Barbie finally sees more shades with Sir John
Blonde, white, and blue is out. Barbie is here for diversity, and so are we.
Most girls from the 90s and any time before that remember growing up with exclusively blonde Barbies.
Mattel, the maker of the iconic dolls have responded periodically throughout its history to demands for more diversity in its line of Barbies. 1967 saw the first iteration of an African-American Barbie in the model of the white one. It was the 1980s that brought truly first unique Hispanic and Black Barbies.
In 2007, following further diversity complaints, the company also released a Cinco de Mayo Barbie decked out in a red, white and green ruffled dress in honor of the Mexican flag.
In 2020, a year full of racial reckonings both big and small, Mattel is once again diversifying its Barbie doll to get with the times.
It’s also happening with a bit of help.
The partnership this time around is between Mattel and renowned make-up artist, Sir John. Aside from his activism around getting more women of color in make-up and fashion, he’s also worked with major names in the industry like Naomi Campbell, Karlie Kloss, Joan Smalls, and most recently, Beyonce.
Sir John is the master behind the make-up that can easily be done at home if so inspired by the new Barbie dolls.
In a post on Instagram, Sir John wrote an ode to the iconic doll and the power of its image in popular culture.
“Barbie is the ultimate muse. Her evolution and range of representation is so inspiring to me. With this editorial, we’re able to showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and celebrate the uniqueness of individuals,” he wrote.
Throughout the years, as humans went from dolls to Iphones, Barbie has also expanded not only in shades of skin color, but also with hair and body shape.
To take inclusivity one step further, Mattel has also unveiled Barbies who had skin conditions, were in wheelchairs, had shaved heads, or even prosthetic legs.
Sir John told Allure that the process in creating these new dolls has been fun. In regards to his and the world’s continued fight for Black beauty, he stressed keeping the pressure on those in power.
“As long as we continue to make our voices loud and [continue to] take up space, I think we'll be in a good place. We're owning our own beauty, owning our own narrative,” he said.