Ibtihaj Muhammad's Barbie is the First to Wear a Hijab

Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie doll

It's safe to say Muhammad has a career tons of girls aspire to: She challenged stereotypes when she became the first Olympian from the U.S.to compete while wearing a hijab, was one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" of 2016, and recently launched the clothing line, Louella. "When I think about my own journey, me being a Muslim girl involved in the sport of fencing, there were people who made me fee like I didn't belong", she said on her visit to the Mattel factory.

With the official Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie and the efforts of the Hello Hijab collective, the iconic and enduring doll has become even more representative of American women.

Muhammad turned serious remembering her childhood experiences playing with Barbie-and how she wished for one that looked like her.

"Wearing the hijab is a reminder to myself, in a society that is not predominantly Muslim, of being aware of your own religion", she said in an interview with the BBC.

Mohammad knows how significant this is, because like many children of color who grew up before Barbie was as diversified as it is today, it was hard to find an array of brown and black dolls.

The bronze medalist, who will receive a doll in her likeness as early as 2018, issued a statement on the importance of the gesture, announced at Glamour's Women of the Year LIVE summit (check out our live coverage by senior writer Cortney Clift!). Sejal Shah Miller, Barbie's vice president of global marketing, said the doll may serve as an inspiration for young women. "She will play a tremendous role in ensuring that girls of the future see themselves represented fully and beautifully in our culture". "By honoring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything".

It is not the first time Mattel, which is now facing financial difficulties, has honored an American Olympian with a doll. "And that's what Mattel wants-they want women who are championing their differences", Graham said.

Now Muhammad, who grew up in Essex County, New Jersey, is making history again as Mattel unveils a new doll inspired by the athlete. And that's something to celebrate.

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