Ashley Graham has made quite the name for herself in 2016.
After becoming the first size-16 model to rock the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue, the 28-year-old body-positive advocate also landed a role as a judge on America’s Next Top Model. She’s hit everything from runways to music videos with Joe Jonas, and to top things off, she was just named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year.
A young woman with so many accolades is surely one for other young women to look up to, which is why Ashley is now adding one more accomplishment to this big year’s list: She has her own Barbie doll.
The iconic dolls, which are manufactured by Mattel, Inc., have always been dolls that represent role models. If we’re being honest though, the dolls are generally pretty unrealistic when it comes to empowering girls of all ages.
Being a model and working in the fashion industry, Ashley is a “body activist” who has become well-known and recognizable for her activism toward inclusivity in fashion. So it’s no surprise that her doll, like the model herself, totally OWNS the idea of #beautybeyondsize.
At Glamour’s award event on Monday evening, Ashley was presented with her Mattel doll look-alike, which she helped to create. The Barbie is a member of Mattel’s “Sheroes” series, which is a capsule collection of dolls made in honor of outspoken and inspirational women in the fashion and entertainment industry.
In January, Mattel debuted Barbie dolls with three new body types as well as a range of skin tones and hair variations; something that Ashley believes she would have benefited from as a young girl.
“I never really thought that I didn’t look like her growing up, I just thought she was perfect,” Graham said, adding, “If I had a Barbie that was my size, I would have thought my size was normal. Young girls now get to grow up seeing that their bodies are normal, which I think is so empowering and encouraging to the younger generation.”
Ashley, who is known for proudly rocking her curvy figure and reminding us all that #thickthighssavelives, said it was important that the Barbie resembled her as much as possible.
“I was like, ‘Guys, we can make this Barbie, but if her thighs don’t touch, she’s not authentic,’” the model explained. “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.”
In addition to the model’s adamant thick-thigh request, the doll has a round belly, round hips, and in Ashley’s words, “She got round everything, yes!”