Laverne Cox Inspires Mattel’s First-Ever Trans Barbie Doll

The 50-year-old actress is being celebrated with a Tribute Collection Barbie

Laverne Cox is living her dreams. The Emmy-nominated actress became the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in an acting category for her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black. On top of that, she also became the first transgender person to appear on the cover of Time magazine. And now, the first transgender Barbie doll designed after her has been revealed.

The actress and producer has been hailed by her LGBTQ+ peers for being a trailblazer for the transgender community. Having won numerous awards for her activism, her prominence in the media has led to a growing conversation about transgender culture, specifically trans womanhood and how it intersects with one’s race. 

In honor of her 50th birthday, American toy company Mattel has created a Barbie doll in her likeness as part of its Tribute Collection. The company often models dolls after real-life people, but this is the first trans Barbie that has ever been made. Barbie said the doll is part of its commitment to continue to increase diversity and celebrates the impact she has had as an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.

Barbie and Laverne worked together closely to make sure the doll reflected her style and appearance. Barbie researched her red carpet looks to recreate her iconic makeup and hairstyle. Laverne also shared images from her favorite pieces in her wardrobe and told Barbie her favorite color was deep oxblood red. Every inch of the doll was approved by Laverne including gown sketches, skin tone samples, and body sculpts. 

“It's been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll,” said Laverne. “I can't wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection. I hope people can look at this Barbie and dream big as I have in my career. The space of dreaming and manifesting is such a powerful source and leads you to achieve more than what you originally thought was possible.”

Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls, is proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and recognize Laverne's significant impact on culture with a Tribute Collection Barbie.