Shonda Rhimes and other female business owners feature in new Barbie collection

Mattel's latest line-up shines a light on female entrepreneurs and role models

Toy company Mattel has unveiled its Barbie 2022 Global Role Models. Reuters
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Producer and writer Shonda Rhimes is one of 12 female business founders being celebrated in a new line of Barbie dolls.

Launched ahead of International Women’s Day, Barbie’s latest line-up is designed to support entrepreneurs and shine a light on female role models. British make-up artist Pat McGrath, French blogger Lena Mahfouf, Italian chef and blogger Sonia Peronaci, and German digital entrepreneur Tijen Onaran have also had dolls modelled in their likeness.

Rhimes, whose Shondaland media company is behind the Netflix series Bridgerton and Inventing Anna, shared a picture of her doll on Instagram. "I have my own Barbie! Proud to be among the 12 amazing women, all of which are breaking barriers in their respective careers," Rhimes wrote in the caption.

Mahfouf, who is of Algerian descent, stressed the importance of having Barbie dolls that represent the whole gamut of womanhood. "It’s a huge honour and it’s something quite unbelievable because when I was younger we used to only have ... a few models of Barbie and they all looked kind of the same — blonde, tall with straight hair — and I didn’t feel represented by that," Mahfouf said. "So now to have my own Barbie with some curly hair and a bit darker skin, I’m happy to see that.”

In 2018, Barbie established the Barbie Dream Gap Project, a multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential. Since its launch, the initiative has committed over $1 million to non-profit partners on a mission to achieve equality by fuelling education, leadership skills and mentorship opportunities for girls.

“We know that children are inspired by what they see around them, which is why it’s so important for young girls to see themselves reflected in role models who’ve daringly pushed past roadblocks and overcome the Dream Gap to become the brave women they are today,” said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel.

“This International Women’s Day, we’re proud to honour 12 global trailblazing women to help empower the next generation of female leaders by sharing their stories.”

Updated: March 05, 2022, 7:14 AM