Source: Quill and Pad
“I hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything,” wrote the four-time Grand Slam singles champion Naomi Osaka in a tweet on Monday. This statement followed Mattel’s announcement that they are honoring the Japanese professional tennis player with her own Barbie. The doll, which is part of the renowned brand’s Barbie Role Models line, is a nod to Osaka’s influence and the extent to which she has inspired countless children and women worldwide.
Widely heralded as one of the game’s powerhouses, Naomi Osaka has become a household name in recent years. As the first Asian player to hold the No. 1 ranking in singles, the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion stands as living proof that translating one’s dreams into reality is possible for people from all walks of life. Her immortalization through this latest move by Mattel is a recognition not only of her massive serve and fearless determination on the court but also of her philanthropic efforts and advocacies.
It is not the first time that a plastic version of Naomi Osaka is making a buzz. In 2019, she was one of the twenty women Mattel gifted with dolls created in their own likeness. However, 2021 is markedly different as collectors and tennis fans around the world now have the opportunity to get their hands on her Barbie Role Models doll. Many would have to keep their wallets intact for the meantime, though, since the poseable toy sold out in just a few hours after it dropped on Monday.
The miniature version of the Japan representative to the Tokyo Olympic games holds a Yonex tennis racket and sports a Nike tennis dress and a white visor—an outfit that she wore at the 2020 Australian Open. It was designed by Carlyle Nuera, a Filipino-American artist known for his artistic flair and attention to detail. Highly admired for the research he puts into his subjects, he went to great lengths to recreate Osaka’s tournament outfit. In a statement released by Mattel, he said, “Obviously Naomi’s athletic skill is unmatched, that’s a fact. But what I personally admire the most about Naomi Osaka is how she uses her platform, the spotlight on her and her voice, to raise awareness about social justice.”
Available for $29.99 in Mattel’s online shop, Naomi Osaka’s doll body features 22 total points of articulation, which allows for endless posing possibilities. Every purchase also comes with a display stand that will enable fans and collectors to set up action shots for the toy.
The growing popularity of this highly-awarded athlete is bound to shoot through the roof with her upcoming return to the competition. After skipping the Wimbledon championships and withdrawing from the French Open to focus on her mental wellbeing, she is set to make her Olympic debut soon and is currently preparing to dominate the field. At twenty-three years old, Naomi Osaka demonstrates with every swing of her racket that it is not only the Barbie world that is hers for the taking.