Laverne Cox honoured as first-ever trans Barbie doll: ‘It’s been a dream’

Laverne Cox holds the new Barbie doll created in her likeness (Mattel)
Laverne Cox holds the new Barbie doll created in her likeness (Mattel)

Laverne Cox has made history after iconic toymaker Barbie created a doll in her likeness, making it the first doll ever to be modelled after a trans woman.

The Orange Is The New Black actor said it was “surreal” to be honoured by Mattel for her impact as a campaigner for LGBT+ rights.

Cox, who will celebrate her 50th birthday on Sunday 29 May, told Peoplethat the most exciting thing about the new Barbie doll is that “trans young people can see her and maybe get to purchase her and play with her, and know that there’s a Barbie made by Mattel, for the first time, in the likeness of a trans person”.

The four-time Emmy nominated actor, who has also won an Emmy as a producer for her documentary Laverne Cox Presents: The T Word, added that the doll represents much more than just a toy.

She pointed towards recent anti-trans legislation that have come into place in state legislatures this year, as well as her home state of Alabama denying trans people access to “gender-affirming healthcare” alongside Arkansas and other states.

“That in this environment where trans kids are being attacked, that this [Barbie] can also be a celebrations of transness, and also a space for them to dream, understand and be reminded that trans is beautiful,” Cox said.

“That there’s hope and possibility for them to be themselves.”

The doll, which is now part of the Barbie Tribute Collection that celebrates visionaries and trailblazers, wears a deep red tulle gown over a sparkling silver catsuit that can be worn separately, complete with heeled boots, silver earrings, and blonde hair “swept into Hollywood waves”.


Barbie will also make a donation in Cox’s name to the non-profit TransFamilySOS, which helps trans and gender-nonconforming people find safe spaces, health insurance, and support groups.

The toymaker said the donation is being made to celebrate the actor’s 50th birthday.

Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to celebrate award-winning actress, producer, writer and LGBT+ rights trailblazer Laverne Cox with a doll.

“We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and to recognize Laverne’s significant impact on culture with a Tribute Collection Barbie.”

Cox added: “It’s been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll.

“I can’t wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modelled after a transgender person to their collection.

“I hope that people can look at this Barbie and dream big like I have in my career.  The space of dreaming and manifesting is such a powerful source and leads you to achieve more than what you originally thought was possible.”