In recent years Barbie has been working on diverse representation including launching dolls of Latin icons like Frida Kahlo and Selena. Today, in honor of the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Barbie unveiled Celia Cruz and Julia Alvarez dolls as part of their Role Model collection. The Cuban Queen of Salsa and the prolific Dominican-American author join fellow Latinx role models Haitian-Japanese tennis pro Naomi Osaka, Mexican Karla Wheelock, the first Latina to ascend Mount Everest from its northern slope, and Peruvian activist Mariana Costa Checa. We’re excited to see the growing representation of Latinas in the Role Models collection especially in such diverse fields.
“Both women are role models, who through their legendary careers and bravery in self-expression, continue to inspire generations of young Latinos to proudly tell their stories,” they stated in a press release.
Afro-Cuban icon Celia Cruz recorded over 70 albums with 23 albums certified gold and won more than 100 awards during her career that spanned five decades. She’s recognized for her success that crossed over into the U.S. where she helped introduce salsa and Latin music. Celia was honored with a Hollywood star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 17, 1987 and received the National Medal of Arts from the U.S. government in 1994. So now that she’s recognized with a Barbie, the most iconic of dolls, it feels like a long time coming and yet another accolade la salsera has earned. “As a stage performer, on-screen actor, and recording artist who succeeded in a male-dominated music scene, Celia Cruz is also known as the ‘Latin Triple Threat,’ ” the Barbie Instagram account shared in a post about the doll.
In the literary world, Julia Alvarez is one of the most acclaimed writers whose work centers on assimilation and identity. How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, which focused an acculturation and feeling displaced, and In the Time of the Butterflies, a fictionalized account of the Mirabal sisters, are two of her most acclaimed books. The former is the first novel by a Dominican-American woman to receive national acclaim and success. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts from President Obama in 2013. “She has worked to promote literacy as a tool to overcome generational poverty, and remained an outspoken advocate for peace between the Dominican Republic and Haiti,” Barbie shared on their Instagram account.
Mattel, Barbie’s parent company, previously also released a Frida Kahlo doll and a commemorative Dia de Los Muertos doll, both were extremely popular and quickly sold out. With HHM just starting we anticipate more special releases that will give Latinx girls a chance to see themselves represented in the world’s most famous doll.
Currently the dolls are not available for purchase but we’ll definitely keep you posted if that changes.