Mattel isn’t just a toy company and Barbie isn’t just a pretty doll. It is a movement and now Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is the face of the first hijab-wearing Barbie doll. The The 31-year-old sportswoman first gained recognition at the 2016 Olympics after she became the first female Muslim-American to earn a medal at the games, and the first American woman to don the headscarf at the competition. The daughter of a police detective and a teacher, Muhammad grew up with four siblings in Maplewood and discovered fencing when she was 13 years old, winning medals and accolades until she qualified for the Olympics in 2016. A Duke University graduate, Muhammad has become a role model and an outspoken voice for Muslim women, challenging negative stereotypes and discrimination.
Barbie confirmed the news on Monday, after an unveiling ceremony at Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year summit. “Shero” is a portmanteau of she and hero, is a line of Barbie dolls that refer to positive female role models. Ibtihaj Muhammad joins the lineup of women who have influenced the Shero Barbie dolls such as Zendaya, Ashley Graham, Ava DuVernay. Misty Copeland, and Wonder Woman.