Mattel releases limited edition Zendaya Barbie doll

September 28, 2015, 2:35 PM UTC
Barbie Rock 'N Royals Concert Experience
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 26: Zendaya attends the Barbie Rock 'N Royals concert experience at Hollywood Palladium on September 26, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Photograph by Jason LaVeris — FilmMagic/Getty Images

Mattel is generating massive buzz on social media for the doll maker’s limited release Zendaya Barbie doll, the latest move by the company to embrace diversity for the iconic toy.

“When I was little, I couldn’t find a Barbie that looked like me, my…how times have changed,” wrote 19-year-old Zendaya in an Instagram post announcing the new doll. The new doll quickly won accolades across social media.

The doll of the singer/actress, a mixed-race woman, comes after Mattel (MAT) earlier this year said the 2015 slate of Barbie dolls “represents the world girls see today.” By the end of the year 78 new Barbies are hitting retail shelves – featuring eight different skin tones and 14 different hairstyles throughout the collection. The diverse line is a sign of changing times, as the traditionally blonde Barbie doll may not resonate with today’s American girls. Diversity among American children is far greater than the population as a whole, with more than half of the nation’s children expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group by around 2020.

Barbie could certainly use some help. Sales are on track to slip for a fourth consecutive year as the Mattel’s efforts to revive the brand have failed to resonate with girls. Barbie’s sales dropped 16% for the first six months of 2015.


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