Mattel collaborated with Cox to design the doll and will release it on her birthday.
Barbie is releasing a doll celebrating Laverne Cox, the trans actor and LGBT advocate. Mattel collaborated with Cox to create a barbie doll in her likeness and plans to release it on her 50th birthday, just ahead of Pride month. The Barbie doll will be part of the company's new Tribute Collection, which also includes the likes of celebrates Maya Angelou, Ella Fitzgerald and Vera Wang. It will also mark the first trans doll for the company. “I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection," said Cox. “I hope that people can look at this Barbie and dream big like I have in my career. The space of dreaming and manifesting is such a powerful source and leads you to achieve more than what you originally thought was possible,” she said, reported PEOPLE.
Cox is happy there is a doll that trans girls can connect with. She said that “so many trans girls grow up wishing we had dolls to play with” and “now there’s one made especially for us.” Cox worked closely with Mattel for more than a year and a half to design the doll and called it a “dream” collaboration. Cox approved sketches, skin tone samples and shoes. Her dress was inspired by one of her iconic red carpet looks—an oxblood red tulle gown draped over a silver metallic bodysuit, with her hair swept into glamourous Hollywood waves. Mattel also announced it would make a donation in her name to the nonprofit TransFamilySOS.
The "Inventing Anna" actress says that her Barbie represents so much more than a toy and believes the doll will give a lot of hope to trans children. “For them to be able to see this Barbie doll in the likeness of a trans person in this moment, I hope [it] gives them hope,” she said before recalling her own past struggles. “When I was a kid, I didn’t have access to gender-affirming care. We lived in a world that deeply stigmatized trans people. I didn’t even really understand that it was possible for me to be my authentic self. I grew up in that world, and now I have a Barbie doll. So anything is possible,” she added.
The journey to Cox being honored with a Barbie doll possibly started way back in 2018 when a fan, Jason Preston, launched an online petition to make Laverne Cox the first trans woman Barbie doll. The description of the petition said she was “the definition of the ‘inspiring woman'" and called her a “symbol of what you can achieve if you are true to who you are.”
Cox came across the petition on Twitter and responded at the time, “Ah that’s sweet. I would love to be a Barbie doll.”
She also touched on the attacks on the trans community from lawmakers in the recent past in an interview with PEOPLE. "I think in an environment where trans children have been used as a political football, when over 250 pieces of anti-trans legislation have been introduced in state legislatures all over the country in 2022 alone, and access to gender-affirming healthcare has been denied by policies signed into law in my home state of Alabama, in Arkansas and other states... That in this environment where trans kids are being attacked, that this can also be a celebration of transness, and also a space for them to dream, understand and be reminded that trans is beautiful," she said. "That there's hope and possibility for them to be themselves."
Mattel has made a very conscious decision to be more diverse in recent years after being criticized for promoting a narrow, unrealistic ideal of beauty. The company introduced Barbie dolls in a wheelchair, a doll with a prosthetic leg, and a Black Barbie with the skin condition vitiligo, among other dolls over the past few years. “Barbie has continued to evolve over the years to better reflect the world girls see today, adding more diversity for endless storytelling possibilities,” said Mattel, reported PEOPLE. Kim Culmone, the senior vice president of Mattel fashion doll design, said research in 2019 revealed that "kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms."
Fans can buy the Laverne Cox Barbie doll at major retailers and MattelCreations.com.