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As part of its 65th-anniversary celebration, Barbie adds Venus Williams and more elite female athletes to its Role Models series.
Ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics and amid its 65th-anniversary celebration, Barbie is honoring some of the world’s most elite female athletes. On Wednesday, the brand revealed its latest collection of Barbie Role Models, created in the likeness of nine women “who have broken boundaries to encourage girls to stay in sports and recognize their full potential,” according to a release from parent company Mattel. 
Among the nine “trailblazing” athletes celebrated with one-of-a-kind dolls is tennis icon and four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams, the first female tennis player to earn equal prize money at Wimbledon and a pioneer for Black women in the sport. Fittingly, Wiiliams posed alongside her Barbie — both dressed in tennis whites — on the court as she showed off her latest triumph on Instagram.
“Throughout my career, I’ve always been driven by the idea of shattering glass ceilings and staying true to myself, and Barbie’s mission couldn’t resonate more deeply with that ethos,” said Williams via a statement shared with theGrio. “I’m honored to be recognized as a sports role model and join forces with Team Barbie to continue empowering the next generation of young girls to never stop believing in their dreams.”
In addition to Williams, dolls have been created in the likenesses of top international scoring soccer player Christine Sinclair of Canada; Australian FIFA World Cup football player Mary Fowler; French boxer and 2016 Olympic champion Estelle Mossely; Mexico’s first female world medaling gymnast Alexa Moreno; Olympic gold and silver medalist Rebeca Andrade of Brazil; Spanish doctor and para-triathlon athlete Susana Rodriguez; record-breaking Italian Olympic champion swimmer Federica Pellegrini, and top-ranked Polish track and field sprinter Ewa Swoboda.
Recognizing the potential impact of athletics on girls’ self-confidence, the latest release of Barbie Role Models includes a partnership with Voice in Sport, a digital platform promoting gender equality in sports. The platform will offer free virtual mentoring sessions for girls in sports ages 12 and up with this cohort of Barbie Role Models into 2025. This initiative is the latest contribution to the ongoing Barbie Dream Gap Project, which cites recent research from The Girls’ Index in explaining the importance of sports during girls’ formative years.
“Knowing that girls involved in team sports are more likely to believe they are smart enough for their dream career, have high opinions on their abilities and competencies, increased leadership aspirations and enjoy higher levels of self-confidence, Barbie is bringing together these inspiring stories that are shaping the future to show girls that anything is possible if you relentlessly pursue your passions,” read the release shared with theGrio.

To that end, exclusive content from Williams and fellow Barbie Role Model Katya Echazarreta, the first Mexican-born woman to travel to space, will be available on Walmart’s social and digital channels. Additionally, the Barbie brand’s 65th-anniversary celebration will continue with new sports dolls and playset assortments “to inspire even more stories through play.”
“Barbie is thrilled to continue the brand’s 65th-anniversary celebration by recognizing the impact of sports in fostering self-confidence, ambition, and empowerment among the next generation,” said Mattel’s Senior Vice President of Barbie and Global Head of Dolls, Krista Berger, in a statement. “The sports one-of-a-kind role model dolls serve as an embodiment of our shared values of passion, empowerment and individuality. By shining a light on these inspirational athletes and their stories, we hope to champion the belief that every young girl deserves the opportunity to pursue her passions and turn her dreams into reality.”
Girls ages 12 and up who are engaged in sports may sign up for free mentoring with Barbie Role Models and additional educational content at https://voiceinsport.com/barbie.