If you ask little girls what they would like as a gift, some would probably say a stuffed toy or doll–specifically a Barbie doll. They would often ask for a Barbie who is dressed up as the profession they want to have when they grow up, or something that has extra items such as animals or small houses. This has prompted Mattel, the brand responsible for creating Barbie dolls, to make its dolls more inclusive– may it be gender, race, color, or profession!
In fact, just last year, Mattel launched its #ThankYouHeroes special collection in honor of the brave frontline workers that are combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank You Heroes Special Collection
In April 2020, Barbie and Fisher-Price launched their “Play It Forward” program– collection inspired by doctors, nurses, paramedics, and delivery riders. These professions were made into action figures and dolls that people could buy and show to their kids! This special collection helps in educating the younger generation on the importance of healthcare workers and their new role as modern day heroes. (Read: Panalangin Para Sa Mga Frontliners)
#ThankYouHeroes is designed to immortalize and honor healthcare and every day heroes, and to drive additional donations to support first responders,” said Chuck Scothon, Senior Vice President of Fisher-Price and Global Head of Infant and Preschool, Mattel.
He added that they hope these figures will be able to help children not only appreciate our frontliners, but also help them (and adults) cope with the effects of the pandemic. (Read: Biggest Altar Mural in PH Pays Tribute to Patients, Frontliners)
And in the most recent addition to the collection, a Filipino-American doctor had been chosen by Mattel to have a Barbie doll of her own! Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz is a 29-year-old engineering graduate and internal medicine doctor from Las Vegas who has been on the frontlines, along with other Asian-American physicians, fighting the novel coronavirus.
Dr. Cruz said she just received an email from Mattel that they would like to make a doll that looked like her. “It’s a huge honor that I never expected,” the doctor and mom said. “I hope I can represent women of color, women in healthcare, women who are working moms,” she added. (Read: WATCH: Barbie honors strong, independent women in new collection)
Along with Dr. Cruz, five more amazing women in the healthcare industry had been turned into Barbie dolls:
- Professor Sarah Gilbert, who was the lead in developing the University of Oxford vaccine
- Dr. Chika Stacy Oriuwa of Canada, who advocates against systematic racism in healthcare
- Amy O’Sullivan, a US nurse who treated the first COVID-19 patient in Brooklyn, and became ill herself, but returned to helping others after recovering
- Dr. Jacqueline Goes de Jesus, who led the research and genome sequencing of the COVID-19 variant that was found in Brazil
- Dr. Kirby White of Australia, co-founder of the Gowns for Doctors initiative
Dr. Cruz hopes that their dolls would inspire children, and make them understand that they can be anything they want to be.
A part of the proceeds from every purchase of a figure or doll from the #ThankYouHeroes campaign will be donated to the First Responders First program.