Laverne Cox received a very special birthday gift this year in the form of her very own Barbie.
Mattel this week unveiled a new doll in Cox’s likeness as part of its Tribute Collection series. The company has created Barbies modeled after real-life people in the past, including ballet dancer Misty Copeland, director Ava DuVernay and astronaut Sally Ride.
Cox, however, is the first transgender person to have a Barbie designed after her.
In a statement, Mattel’s Lisa McKnight said the company was “proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age” with the doll, which is being sold for $40 and is available at Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon.
Cox happily posed with the doll at her 50th birthday party in New York Thursday. The actor, author and LGBTQ rights advocate attended the fête in a red gown with a floor-length tulle skirt, identical to the one worn by her toy counterpart.
In an interview with “Today” that aired this week, Cox said she was hopeful her Barbie would be especially impactful given America’s political climate, which includes a startling pushback against transgender rights in many conservative states.
“I hope all the kids who are feeling stigmatized when their healthcare is being jeopardized, or their ability in play in sports … I hope they can see this Barbie and have a sense of hope and possibility,” she said. “If they don’t see themselves in this Barbie, I hope they know that they can create spaces where do they see themselves where they are represented, because representation matters.”
In 2013, Cox became the first transgender person to be nominated for an Emmy for her performance on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” Her acting career is once again in high gear thanks to acclaimed performances in “Promising Young Woman” and Netflix’s “Inventing Anna.”