To call 2016 a big year for plus size model Ashley Graham would be an understatement. She won Glamour’s Women of the Year, has appeared on many magazine covers — including the body bible Sports Illustrated — and now, she has her very own Barbie modelled after her. “I never imagined that I would have my own Barbie,” the body image activist told The Hollywood Reporter.
The doll is part of Mattel’s line of “Shero” dolls, which includes female heroes like director Ava DuVernay, actress Zendaya, dancer Misty Copeland and gymnast Gabby Douglas. In January, the brand even went one step further when it extended its mission to be more inclusive with new variations of dolls that come in tall, petite, and curvy versions.
To have her own doll, Ashley had only one request for the toy company: no thigh gap. “She had to have her thighs touch. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. And I asked for cellulite but obviously plastic and cellulite don’t go hand in hand. It was important that the Barbie resembled me as much as possible. The thighs touching was one way to show young girls that it’s OK for your thighs to touch, despite society saying that a ‘thigh gap’ is more beautiful.”
The 29-year-old also said that if she had played with Barbies that looked more like her growing up, she would have felt more accepting of her body. “Would I have looked at my body differently if I were playing with Barbies that looked like me? Would I have accepted my thighs and my round arms and my round stomach a little bit more? Probably.” She continues, “I think it’s absolutely incredible that an iconic image in the fashion world, like Barbie, is keeping up with the times and following along with body diversity in such a big way.”
The doll is adorably and fashionably dressed in an outfit that the model wore, was snapped in and posted on her Instagram account. Comprised of an Opening Ceremony bodycon dress, a Sonia Rykiel cropped jean jacket decorated in patches and spiky Pierre Hardy boots, the doll and model are definite style icons. “Thighs touching, round hips, arms and tummy!! Thank you@Mattel and @Barbie for immortalizing me into plastic! #beautybeyondsize” she captioned.