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Mattel releases a ‘Role Model’ Barbie doll of tennis star Naomi Osaka

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Jul 13, 2021 5:37 pm

The doll quickly sold out hours after it went live on Monday, June 12. And Naomi Osaka has cemented her status as a superstar in the world of women’s tennis.

Osaka is a force to reckon with on and off the court as she uses her platform to speak out on social issues like human rights and racial injustice, and most recently, about mental health.

On Monday, July 12, Mattel revealed its collaboration with the 23-year-old Japanese tennis star as it introduced the Barbie Role Model Naomi Osaka doll.

The doll was made in Naomi’s likeness, dressed in a head-to-toe Nike outfit inspired by her Australian Open 2020 look—white visor, sweat band, tennis ball, tennis dress with brushstroke print, light blue tennis shoes, and a cute replica of her Yonex racket.

Naomi’s Barbie doll, which sells for $29.99 (P1,500) was reportedly sold out within hours of going live. It is still sold out on the website as of this writing.

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“Breaking records and inspiring the next generation,” Barbie said of Naomi in its announcement.

“We are proud to announce athlete and change maker Naomi Osaka as the newest Barbie Roll Model doll! Naomi inspires us to have the courage to reach for our dreams, and reminds us to be your own biggest champion.”

On Instagram, Naomi excitedly shared her collaboration with the brand.

“I really hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything. This is really seeing a dream of mine come to life, having your own Barbie and potentially seeing little kids playing with it,” wrote Naomi, who will be competing in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

In 2019, Naomi was named one of Barbie’s “Sheroes” together with 19 women from around the world in time for International Women’s Day. These “Sheroes,” which include model Ashley Graham, gymnast Laurie Hernandez and Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad, had a Barbie in their likeness for the campaign.

Mattel, the maker of beloved Barbie, has been committed to empower girls around the world through its toys that not just promote inclusivity but also inspire them that they can be anything beyond what society dictates who and what they should be.

Every year, Barbie highlights 10 role models, which introduce girls to women from different walks of life to show that there are a lot of possibilities for them our there.

This year’s role models who have Barbie dolls in their likeness include Russian cosmonaut Anna Kikina, fashion designer Karen Walker from New Zealand, Polish hammer thrower Anita Wlodarczyk, professional skateboarder Sky Brown, and Para-Badminton world champion Manashi Joshi from India.

Naomi started her professional tennis career in 2013. She became the first ever Japanese player to win a singles Gland Slam title in 2018, where she beat 23-time champion Serena Williams.

She catapulted to No. 1 after winning the 2019 Australian Open. She currently ranks at No. 2 worldwide, following her win in the 2021 Australian Open.

Recently, Naomi withdrew from the 2021 French Open after she skipped press conferences as a way to take care of her mental health. After the tennis star dropped out of the tournament and was fined $15,000 (P750,000), she spoke up about dealing with social anxiety and depression, which stirred conversations on mental health.

Banner and thumbnail photo from @Barbie on Instagram, AFP and via Kyodo News