Mattel Releases Barbie Modeled After Transgender Actress Laverne Cox

Wikimedia Commons, By Thomas Wolf

“Orange is the New Black” breakout star Laverne Cox has partnered with children’s doll maker Mattel to create a “tribute” Barbie based on her likeness. 

“We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and to recognize Laverne’s significant impact on culture with a Tribute Collection Barbie,” a Mattel executive said in a statement. 

Cox, 50, rose to fame in Netflix’s hit series “Orange is the New Black,” where she played a Sophia Burset, a transgender firefighter turned federal inmate. She made history as the first transgender individual to be nominated for an Emmy in any acting category in 2014, and was nominate three more times for the role.

Her Barbie also made history as Mattel’s first transgender tribute doll. “What excites me most about her being out in the world is that trans young people can see her and maybe get to purchase her and play with her, and know that there’s a Barbie made by Mattel, for the first time, in the likeness of a trans person,” she remarked. 

Cox said the doll represents “hope and possibility” for transgender children to be themselves, as she was never allowed to play with Barbie’s as a biological male child.  

“I think in an environment where trans children have been used as a political football, when over 250 pieces of anti-trans legislation have been introduced in state legislatures all over the country in 2022 alone, and access to gender-affirming healthcare has been denied by policies signed into law in my home state of Alabama, in Arkansas and other states,” Cox began.

“That in this environment where trans kids are being attacked, that this can also be a celebration of transness, and also a space for them to dream, understand and be reminded that trans is beautiful,” she continued. “That there’s hope and possibility for them to be themselves.”

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