Ibti­haj Muham­mad in­spires first hi­jab-clad bar­bie

Arab News - - COFFEE BREAK -

NEW YORK: The maker of Bar­bie has an­nounced it will sell a doll mod­elled af­ter Ibti­haj Muham­mad, an Amer­i­can fencer who com­peted in last year’s Olympics while wear­ing a hi­jab.

Mat­tel Inc. said the doll will be avail­able on­line next fall. The doll is part of the Bar­bie “Shero” line that hon­ors women who break bound­aries. Past dolls have in­cluded gym­nast Gabby Dou­glas and “Selma” di­rec­tor Ava DuVer­nay.

“I had so many mo­ments as an ath­lete, where I didn’t feel in­cluded, where I was of­ten in spa­ces where there was a lack of rep­re­sen­ta­tion,” Muham­mad said Mon­day night at the Glam­our Women of the Year gala in New York. “So to be in this mo­ment, as a US Olympian, to have Mat­tel, such a global brand, di­ver­sify their toy line to in­clude a Bar­bie doll that wears a hi­jab is very mov­ing to me.”

Muham­mad, the first Amer­i­can to com­pete at the Olympics while wear­ing a hi­jab, won a bronze medal in fenc­ing at the 2016 Rio Games.

“There was so much about the doll that was im­por­tant to me,” she said. “I know as a kid I was bullied for hav­ing larger legs, and sport taught me to em­brace my body and to love my body and the strength that it could pro­duce. I think that hav­ing strong legs helped me win a medal at the Olympic Games, so I wanted my legs to be larger, more ath­letic legs, toned legs. And I am very into eye­liner, so I wanted a strong-winged cat eye. And Mat­tel lis­tened to ev­ery­thing, ev­ery­thing even down to the fab­ric of the hi­jab.”

Hon­orees at Mon­day evening’s cer­e­mony in­cluded ac­tress Nicole Kid­man, singer Solange Knowles, late-night host Saman­tha Bee, Pales­tinian-Amer­i­can model Gigi Ha­did, film di­rec­tor Patty Jenk­ins, and fash­ion de­signer Maria Grazia Chi­uri of Chris­tian Dior. Also hon­ored were Syr­ian refugee and UNICEF am­bas­sador Mu­zoon Almelle­han and Pales­tinian Amer­i­can ac­tivist Linda Sar­sour.

Olympic fencer Ibti­haj Muham­mad holds a Bar­bie doll made in her like­ness as she at­tends the 2017 Glam­our Women of the Year Awards in Brook­lyn, New York. (Reuters)

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