Laverne Cox turns 50 on May 29. On Friday, Barbie revealed plans to honour the transgender actor by launching a Tribute Collection Barbie doll based on her. Started in 2021, the Tribute series honours trailblazers from the entertainment and fashion industries. Laverne was selected based on her work as an actor, producer, and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. Read more: Transgender is beautiful, says Laverne Cox to a transgender child
“As a four-time Emmy nominated actress, Emmy winning producer, and the first transgender woman of colour to have a leading role on a scripted TV show, Laverne Cox embodies the values of the Tribute Collection,” Barbie wrote in a press release. “We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and to recognize Laverne’s significant impact on culture,” said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel.
In an interview with People, Laverne said she was ‘very involved’ with the designing of the doll, which featured a sheer ruby gown over worn over a silver bodysuit. “I wanted her to wear multiple outfits, but that wasn’t cost effective… So, I was like, what if she had one outfit that could peel off and become multiple outfits?” Laverne said.
The actor, who became well-known after playing Sophia Burset, a trans woman serving time in jail, in Orange Is the New Black, said she wanted the doll to look like her, as much as possible. The actor said, she wanted the Barbie to be ‘more African-American’.
Laverne also spoke about how having a Barbie doll in her likeness was a full-circle moment for her, since as a child, who was born male, should could not have a Barbie. “I’m just so grateful that I’ve been able to be in this process. It’s a process of reclaiming my inner child, healing her, giving her what she didn’t have the first go-round…To be turning 50 years old and be transgender and have a Barbie in my life, that feels just like a full-circle kind of healing moment,” said Laverne.