Ahead of her 50th birthday, the “Orange Is The New Black” actress was turned into a Barbie doll to acknowledge her advocacy for the LGBTQI community and her work as an actor and producer.
Barbie’s Mattel, which has released dolls in honor of other inspiring women such as Zendaya, Lucille Ball, Queen Elizabeth, and Ashley Graham, included the actress in its Tribute Collection.
This also marked the release of the first transgender Barbie doll.
Read on for more information on the honor and the stars reaction.
‘I Feel Very Honored’
The actress, who turns fifty in a few days, told People that this was a “surreal” moment, as she couldn’t believe it.
“I can’t believe it. I love her outfit,” Cox says, adding a laugh. “What excites me most about her being out in the world is that trans young people can see her and maybe get to purchase her and play with her, and know that there’s a Barbie made by Mattel, for the first time, in the likeness of a trans person.”
She also mentioned that she was “actively involved” in the production of the doll, which donned a red gown with a tulle skirt and a shiny bodysuit.
“I wanted her to wear multiple outfits, but that wasn’t cost-effective,” Cox explained. “So I was like, ‘What if she had one outfit that could peel off and become multiple outfits?'” It was also essential to Cox that her doll was in her exact likeness. “I was like, ‘Can we make her look more like me? And more African-American?'”
She also recalled the feedback she gave the team regarding the lightning of the doll. “And we had a conversation about highlights and lowlights because I’m blonde most of the time now, but I’m a Black girl, so I need a dark root. And we had a whole conversation about how they can’t do that, but they could do dark lowlights.”
According to the statement shared by Barbie and Dolls at Mattel, the company made a doll in her honor because of the exceptional work she has done as an actress, producer, and as LGBTQI advocate.
“As a four-time Emmy nominated actress, Emmy winning producer, and the first transgender woman of color to have a leading role on a scripted TV show, Laverne Cox embodies the values of the Tribute Collection,” the company wrote in a press release. “We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and to recognize Laverne’s significant impact on culture.”
It Is A ‘Full Circle’ Moment For Laverne Cox
In the same interview, she reflected on her childhood and explained how everything had come full circle. As a child, Cox couldn’t play with Barbies because she was assigned “male” at birth. Now, at the recommendation of her therapist, she buys dolls for herself and her mother.
“I begged my mother for a Barbie doll and she said no because I was assigned male at birth,” Cox admitted. “And when I was in my 30s, I was in therapy and telling my therapist that I was denied the opportunity to play with Barbie dolls. And my therapist said, ‘It’s never too late to have a happy childhood, and what you should do for your inner child is go out and buy yourself a Barbie doll.’ “
She added that when she unboxed the first Barbie doll from her mom, she bawled her eyes out as it was an emotional moment.
“I’m just so grateful that I’ve been in on this process. It’s a process of reclaiming my inner child, healing her, and giving her what she didn’t have the first go-round—giving those things to her now. And Barbie is a very substantial part of that. So to be turning 50 years old and be transgender and have a Barbie in my life feels like a full-circle kind of healing moment.”
The Barbie Doll Is More Than A Toy To Cox
In light of the political unrest concerning trans rights, the actress admitted that the doll meant more than a doll to her. If anything, it was a form of representation.
“I think in an environment where trans children have been used as a political football, that in this environment where trans kids are being attacked, that this can also be a celebration of transness, and also a space for them to dream, understand and be reminded that trans is beautiful, that there’s hope and possibility for them to be themselves.”
Barbie Will Also Make A Donation To A Trans Organization In Her Honor
In addition to making a Barbie doll in her honor, Barbie and Dolls will be donating to a Trans organization, “TransFamilySOS.”
This nonprofit organization is on a mission to create a gender accepting and affirming community.
They also help “transgender and gender nonconforming peoples across the nation find safe spaces, health insurance, free peer-to-peer support groups across various age groups and free Family Engagement Sessions to ensure a supportive and affirming home life.”
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