EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA.com) — Misty Copeland, the first black principal dancer in the American Ballet Theatre, was honored Monday with a Barbie doll in her likeness.
The idea is “to continue to show girls they can be anything,” the El Segundo company said in a statement.
And the doll was doing just that at the San Pedro Ballet School, where Copeland learned to dance.
“It makes me want to keep going and never stop what I’m doing,” said 12-year-old Leila Avila.
The doll received high marks from ballet students.
“It doesn’t look like a normal Barbie body. It looks like her,” said 11-year-old Hannah Scherp.
Cindy Bradley, an instructor at the ballet school, said the doll represents what’s possible with hard work.
“It represents hope and possibility for them,” she said.
The doll is part of Mattel’s Barbie Sheroes program, honoring female heroes who inspire girls by having broken through boundaries and expanded possibilities for women everywhere. Copeland joins an esteemed group of role models, including Ava DuVernay, Emmy Rossum, Eva Chen, Kristin Chenoweth, Sydney “Mayhem” Keiser, Trisha Yearwood and Zendaya.
The fashions for the doll were inspired by Copeland’s Firebird costume from her first American Ballet Theatre principal role, which she is performing again on May 18 and 19 as part of ABT’s annual spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.
Copeland was intimately involved in the doll’s design and partnered with the Barbie design team on all the details, Mattel said.
“I always dreamed of becoming an ABT ballerina and through Barbie I was able to play out those dreams early on,” Copeland said in a statement. “It’s an honor to be able to inspire the next generation of kids with my very own Barbie doll.”
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)