EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Katherine Johnson’s legacy was immortalized on screen in ‘Hidden Figures,’ and now millions of young girls will get to take home a likeness of the mathematician in the form of one of the world’s most iconic toys.
Toy titan Mattel announced Tuesday that Johnson will be one of 17 historical and modern-day female role models to be made into a Barbie to celebrate International Women’s Day, which falls on Thursday, March 8 this year. She will be one of three women honored in the brand’s ‘Inspiring Women’ doll line series.
“As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see,” said Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Barbie. “Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie, and we are thrilled to shine a light on real-life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”
The women who will be honored in doll form come from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
Barbie’s ‘Shero’ doll line “honors women who have broken boundaries in their fields and have been an inspiration to the next generation of girls.” The 14 newest additions to this line are:
- Patty Jenkins, Filmmaker, USA – The first woman in history to helm a film with a budget in excess of 100 million dollars for WONDER WOMAN, which broke the record for Biggest Grossing Live-Action Film Directed by a Woman – domestic and worldwide
- Chloe Kim, Snowboarding Champion, USA – A first generation Asian-American snowboarding champion and the youngest woman to win a gold medal in snowboarding at the 2018 winter games at age 17
- Bindi Irwin, Conservationist, Australia – International award-winning wildlife conservationist and celebrity who inherited her father’s passion for wildlife and is dedicated to inspiring the next generation to make a difference in the world
- Nicola Adams, Boxing Champion, UK – Two-time gold medalist who is Great Britain’s most successful female boxer of all time and is the only female boxer in the history of the sport to have held all four amateur titles
- Çağla Kubat, Windsurfer, Turkey – Champion windsurfer and member of the Fenerbahçe sailing and windsurfing team who founded her own windsurfing school for young surfers
- Hélène Darroze, World-Renowned Chef, France – Inspirational fourth-generation French chef with three restaurants and two Michelin stars
- Hui Ruoqi, Volleyball Champion, China – Fifteenth Captain of the Chinese women’s national volleyball team who also won gold in the 2016 summer games
- Leyla Piedayesh, Designer and Entrepreneur, Germany – Iranian immigrant and founder of fashion label lala Berlin that incorporates urban-cool and elegant-chic elements in its high-quality knitwear
- Lorena Ochoa, Professional Golfer, Mexico – Athlete, mother, entrepreneur and unbreakable promoter of golf in Mexico
- Martyna Wojciechowska, Journalist, Poland – TV presenter, magazine editor, author, director and the second Polish woman to conquer the Seven Summits
- Sara Gama, Soccer Player, Italy – Captain of Juventus and Italian national soccer team, member of the Federal Board and President of Commission for the development of women’s soccer
- Xiaotong Guan, Actress and Philanthropist, China – Ambassador for “World Life Day,” a joint campaign by the United Nations Environment Program, International Fund for Animal Welfare and The Nature Conservancy, and known as the “Nation’s Daughter” in China
- Yuan Tan, Prima Ballerina, China – Prima ballerina and principal dancer at the San Francisco Ballet and guest principal dancer at the Hong Kong Ballet
- Vicky Martin Berrocal, Entrepreneur and Fashion Designer, Spain – Leads the creative direction of Victoriacompany with collections that include festive costumes, flamenco dresses, gowns, handbags and jewelry
The ‘Inspiring Women’ doll line includes historical dolls that come with educational information about the contributions each woman made to society and their respective fields. The three honorees to be immortalized in this line are:
- Amelia Earhart – First female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, courageously challenging the conventions of the times by breaking and setting aviation records
- Frida Kahlo – Artist who gained recognition for her unique style and perspective, and became a celebrated artist, activist and symbol of strength
- Katherine Johnson – Pioneer in mathematics who broke through barriers of race and gender, and joined a pool of women hired by NASA to work as ‘human computers’ to calculate the trajectory of the first American-manned flight into space
At 99 years old, Johnson is the only living historical honoree.
Johnson was portrayed by actress Taraji P. Henson in the 2016 film, which was based on the New York Times bestseller Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Hampton native Margot Lee Shetterly. In August 2017, NASA Langley, her former employee, named a building in her honor.
Only the ‘Inspiring Women’ dolls are available for purchase. If you’d like to purchase a doll, they are currently available for pre-order here.