Naomi Osaka already aced the ESPY Awards on Saturday, winning Best Female Athlete and Best Female Tennis Player. Now, she may well be on track to win Best Barbie, as the tennis phenom has also earned a permanent place in the brand’s Role Model line.
Mattel announced the new doll on Monday; a remix of sorts of the one-of-a-kind doll in Osaka’s likeness issued in celebration of Barbie’s 60th anniversary on 2019. The Glow Up interviewed the then up-and-coming star, who noted at the time:
“I’ve been playing with Barbies since I was a kid...it feels a little bit unreal that I’m able to have this opportunity.
“I realize how important it is to be a role model; especially for younger girls,” she added. “I feel like I had so many role models growing up—it’s something I strive towards, and I think it’s a really good goal for younger kids...I think that’s a really big honor, and I’m grateful that I have that responsibility.”
Of course, in the years since, Osaka has proven herself more than worthy of the adulation, whether advocating for Black lives or for her own mental health. So, it’s only fitting that her doll has now become a part of Barbie’s permanent Role Models collection.
Per a press release provided to The Glow Up:
Barbie is committed to celebrating real-life role models like Naomi Osaka—remarkable women who are breaking boundaries and inspiring the next generation. Every girl imagines that she can be anything, but seeing that she can, and hearing the stories of others, makes all the difference. While 40% of athletes are women, they only receive 7% of broadcast airtime and Naomi has been a champion for change, breaking boundaries for the next generation. Barbie has always encouraged girls to use their voice to stand up for what they believe in, empowering them to meet their potential and be the best version of themselves. Naomi has done this on and off the field.
“Teamed up with Barbie back in 2019 but this time it’s officially official because today I’m introducing the Barbie Role Model Naomi Osaka doll,” Osaka wrote on Instagram. “I really hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything. This is really seeing a dream of mine come to life, having your own Barbie and potentially seeing little kids playing with it. Omg 😭🥰❤️”
More from Mattel:
Barbie worked closely with Naomi and her team to design her doll and selected her outfit based on the Nike tennis outfit she wore at the 2020 Australian Open. She is shown wearing a flared white skirt, a tank top with blue and pink brushstroke print, and matching spandex. The look is complete with a replica of her Yonex tennis racket and tennis shoes, as well as a bright white visor.
“We are incredibly honored to spotlight Naomi Osaka as part of our Barbie Role Model series,” said Lisa McKnight, SVP and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel. “She has paved the way for future generations of girls to dream bigger, and through her unwavering courage and honesty, shown the world the importance of being your own biggest champion. Naomi continues to break boundaries on and off the court and is a powerful role model to fans everywhere.”
And from the icon herself, an updated statement on her latest off-court triumph:
“It’s such an honor to be a part of the Barbie Role Model series, and to remind young girls that they can make a difference in the world,” said Osaka. “I want young girls everywhere to feel empowered to dream big and to know that if they believe in themselves that anything is possible!”