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Toy Licensing: Barbie and Rose Ayling-Ellis Team Up For Diversity Project

Mattel’s Barbie division continues to promote diversity, now teaming up with deaf actor Rose Ayling-Ellis on a new line of Barbie Fashionistas dolls.

Ayling-Ellis stars in the popular British series Eastenders, was the first deaf contestant in Strictly Come Dancing, and has become a global advocate for those with all types of physical challenges.

The new line, which launched Aug. 16,  includes the first ever Barbie doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids, the first Ken doll with vitiligo, a new doll with a prosthetic limb, and a doll with a wheelchair.

“The Barbie brand wholeheartedly believes in the power of representation, and we are committed to continuing to introduce dolls featuring a range of skin tones, body types and disabilities to reflect the diversity kids see in the world around them,” said Lisa McKnight, EVP and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel. “It’s important for kids to see themselves reflected in product and to encourage play with dolls that don’t resemble them to help them understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion.”

Rose Ayling-Ellis (left), with inspiring models Jamie, a 17 year old student with vitiligo; Renee, a model and paraplegic wheelchair user; and Faisha, a yoga teacher and model with a below-the-knee prosthetic limb. The quartet have become models for a new line of inclusive dolls from Mattel’s Barbie division.

Ayling-Ellis is taking part in the new campaign – entitled Rose, Barbie & Friends – alongside inspiring models Jamie, a 17 year old student with vitiligo; Renee, a model and paraplegic wheelchair user; and Faisha, a yoga teacher and model with a below-the-knee prosthetic limb.

Mattel consulted with experts in their fields on the new dolls to accurately portray the hearing aids in the Fashionistas line.

“It’s so important for children to be able to see themselves represented in the toys they play with,” said Ayling-Ellis. “When I was little, I would draw hearing aids onto my Barbie dolls to make them look like me, so I am thrilled that Mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences.”

The Barbie Fashionistas line is where the Barbie brand delivers the most diversity and inclusion, and since its inception, 175+ looks have been introduced, offering children a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, disabilities and fashions to choose from.

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