Barbie with Down syndrome: new 2023 doll release date, Smyths pre order details, who is model Ellie Goldstein?

Model Ellie Goldstein posing with Barbie’s first Down’s syndrome doll (Photo: Mattel)Model Ellie Goldstein posing with Barbie’s first Down’s syndrome doll (Photo: Mattel)
Model Ellie Goldstein posing with Barbie’s first Down’s syndrome doll (Photo: Mattel) | PA
The Barbie Fashionistas line is designed to promote inclusivity and the uniqueness of individuals

The first Down's syndrome doll from Barbie manufacturer Mattel has been released.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in the US was consulted during the creation of the new Barbie, which is available for pre-order in the UK.

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Down’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that occurs when an individual has an extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the development of the brain and body, leading to physical and cognitive differences.

Here is everything you need to know about the new doll.

How was the doll created?

Medical professionals were consulted to decide on the characteristics of the new doll, which has a shorter frame, longer torso and a new head sculpted with shorter ears and a rounder face. The doll also includes a single line on its palms, a characteristic often associated with people with Down’s syndrome.

One of the most well-known Down's syndrome models in the UK, Ellie Goldstein, has participated in a promotional campaign to launch the new doll. The 21-year-old, who has been featured as one of British Vogue’s cover stars for the magazine’s May edition, said: “I am so happy that there is a Barbie with Down’s syndrome.

“Seeing the doll, I felt so overwhelmed – it meant a lot to me and I’m so honoured and proud that Barbie chose me to show the doll to the world. Diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.”

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Down’s syndrome is a relatively common genetic disorder, affecting approximately 1 in 700 babies born in the United States. The condition is not related to race, nationality or socioeconomic status, and can occur in any family.

Goldstein gained international attention for being the first model with Down’s syndrome to star in a campaign for a major beauty brand when she was cast by Gucci Beauty to model for its “Unconventional Beauty” campaign in 2020, which aimed to challenge conventional beauty standards and promote inclusivity.

She has been modeling since she was 15-years-old, and her success as a model has helped to increase visibility and representation for individuals with disabilities in the fashion industry, and has been widely celebrated as a step towards greater inclusivity and diversity in the industry.

Why is the doll important?

Carol Boys, chief executive of the UK Down’s Syndrome Association, said: “The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) are pleased to see that Barbie is introducing a doll who has Down’s syndrome into their range. As the only charity in the UK supporting all aspects of Down’s syndrome, we often hear from families who feel their children are not represented enough in the mainstream media.

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“We therefore welcome the fact that children in our community will be able to play with a doll that represents them and their lives. We look forward to seeing her on the shelves alongside Barbies who wear hearing aids, use wheelchairs and celebrate inclusion.”

The Barbie Fashionistas line, which began in 2009, has seen more than 175 looks with different skin tones, hair textures, body sizes, and dolls with different disabilities. The line was created to reflect the diversity of the modern world, and was designed to promote inclusivity and to celebrate the uniqueness of individuals.

Each doll has a unique combination of features and comes with its own fashion accessories, allowing children to explore and express their own sense of style and creativity.

Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie dolls at Mattel, said: “As the most diverse doll line on the market, Barbie plays an important role in a child’s early experiences and we are dedicated to doing our part to counter social stigma through play.”

How can I buy the new doll?

The doll is available to pre-order from Smyths with an RRP of £13.99.

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