Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad Honored With Barbie Doll

Wednesday, 15 Nov, 2017

Ibtihaj Muhammad made history in Rio previous year as the first U.S. Olympian to represent her country wearing a hijab, after earlier winning a gold medal in 2014 at the world fencing championships in Russian Federation.

The Barbie, designed in her likeness, has full fencing gear, including mask and sabre, with sneakers on her feet and a hijab around her head.

Muhammad, the first American athlete to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics, had a major role in designing the doll.

Other athletes with their own Barbie dolls include Gold medal-winning gymnast Gabby Douglas, soccer player Abby Wambach and ballerina Misty Copeland, all part of the Shero line of dolls.

"I can't believe this is happening honestly", Muhammad told HuffPost. The fencer said that she, along with her sisters, used to sow Muslim headdresses for their dolls. It also wears a hijab, just like her, making it the first Barbie to ever wear one (Hijarbie isn't by Mattel).

Muhammad's doll is the latest installment to Barbie's commitment to diversity.

Starting out in 1959 as a small-town American girl modelled on her creator Ruth Handler's own daughter, Barbie since been a fashion model, astronaut, police officer, rock star, dentist, aerobics instructor and rapper and much more. "Perfect hijab moment right here, this is wonderful".

Not only does her Barbie represent a whole new population of women, but it opens many more doors of creativity for children when they play with Barbie. "I played with Barbie for a long time, what some people may call an uncomfortably long time", she joked.

On its website, Mattel explains that the new Barbie is "inspiration for countless little girls who never saw themselves represented in sports and culture", The Telegraph reports. "I come from a pretty small sport that a lot of people had the opportunity to learn about last summer at the Olympic games and now to even have fencers in the conversation", she says.