Ballerina Misty Copeland first made history as the first black principal dancer for American Ballet Theater, and now she has another milestone in her life. The ballet dancer has her own Barbie doll, which she has unveiled today.
The Misty Copeland Barbie Doll is part of the Barbie Sheroes program that honors women heroes, as reported by NPR. The collection is made up of established women that Barbie hopes will inspire the younger generation to never give up on their dreams and never limit their choices in careers.
Copeland is just one of several famous women who have a doll in their likeness. The Barbie Sheroes collection includes a diverse group like Selma director Ava DuVernay; singer Trisha Yearwood; actresses Kristin Chenoweth, Emmy Rossum, and Zendaya; Taiwanese CEO Eva Chen; and child fashionista Sydney “Mayhem” Kaiser.
The doll makers got the inspiration to dress up Copeland’s ballerina doll in her Firebird costume from the ballet of the same name, which was the first major starring role that Misty Copeland performed for ABT back in 2012. The Copeland doll comes with a red bodysuit, a tulle headpiece, and ballet shoes.
Lisa McKnight, the General Manager and Senior Vice President of Barbie, talked about how Copeland was an easy choice when it came to selecting the next accomplished woman to have created as a Barbie Shero doll, according to PR News Wire.
“As a brand, we want to honor women, like Misty, who are inspiring the next generation of girls to live out their dreams. We know role play often leads to real ‘play’ in life and we’re thrilled to celebrate Misty with her very own doll.”
Copeland unveiled her Barbie Shero doll in New York City among the Project Plié dancers. Copeland helps bring attention to Project Plié, a diversity initiative program that helps children of different ethnic and racial backgrounds have a chance to learn ballet and earn a spot within ballet companies.
The Project Plié program has a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club, a group that holds a special place in Misty Copeland’s heart. Copeland first began her dancing lessons on a basketball court of a Boys & Girls Clubs, and she still remains active in the clubs in different cities when she travels.
Copeland will put on her Firebird costume again this year, when ABT’s spring season begins in May at the Metropolitan Opera House. Copeland performs in Firebird on May 18 during a matinee and on May 19 at a nighttime performance.
Copeland has always dreamed of being a principal dancer, specifically for ABT, and it wasn’t unusual for her to use her own Barbies as ballerinas while she grew up. For the next generation of future ballerinas, kids can play with a Copeland Barbie or another Barbie doll that fits outside the standard blonde, blue-eyed Barbie.
Mattel established the Barbie “You Can Do Anything” campaign last year with the statement that any girl can dream of the life she wants and act it out with Barbie. Misty Copeland is part of the Barbie Global Advisory Council to ensure that girls of different ethnic and racial backgrounds can feel that they can break barriers and achieve their goals.
Copeland will also perform in other ballets during ABT’s spring season. She will headline classic shows such as Swan Lake, La Fille mal gardee, Le Corsaire, The Golden Cockerel, and Romeo and Juliet.
Copeland is also writing her third book, Ballerina Body, which she intends on being a health and fitness guide. Copeland’s first book was her memoir titled, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina, and released in 2014. Copeland also released a children’s book the same year, titled Firebird, to help young people of color feel empowered in their lives.
As of May 2, The Misty Copeland Barbie Doll is only available through pre-order at the Barbie Collection website.
[Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images]