Barbie Debuts First Doll With Down Syndrome

Mattel introduces a new Barbie with Down syndrome as part of the brand's efforts to reflect the diverse world we live in and encourage empathy and understanding through play.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published April 26, 2023
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Image: Mattel

Once frowned upon for its unrealistic body standards and lack of diversity, today’s Barbie is more inclusive than ever before. Over the past few years, Barbie has introduced over 175 dolls with different hair, skin and eye colors with ranging abilities. From Barbies with vitiligo to dolls that use a wheelchair, have hearing aids or don’t have hair, the latest addition to Barbie’s diverse lineup includes a new Barbie doll with Down Syndrome.

Mattel, Inc (the makers of Barbie) announced the release of its first Barbie with Down syndrome on April 25. Working closely with the National Down Syndrome Society, the designers at Barbie thoughtfully crafted each aspect of the new Barbie to accurately represent a person with Down syndrome.

The new Barbie’s face sculpt features a rounder shape, smaller ears and a flat nasal bridge, while the eyes are slightly slanted in an almond shape. The doll also has a shorter frame and longer torso. Her accessories are also crafted with intention. Her outfit features butterflies and yellow and blue colors often associated with Down syndrome awareness. Her pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which is the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome.

The result of all this hard work—a doll Mattel hopes children will see themselves in and learn from.

“Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie, while also encouraging children to play with dolls who do not look like themselves,” Mattel’s Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Lisa McKnight, said in a press release. “Doll play outside of a child’s own lived experience can teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world. We are proud to introduce a Barbie doll with Down syndrome to better reflect the world around us and further our commitment to celebrating inclusion through play.”

This doll will join Barbie’s 2023 Fashionista Line with new additions, including a Barbie with braces and a Ken Fashionista doll with a prosthetic leg. The 2023 Fall Fashionistas dolls, including the Barbie doll with Down syndrome, are available online in limited quantities for $11. Shop now and see Mattel’s full range of Barbies at

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