Naomi Osaka has officially transcended the tennis court and is making her way into the homes of children around the world as Mattel announces that the athlete is the latest to join the Barbie family.
The world-renowned player who represents Japan first worked with the brand back in 2019 when her likeness appeared on a limited edition doll as part of Barbie's Shero collection. On Monday, Barbie announced that Osaka will get her very own Role Models Doll. Osaka celebrated the news with a post to Twitter.
"I hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything," she wrote alongside photos of her doll. The athlete even mentioned the inspiration behind her doll's look. "Fun fact : (the doll is wearing my outfit from the 2020 Australian Open lol)."
A press release from Barbie details how designers replicated the exact ensemble that Osaka wore during her match, from the Nike dress to her Yonex tennis racket. The brand also noted that the doll was made on the Made to Move body, allowing it to move and be posed in various positions.
"Obviously Naomi’s athletic skill is unmatched, that's a fact," designer Carlyle Nuera said in a statement. "But what I personally admire the most about Naomi Osaka is how she uses her platform, the spotlight on her and her voice, to raise awareness about social justice."
While the brand copied Osaka's look from the Australian Open, the tennis player used her outfits to display her activism during the 2020 U.S. Open by wearing face masks that highlighted the names of Black victims of police brutality. Even more recently, she used her platform to speak up about mental health after withdrawing from the French Open.
"I communicated that I wanted to skip press conferences at Roland Garros to exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health. I stand by that," she wrote in a piece for TIME. "Athletes are humans. Tennis is our privileged profession, and of course there are commitments off the court that coincide. But I can’t imagine another profession where a consistent attendance record (I have missed one press conference in my seven years on tour) would be so harshly scrutinized."
Many have rallied in support of Osaka and have celebrated her willingness to discuss the importance of mental health in athletes. She was even awarded Best Athlete in women's sports at Saturday night's ESPYS — adding just another reason why her selection as one of Barbie's Role Models makes sense.
"We are incredibly honored to spotlight Naomi Osaka as part of our Barbie Role Model series," Lisa McKnight, SVP and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, told Girls United. "She has paved the way for future generations of girls to dream bigger, and through her unwavering courage and honesty, shown the world the importance of being your own biggest champion. Naomi continues to break boundaries on and off the court and is a powerful role model to fans everywhere."
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