Academy Award-nominated Selma director Ava DuVernay got a Barbie made after her likeness!
The African-American director is not just making waves in the field of filmmaking, but also serving as a mouthpiece for women and people of color. This is why DuVernay was among the few chosen women who were honored with their own Barbies for Mattel’s “Sheroes” collection.
In April, Barbie creator Mattel announced the creation of Barbies that portray exceptional female talents such as Lucky magazine director Eva Chen, actress Emma Rossum, five-year-old J. Crew fashion designer “Mayhem” Keiser, singer Trisha Yearwood, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, and Ava DuVernay. However, none of the dolls were made available for sale at the time.
— Barbie (@Barbie) April 28, 2015
Each doll was created as part of a one-of-a-kind collection which was meant to be auctioned off by their respective celebrities for the benefit of the charities they support.
The Ava DuVernay doll was unveiled in spring at the Variety Power of Women Luncheon. “Mattel was going to give me one copy and I was going to give it to my mom, and then (an image of the doll) hit Twitter. Twitter did its magic, and it went to another level!” DuVernay said.
Due to public demand, Mattel opened up the DuVernay doll for sale on its website. The limited-edition doll features DuVernay’s long, black dreadlocks, complete with her black turtleneck shirt, pants, sneakers, and accessories. Most importantly, the special Barbie comes with a director’s chair – a symbol of her illustrious career as a director.
— Barbie (@Barbie) December 7, 2015
“It’s my favorite part!” DuVernay said right after launching the limited edition doll for purchase online. She said she could not afford a director’s chair when she was starting out in independent cinema and did not own one until Selma.
The $65 doll sold out in less than 20 minutes after its release on Monday. As such, the dolls were also made available for sale on Amazon on Monday afternoon.
Several fans who were not able to grab a DuVernay Barbie in time took to social media to express their disappointment over how quickly the doll sold out while the director, herself, could not hide her surprise upon learning her Barbie sold out: “What the hell is going on? #bananas #nuts #whoa.”
— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) December 7, 2015
The proceeds of the Ava DuVernay Barbie will go to the director’s chosen charities: Colors of Change and Witness. These organizations raise awareness on human rights issues faced by the members of the black community.
DuVernay expressed her satisfaction with the results of the endeavor. “It’s a fun way to support good organizations — and to direct your scenes!” Hers is only one of a few dolls in the market that feature unique characteristics which reflect her roots and the culture she was raised in. Moreover, aside from her physical beauty, the doll also gives importance to Barbie’s career.
“It’s pretty fantastic — particularly at this moment where the dearth of women filmmakers getting opportunity and access to make what they want is such a conversation, that I’m thrilled this particular profession is being amplified,” Ava DuVernay reportedly told BuzzFeed.
Karen Byrd of Natural Girls United observed that it is important for young girls to find dolls that look like them. She stated during an interview with Lenny: “It is something that affects their self-esteem, confidence, and how they view themselves.”
Meena Harris interviews Karen Byrd, the woman reimagining black Barbie, for Lenny Letter No. 10. https://t.co/QR10hXGAcn
— Lenny (@lennyletter) December 2, 2015
Barbie has certainly changed through time, continuously changing to fit contemporary American society. She is no longer just the beautiful blonde girl every young girl used to know. Mattel has worked hard to create an image which every girl can relate to. A career-oriented Barbie in the likeness of Ava DuVernay is something that can be seen as a sign that society’s standards of beauty is also changing for the better.
[Image via The Barbie Collection; Michael Kovac, Getty Images]