Famed NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, portrayed in the film “Hidden Figures” by Taraji P. Henson, joins 16 other women in getting the Barbie doll treatment to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Mattel has announced the release of 17 new Barbie dolls — including 14 one-of-a-kind dolls that are styled after modern-day role models for its “Shero” program (a mashup of “she” and “hero”), plus a new line called “Inspiring Women” that pays tribute to historical role models.
Johnson, the 99-year-old African-American math genius whose work at NASA was dramatized in “Hidden Figures,” is included in the Inspiring Women line of dolls, which will retail for $29.99 each online and in stores.
Mattel says Katherine Johnson’s Barbie “celebrates the achievements of a pioneer who broke through barriers of race and gender.”
BTW, Lego had included Johnson in a set of five proposed minifigures honoring women scientists and explorers associated with NASA. But the final set, released by Lego late last year, didn’t include her. It was eventually revealed that Lego couldn’t get the required approval from Johnson and her family.
The dolls in Barbie’s latest “Shero” line will not be available to the public. Although some past Shero dolls, such as those inspired by Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and ballet dancer Misty Copeland, have eventually gone into wider production.
Below are the 14 women in the new “Shero” line.
• Patty Jenkins, ‘Wonder Woman’ director, USA – The first woman in history to helm a film with a budget in excess of $100 million.
• Chloe Kim, snowboarding champion, USA – First-generation Asian-American snowboarding champion and, at 17, the youngest woman to win a gold medal in snowboarding at the 2018 Olympics.
• Bindi Irwin, conservationist, Australia – Wildlife conservationist and celebrity who inherited her father’s passion for wildlife and is dedicated to inspiring the next generation.
• Nicola Adams, boxing champion, Britain – Two-time gold medalist who is Britain’s most successful female boxer of all time and 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, chef, France – Fourth-generation French chef with three restaurants and two Michelin stars.
• Hui Ruoqi, volleyball champion, China – Captain of the Chinese women’s national volleyball team, who won gold in the 2016 Olympics.
• Leyla Piedayesh, designer and entrepreneur, Germany – Iranian immigrant and founder of fashion label lala Berlin, which incorporates urban-cool and elegant-chic elements in high-quality knitwear.
• Lorena Ochoa, professional golfer, Mexico – Athlete, mother, entrepreneur and 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 the Italian national soccer team.
• Xiaotong Guan, actress and philanthropist, China – Ambassador for “World Life Day,” a joint campaign by the U.N. Environment Program, International Fund for Animal Welfare and The Nature Conservancy, and known as the “Nation’s Daughter” in China.
• Yuan Tan, ballet dancer, 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 for the Victoria fashion line with collections that include festive costumes, flamenco dresses, gowns, handbags and jewelry.