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The Role Barbie Played in My Life

Fashion Editor, Mira Leibowitz
Fashion Editor, Mira Leibowitz

I will always look back at all the time I spent playing with my Barbie dolls as time well spent. It was a joyful, innocent and quite creative time. In a way, playing with my Barbies essentially led me to where I am today.

I remember coming home from school, significantly excited to play with my Barbie, most of the time alone, but still completely entertained and captivated. My mom would come into my room once the sun had gone down, and what felt like a thousand hours to a young girl at that age, to tell me that it was dinner time and it was time to pack my girls away. Of course, this was met with utter disappointment and eventually defeat.

I wonder if 5-year-old Mira, playing dress-up, having fashion shows and photoshoots with her Barbie only knew what lay ahead. Looking back, playing with my Barbies was most likely the foundation of my fascination with fashion. Barbie played a huge role in accommodating an open and creative space for me as a child. A place for me to express myself absolutely freely. It’s a way for children of any age, gender and background to simply have fun and exercise their imagination. If you think about it, the worlds we can create with our Barbie are extremely significant to our development as children.

For some little girls, Barbie may have been the very guide that led them into a career that now seems rather familiar and similar to the one imagined with their barbie; for me, it was playing dress-up, going to fashion shows and conceptualizing fashion shoots.

The Barbie Extra Line is Totally Over-the-Top but Sending the Right Message

Mattel’s new Barbie Extra dolls are playful, colourful, and unique with the aim to encourage your child’s self-expression.

Encouraging kids to embrace their differences and uniqueness is important and Mattel aims to do just that with its latest line of Barbie dolls bringing new meaning to the phrase "You're so extra."

WATCH: Barbie Extra Music Video

The Barbie Extra line features eye-catching dolls with their own distinct playful look and posable, articulated bodies. There's one doll rocking Afro puffs and braids with a rainbow fur coat; a curvy one with two-tone pink and purple hair; another curvy doll with bright blue hair in a top knot; one with trendy sunglasses and rainbow braided hair; and a blonde doll with pink streaks and a fluffy pink jacket.

And that’s not all—each doll comes with adorable pets to boot. Think a pet Rottweiler in a pink car, twin kittens wearing tiaras, and even a pet pig with a unicorn flower crown headband. How "extra" is that? "The dolls are fun and playful, letting kids dial up their self-expression and fashion fantasy play by showing them you can be a trendsetter at every age," Kim Culmone, Mattel’s senior vice president and global head of Design Barbie & Fashion Dolls

What inspired these eccentric dolls and their "more is more attitude?" The company drew inspiration from street style, fashion runways, media, and culture. “Our design team is tuned-in and continuously looking at the latest fashion, beauty, and cultural trends for new Barbie looks," says Culmone. "And, as ‘extra’ has become a part of girls’ vernacular, our team was inspired to create a new line of playful and over-the-top dolls that encourage maximum self-expression."

Barbie’s embrace of diversity and being more inclusive of people of all shapes, sizes, colours, and abilities has been an ongoing campaign. In 2019, more than half of all the company’s dolls were diverse—and it’s no secret customers are loving it. Seven of the top 10 bestselling dolls from the Fashionistas line last year were diverse, including one that uses a wheelchair, while the top selling doll nearly every week was a curvy Black doll with an Afro hairstyle, according to Mattel.

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