Mattel unveiled its first hijab-wearing Barbie doll on Monday, modeled after fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who has broken ground herself as the first U.S. Olympic athlete to compete in the head scarf.
"Perfect hijab moment right here, this is amazing," Muhammad said as she beheld the doll for the first time at the Glamour Women of the Year Summit, her likeness clad in a white fencing uniform and clutching a sword and helmet.
Muhammad said she played with Barbies until she was a teenager, but none of the dolls looked like her, so she resorted to sewing mini hijabs onto them. Now she is hoping the new doll inspires other girls "to embrace what makes them unique."
In an interview with ESPNW, Muhammad, 31, said, "I feel like I've always embraced being 'different' in respect to breaking boundaries, being an African-American Muslim woman in the sport of fencing."
It was more than figurine's hijab that mattered to Muhammad. "Growing up I was always told that my legs were big," the New Jersey native told ESPN. "(I)t was important to me that my doll has an athletic build and toned legs, which I have. Those legs helped me win my medal at the Olympic Games."