Ibtihaj Muhammad

U.S. Olympian ‘Shero’ Inspires First Hijab-Wearing Barbie Doll

Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first athlete to compete while wearing a hijab in the 2016 Olympics.

by Zahara Hill, November 13, 2017

Comments
Ibtihaj Muhammad

Ibtihaj Muhammad/Twitter

Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first athlete to compete while wearing a hijab in the 2016 Olympics.

Her momentous trajectory has recently attracted the attention of Mattel Barbie. At Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit on Monday, Muhammad announced Barbie was inducting the athlete into their “Sheroes” line of herstory making women. The doll will represent the company’s first hijab-wearing Barbie.

She spoke to HuffPost about the flattering news the day of the announcement.

“I can’t believe this is happening honestly,” Muhammad told the publication. “It’s a pinch me moment.”

The honor marks a bittersweet year for the athlete. In February, she revealed she’d been detained at a U.S. airport for hours without an explanation. The incident occurred around the same time Trump’s travel ban — which targeted Muslims — was implemented.

The discrimination she faced only further evidences why the representation that will be seen in Muhammad’s addition to the “shero” line is so crucial.

“My mom made efforts when I was a kid to bring dolls into the house that were only dolls of color,” Muhammad continued. “So I only had brown Barbie dolls growing up and I think that was an effort made by my parents to see us reflected in the dolls we played with. It’s revolutionary to make all kids ― no matter your skin color, your gender, your ethnicity, your religious beliefs ― feel included.”

Other “Sheroes” barbies have been modeled after filmmaker Ava DuVernay, Olympian Gabby Douglas and ballerina Misty Copeland.

“It’s a very humbling experience to even be in the same sentence with these women,” she said. “I feel very proud and good about working with a brand that honors not just powerful women and women of color, but also a brand that honors women who are working to impact the global community, not just today but also in the future.”

Muhammad’s doll will be available beginning in 2018.

More great reads

 
Stay in the Know
Sign up for the Ebony Newsletter