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Naomi Osaka continues to ace the Barbie doll game

Tennis star Naomi Osaka holds the Naomi Osaka model Barbie doll.
(Mattel)

Naomi Osaka is halfway to a Barbie doll Grand Slam.

Osaka, who has won four Grand Slam singles titles but withdrew from the French Open this year to take a mental health break, has had a second Barbie doll designed in her image. The first version, which appeared in 2019, was introduced to celebrate the iconic Mattel doll’s 60th anniversary. The latest Osaka model Barbie is part of the El Segundo-based company’s Role Model Series, and it features a likeness of Osaka dressed in a version of the outfit she wore at the 2020 Australian Open.

The doll is wearing a flared white skirt, colorful tank top and white visor and is carrying a tiny replica of her tennis racket. On the back of the box is a biography of Osaka that notes her social activism and calls her “a powerful athlete and champion for change.” It’s accompanied by a photograph and a quote from her that says, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone because the path that you’re on is yours and yours only.”

The Naomi Osaka Barbie doll holds a tennis ball while in a pose.
(Mattel)

Other female athletes previously honored with their own Barbie likeness include U.S. national soccer team star Alex Morgan, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, skate boarder Sky Brown, Olympic gymnasts Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas, snowboarder Chloe Kim, and British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith. The series also honors female Paralympic athletes and women who have made a mark in fashion, journalism, modeling, space exploration and other professions.

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“We are incredibly honored to spotlight Naomi Osaka as part of our Barbie Role Model series,” Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie dolls for Mattel, said in a statement. “She has paved the way for future generations of girls to dream bigger, and through her unwavering courage and honesty, shown the world the importance of being your own biggest champion. Naomi continues to break boundaries on and off the court and is a powerful role model to fans everywhere.”

Tennis star Naomi Osaka writes in Time magazine about the events that led her to withdraw from the French Open and take a break from the sport.

Osaka didn’t compete at Wimbledon but is expected to compete in the Tokyo Olympic tennis tournament. She was born in Japan but moved to the United States at a young age and now lives in Los Angeles.

“It’s such an honor to be a part of the Barbie Role Model series, and to remind young girls that they can make a difference in the world,” she said in a statement. “I want young girls everywhere to feel empowered to dream big and to know that if they believe in themselves that anything is possible!”


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