By Devon POV Mason | Shadow League Reporter
Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka now has her own Barbie doll line.
The 23-year-old, the No. 2-ranked tennis player in the world, who used her position and platform to call attention to issues of police violence and racial inequality, became a part of Mattel Inc’s push to make the iconic toy line more diverse, with dolls based on different role models and professions.
“It’s such an honor to be a part of the Barbie Doll Role Model series, and to remind young girls that they can make a difference in the world. I want young girls everywhere to feel empowered to dream big.” Osaka, who grew up idolizing 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams said in a statement provided by Mattel.
Mattel’s collabo with Japan’s Osaka is the latest example of brands becoming more comfortable with taking a stand on social issues and banking on partnerships with female athletes to pull in new customers.
In April, Athleta Brand a subsidiary of Gap Inc, signed four-time Olympic gymnastics champion Simone Biles to a new apparel partnership, with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Mattel also has barbie dolls modeled like U.S. soccer player Alex Morgan and Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
“Barbie is committed to celebrating real-life role models…. remarkable women who are breaking boundaries and inspiring the next generation,” Mattel said in a statement, announcing the Osaka doll is sporting a Nike tennis outfit and a racket.
Osaka, did not compete in this year’s Wimbledon championships, for personal reasons, following her withdrawal from the French Open for a mental health break.
She will be competing for her native Japan in the upcoming Olympics later this month in Tokyo.
In her first appearance this past weekend since taking her mental health break, the Uber talented Osaka gave a brief speech at the ESPYs where she received the Best Female Athlete Award and for the first time she was also named Best Athlete in Women’s Tennis as well.