The Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad announced on Monday at Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit that she will be the next doll in Barbie’s “Shero” doll line. The line includes iconic women like Ava DuVernay, Gabby Douglas and Misty Copeland.
“I can’t believe this is happening, honestly,” Muhammad said in an interview with the Huffington Post. “It’s a ‘pinch me’ moment.”
An Inspirational First For Muslim Women
Muhammad made headlines in 2016 during her debut at the Summer Olympics. She became the first Muslim American woman wearing the hijab to compete for the United States while also being the first Muslim-American female athlete to win a medal. She brought home a bronze for sabre fencing.
“Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out,” Vice President of Global Marketing for Barbie, Sejal Shah Miller, said in a press release for the Barbie .“Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honoring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be anyone and do anything.”
A Childhood Dream Come True
For Muhammad this moment was very surreal since Barbie was a big part of her life while growing up. As a child, her mother would make a large effort to bring merely dolls of colour into their home so she and her siblings would feel represented in their toys.
The 31-year old is honoured to be working with a brand that honours not only global diversity but also powerful women and women of colour. She feels humbled to know that she will be part of a line and a doll that will allow other children to feel included. “It’s revolutionary to make all kids ― no matter your skin color, your gender, your ethnicity, your religious beliefs ― feel included.”