‘Unapologetic’ Barbie poses for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue
At 55 years old, she’s no spring chicken, but come Feb. 18, Barbie will strike a sexy pose for Sports Illustrated’s 50th anniversary swimsuit issue along with famous beauties such as Christie Brinkley, Kathy Ireland, Heidi Klum and Kate Upton.
The appearance will be the Mattel doll’s first in the magazine’s pages. The toy, a perennial bestseller despite a recent slump in sales, first appeared on shelves in 1959 wearing a black-and-white chevron bathing suit.
Barbie’s spread in Sports Illustrated, shot by Walter Iooss Jr., will feature 22 dolls. In some, her impossibly long legs end in heels, her arms placed sassily on her tiny waist.
To mark the debut, Mattel is issuing a collector doll to be sold exclusively on Target.com. Through decades of iterations, Barbie has explored some 150 careers and become a $3-billion brand, according to Mattel.
“This program is about underscoring who you are, being unapologetic about who you are and celebrating that alongside all these great women and legends who are more than just pretty faces,” said Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni.
Mattel reached out to Sports Illustrated roughly eight months ago about a collaboration. The publication reaches some 17 million women.
“While we are first and foremost a brand that talks to girls, Barbie’s an icon,” Chidoni said. “She very much has a place in societal conversation as well -- we’re always talking to multiple audiences.”
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