Role Models

Since 2015, Barbie has been on a mission to honor diverse role models, both modern-day and historical, who break boundaries in their fields to inspire the next generation of girls. Barbie is shining a light on female role models because every girl imagines she can be anything, but actually seeing that she can makes all the difference.

With 81 percent* of moms globally worried about the type of role models their daughters are exposed to, Barbie is igniting a conversation around the importance of positive role models, underscoring that you can’t be what you can’t see.

Barbie has honored women or “Sheroes,” including Ibtihaj Muhammad, Misty Copeland, Ava DuVernay, Eva Chen, Ashley Graham, Laurie Hernandez, Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb.

In addition to women breaking boundaries today, Barbie also has a historical line celebrating notable women throughout history.  The Inspiring Women™ dolls pay tribute to incredible heroines like Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson (shown right) and Frida Kahlo.

To date, Barbie has honored 49 role models and is committed to showing girls more role models by honoring a minimum of 10 each year.

2019

  • Yara Shahidi, Actress, United States (shown left) – Actress, activist for education for girls and founder of Yara’s Club, an initiative aimed at bringing girls together to discuss social issue and learn how to take action
  • Naomi Osaka, Tennis Champion, JapanProfessional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in the Women's Tennis Association rankings, she became the first Japanese player in history to win a Grand Slam, defeating her childhood idol, Serena Williams, to capture victory at the 2018 U.S. Open
  • Kelsea Ballerini, Singer & Songwriter, United States – 25-year-old country pop singer, songwriter, and the only female country artist to have three consecutive #1 songs from debut, Ballerini is paving the way for women in a male-dominated genre.
  • Adwoa Aboah, Model & Activist, United Kingdom – a 26-year-old model, activist and founder of Gurls Talk, an online community where young women are free to discuss issues such as mental health, education, self-care, and relationships
  • Kristina Vogel, Athlete, Germany – On the way to her third Summer Games and becoming the best female track cyclist of all time, Kristina suffered injury when she collided with a Dutch junior cyclist and suffered several broken bones and injuries that resulted in paralysis, leading to life in a wheelchair. Kristina continues to persevere and is a model for believing in yourself
  • Eleni Antoniadou, Scientist in Regenerative Medicine and Bioastronautics, Greece – A multidisciplinary researcher in Regenerative Medicine, Artificial Organ Bioengineering and Space Medicine, she participated in the first successful artificial organ transplantation in the history of medicine
  • Rosanna Marziale, Chef, Italy – Famous Italian Chef known for pushing boundaries in cuisine, she pioneered new techniques and recipes to create a series of signature dishes that earned her the nickname ‘Queen of Mozzarella”
  • Ita Buttrose, Journalist, Australia – Newly appointed Chair of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, legendary media trail blazer, Ita Buttrose is the first-ever woman to edit a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia and youngest person to be appointed editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly, which was then, per capita, the largest-selling magazine in the world
  • Dipa Karmakar, Artistic Gymnast, India – First Indian female gymnast to ever compete in the Olympic Games and the first Indian female artistic gymnast to win a gold medal at a global event
  • Gülse Birsel, Writer, Scenarist & Actress, Turkey – Advocate for women’s rights
  • Tessa Virtue, Ice Skater, Canada – Decorated figure skater and one-half of the youngest ice dance team ever to win a gold medal
  • Karla Wheelock, Alpinist, Author & Conferencist, Mexico – First Iberiamerican woman to climb the Seven Summits, the highest mountains in the world
  • Mariana Costa, Entrepreneur, Peru – Co-founder of Laboratoria, a social impact startup that is transforming Latin America’s tech sector into an example of diversity and inclusion by preparing thousands of women to launch careers in the tech sector
  • Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, TV Talk Show Host & Author, Japan – Considered to be one of the first Japanese celebrities who achieved international recognition, she broke boundaries in Japanese television in the 70s & 80s by changing the traditional image of women in TV
  • Chen Man, Photographer, China – Credited helping to the evolution of the China’s beauty aesthetic
  • Melodie Robinson, Sports Commentator, New Zealand – As a sports journalist and presenter, and former international rugby union player for the New Zealand women's national rugby union team, she formed The Wonderful Group to encourage more diverse, more empowered women in sport media
  • Iwona Blecharczyk, Truck Driver, Poland – Professional truck driver paving the way for women in the field and enduring extreme weather situations, ambassador for Truckers Life Foundation
  • Lyasan Utiasheva, TV Show Host, Russia – Russian TV show host and former individual rhythmic gymnast who is a 5x champion of Russia and 6x World Cup winner
  • Maya Gabiera, Surfer, Brazil – Holds the world record for the largest wave ever surfed by a woman and winner of the ESPY award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete
  • Lisa Azuleos, Director, France – French director, writer, and producer empowering women through her films and role as president of Together Against Gynophobia

2018

  • Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, News Anchors, USA – Co-hosts and the first female duo to anchor NBC’s TODAY Show since 1952, credited with bringing a diverse perspective to the newsroom.
  • Laurie Hernandez, Gymnast, USA – As the youngest member of the "Final Five" gymnastics team at the 2016 Summer Olympics, she earned gold in the team event and silver on the balance beam.
  • Patty Jenkins, Filmmaker, USA – The first woman in history to helm a film with a budget in excess of $100 million for Wonder Woman, which broke the record for highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman in the world, ever.
  • Chloe Kim, Snowboarding Champion, USA – A first generation Asian-American snowboarding champion and, at age 17, the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding (PyeongChang 2018).
  • Bindi Irwin, Conservationist, Australia – International award-winning wildlife conservationist and celebrity who inherited her father Steve’s passion for wildlife and is dedicated to inspiring the next generation to make a difference in the world.
  • Nicola Adams OBE, Boxing Champion, UK – Two-time Olympic gold medalist who is Great Britain’s most successful female boxer of all time and the only female boxer in the history of the sport to have held all four amateur titles.
  • Çağla Kubat, Windsurfer, Turkey – Champion windsurfer and member of the Fenerbahçe sailing and windsurfing team who founded her own windsurfing school for young surfers.
  • Hélène Darroze, World-Renowned Chef, France – Inspirational fourth-generation French chef with three restaurants worldwide and two Michelin stars.
  • Hui Ruoqi, Volleyball Champion, China – Fifteenth Captain of the Chinese women’s national volleyball team who also won gold in the 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • Leyla Piedayesh, Designer and Entrepreneur, Germany – Iranian immigrant and founder of fashion label lala Berlin that incorporates urban-cool and elegant-chic elements in its high-quality knitwear.
  • Lorena Ochoa, Professional Golfer, Mexico – Athlete, mother, entrepreneur and persistent promoter of golf in Mexico. Formerly, the top-ranked female golfer in the world for 158 consecutive and total weeks, from April 2007 until her retirement in May 2010.
  • Martyna Wojciechowska, Journalist, Poland – TV presenter, magazine editor, author, director and the second Polish woman to conquer the Seven Summits.
  • Sara Gama, Soccer Player, Italy – Captain of Juventus and the Italian national soccer team, member of the Federal Board and the president of the commission for the development of women’s soccer in Italy.
  • Xiaotong Guan, Actress and Philanthropist, China – Ambassador for "World Life Day," a joint campaign by the United Nations Environment Program, International Fund for Animal Welfare and The Nature Conservancy, and known as the “Nation’s Daughter” in China.
  • Yuan Yuan Tan, Prima Ballerina, China – Prima ballerina and principal dancer at the San Francisco Ballet and guest principal dancer at the Hong Kong Ballet.
  • Vicky Martín Berrocal, Entrepreneur and Fashion Designer, Spain – Leads creative direction for the Victoria company with collections that include festive costumes, flamenco dresses, gowns, handbags and jewelry.

 

2017

  • Ibtihaj Muhammad, Fencer, USA – The first American Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab who was honored as one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2016 (shown right).

 

2016

  • Ashley Graham, Model and Body Activist, USA – American model and body activist, speaks at girls’ groups and high schools about body image, self-acceptance and female empowerment.
  • Gabby Douglas, Gymnastics Champion, USA – The first African-American woman in Olympic history to become the individual all-around champion, and the first American gymnast to win gold in both the individual all-around and team competitions at the same Olympics. Her confidence, work ethic and belief in herself make her an extraordinary role model for girls.
  • Misty Copeland, Principal Ballerina, USA – A principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater (ABT), who began dancing on a Boys & Girls Club basketball court and continues to be very active in local Clubs in various cities. She also works with Project Plié, ABT’s comprehensive initiative to increase racial and ethnic representation in ballet and diversify America’s ballet companies.
  • Abby Wambach, Soccer Champion, USA –  American soccer player, coach, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion.

 

2015

  • Zendaya, Singer and Actress, USA – Encouraging girls to “raise their voices – she inspired people of all ages to stand up for themselves (shown left).
  • Ava DuVernay, Director, USA – Director of the Academy Award Best Picture nominee, Selma, and founder of the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM), which provides opportunities and resources to underrepresented filmmakers.
  • Emmy Rossum, Actress, USA – Golden Globe®-nominated actress and spokesperson for Best Friends Animal Society, the only national animal welfare organization dedicated exclusively to ending the killing of dogs and cats in America's shelters and a leader in the no-kill movement.
  • Eva Chen, Editor-in-chief, USA – Breaking boundaries by bringing inspiration to print as the youngest appointed female editor-in-chief of the national fashion magazine, Lucky.
  • Kristin Chenoweth, Actress and Singer, USA – An inspiration on Broadway and beyond, the Emmy® and Tony Award®-winner also founded the Kristin Chenoweth Arts & Education Fund to cultivate young talent in the arts.
  • Sydney “Mayhem” Keiser, Designer, USA – Five-year-old fashion designer whose work appeared in Vogue and collaborated with major national fashion brand, J. Crew, for the collection "Little Mayhem™ for J. Crew."
  • Trisha Yearwood, Singer, Author and Actress, USA – A woman with many superpowers, succeeding as a GRAMMY Award-winning country music artist, best-selling author, Food Network host and entrepreneur.

* This online survey of 8,000 moms of daughters aged 0-10 years old, was commissioned by Mattel and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society's code of conduct.