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Mattel celebrates trans actress Laverne Cox with her very own Barbie doll

The Orange is the New Black actress says she want this to be a "celebration of transness".

2022-05-26

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Jeff Vespa and Mattel

Category is: Legends only! The makers of Barbie, Mattell, are celebrating the trans actress and activist, Laverne Cox, with a special Barbie doll in her likeness.

Cox, who turns 50 this weekend, says she has been involved in the process along every step. The doll is part of Mattel's Tribute Collection. 

Talking to People Magazine Laverne says it feels pretty "surreal" to be joining Barbie's long and very legendary lineup. 

"A celebration of transness"

"I can't believe it. I love her outfit," the Orange is the New Black actress says of the doll's ensembles. One is an oxblood corset and tulle skirt which can be worn over a silver bodysuit with sky-high heeled boots. 

"What excites me most about her being out in the world is that trans young people can see her and maybe get to purchase her and play with her, and know that there's a Barbie made by Mattel, for the first time, in the likeness of a trans person."

The former Attitude cover star goes on to explain the significance of such a doll at a time when LGBTQ freedoms, especially trans people's, are under attack.

"I think in an environment where trans children have been used as a political football, when over 250 pieces of anti-trans legislation have been introduced in state legislatures all over the country in 2022 alone, and access to gender-affirming healthcare has been denied by policies signed into law in my home state of Alabama, in Arkansas and other states...

"That in this environment where trans kids are being attacked, that this can also be a celebration of transness, and also a space for them to dream, understand, and be reminded that trans is beautiful. That there's hope and possibility for them to be themselves," she says.

In true iconic style, Laverne made sure her Barbie doll has a sickening reveal.

"I wanted her to wear multiple outfits, but that wasn't cost effective. You want the doll to be affordable. So I was like, 'What if she had one outfit that could peel off and become multiple outfits?' So that's what we designed and came up with," Cox says.

It's also a powerful moment for Cox, who was denied a barbie as a child due to being assigned male at birth. 

Lisa McKnight, the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel, says of the new doll: "We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and to recognize Laverne's significant impact on culture with a Tribute Collection Barbie."

The Attitude May/June issue is out now.