NDSS president and CEO, said in a press release, "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."
Speaking about the new Barbie doll, Kim Culmone, Senior VP, Head of Design, Barbie, told Good Morning America that the association with the National Down Syndrome Society helped them a lot. "Through this collaboration, we were able to ensure the doll and all the design elements and details were an accurate representation of a person with Down syndrome."
Michelle Sagan of the National Down Syndrome Society said that the society contacted them a year ago. They participated in many meetings and strategy calls together. "Barbie was constantly asking for feedback and welcoming our ideas both big and small," Sagan recalled. Moreover, Charlotte Woodward and Kayla McKeon, women with Down syndrome, were also part of these meetings, providing guidance on the design and doll's style.