A Laverne Cox Tribute Barbie is On the Way

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Sunday June 5, 2022
Originally published on May 26, 2022

Laverne Cox is about to hit the 50th birthday milestone, but it's her fans who are getting a gift. They'll want to keep a sharp lookout for a new Tribute Collection Barbie doll that honors the openly trans actor and advocate, UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported.

The "Orange is the New Black" star told People Magazine that the Barbie's arrival is especially timely "in an environment where trans children have been used as a political football, when over 250 pieces of anti-trans legislation have been introduced in state legislatures all over the country in 2022 alone, and access to gender-affirming healthcare has been denied by policies signed into law in my home state of Alabama, in Arkansas and other states." Cox added that the new Barbie "can also be a celebration of transness, and also a space for them to dream, understand and be reminded that trans is beautiful."

Just having a Barbie was a dream that Cox had as a child — one that was dashed, NBC News detailed. "I was telling my therapist how I was really shamed by my mother when I was a kid when I wanted to play with a Barbie doll," Cox recalled, adding that she "had a lot of shame and trauma about that."

Her therapists' healing advice: "It is never too late to have a happy childhood" Cox recounted. "Go out and buy yourself a Barbie and play with her. There's a little kid that lives inside of you. Give her space to play."

Cox's mother eventually got on board that healing journey, too, giving Cox Barbies for Christmas once she understood how deeply meaningful that was to her daughter.

But now Cox gets to be a Barbie, which is an honor on an entirely different level.

"The star says she was 'very involved' in every step of the design process," People noted, before adding: "Like Cox herself, the doll oozes glamour in an oxblood corset and tulle skirt, worn over a silver bodysuit with sky-high heeled boots."

"Plus, her hair and makeup are camera-ready."

Cox told People that she asked the creative team, "Can we make her look more like me? And more African American?"

That led to "a conversation about highlights and lowlights," the trans icon added, "because I'm blonde most of the time now, but I'm a Black girl, so I need a dark root. And we had a whole conversation about how they can't do that, but they could do dark low lights."

As far as the new doll's attire goes, "I wanted her to wear multiple outfits, but that wasn't cost effective," Cox said. "You want the doll to be affordable. So I was like, 'What if she had one outfit that could peel off and become multiple outfits?'"

"So that's what we designed and came up with."

The $39 Laverne Cox Tribute Barbie hit stores on Wednesday.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.