Zendaya Barbie Dolls Are Going To Make The World A Fiercer Place

It’s hard to be a role model when you’re still growing up, but 18-year-old Zendaya Coleman has proved that she’s up to the challenge. Even though Disney channel stars are normally looked down upon, Zendaya inspires love from teenagers, twenty-somethings, and a certain high-powered career woman named Barbie.

Barbie is the woman we’re all supposed to look up to as young girls. She’s beautiful, she’s fashionable, and she can have any career she sets her mind to. However, more often than not, Barbie symbolizes the unreal expectations placed on females, while simultaneously promoting white-washed beauty standards. To say that Zendaya is an unlikely pairing with the 56-year-old brand is an understatement.

But then again, there’s been a whole lot of change going on in Barbieland recently. As of this June, Mattel released its “Fashionistas” line to celebrate diverse looks, debuting 23 new dolls with 8 skin tones, 14 builds, 18 eye colors and 23 hair colors.  Obviously, their decision to reach out to Zendaya was strategic, but just think of all the good that could come of it.

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“When I was little, I didn’t have one that looked like me, so I couldn’t connect with her in that way,” said Zendaya in an interview with Yahoo. “But getting to visit the Mattel offices and see Barbie’s vision for the future…I was able to see how they plan to diversify, broadening the horizons and the image of Barbie, and make it more, you know, open. I left the office feeling it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”

Mattell will commemorate Zendaya with a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll celebrating her “iconic Vivienne Westwood look from the 2015 Oscars Red Carpet,” as well as her iconic response to Giuliana Rancic’s racist remarks that her faux dreadlocks probably smelled like “patchouli oil and weed.”  The incident transformed Zendaya from a Disney Channel star into an icon, and so it’s only fitting that Disney should choose this moment to immortalize.

Finally, after fifty-six years, Mattel is giving us a Barbie we can actually look up to.

Check out our cover story with Zendaya here.

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