A Barbie resemblance: Mattel India models Manasi Joshi & Dipa Karmakar

Para badminton player Manasi Joshi recently got a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll modelled on her. She’s only the second Indian athlete after gymnast Dipa Karmakar to receive it.

Manasi Joshi [L] and Dipa Karmakar [R] are the only Indian athletes to have been honoured with a Barbie one-of-a-kind doll resembling them.
Manasi Joshi [L] and Dipa Karmakar [R] are the only Indian athletes to have been honoured with a Barbie one-of-a-kind doll resembling them.

She studied electronics engineering in Mumbai and landed a job at an MNC after graduation. In 2011, on her way to work Manasi met with a road accident and acquired disability. Manasi used Badminton to rehabilitate from her injuries. 

In 2019, she became a World Champion winning a Gold at the BWF Para-Badminton World Championship in Basel, Switzerland. Earlier, she won a silver medal in mixed doubles at the 2015 Para-Badminton World Championships. Apart from this, she’s a bronze medallist at the 2018 Para Asian Games in women’s singles (SL3) and Asian Para-Badminton Championship 2016 in Women’s singles (SL3) and Women’s Doubles.

As a part of the Barbie Sheroes family, women from various walks of life had a moulded Barbie based on them. Mattel Inc identified women who have challenged stereotypes for the program. The Barbie Role Models program has honoured activists, journalists, and sportswomen over the globe. They’re considered inspiration to young girls encouraging them to be anything they want. 

Anniversary Return Gift

On 9th March 2019, Mattel Inc celebrated Barbie’s 60th Anniversary by giving gymnast Dipa Karmakar an OOAK Barbie to her likeness. She is the first Indian female gymnast to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games.

At the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, Dipa created history by becoming the first female gymnast to qualify for the final vault event. She is one of only five women who have successfully landed the Produnova or handspring double front, the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics.

Both Dipa Karmakar and Manasi Joshi are exclusively represented by Meraki Sport & Entertainment – one of India’s leading home-grown sport consulting & marketing companies. Meraki is also the first company in India to commercially represent Para-athletes. 

Naomi Osaka, the 3-time singles Grand Slam Champion was also a recipient. Osaka is of mixed heritage and has brought her fight against police brutality towards people of colour in America, to the tennis court.

Mattel Inc has come a long way in moulding dolls. From making Barbie – the slender, fair skinned figures; the company has evolved to embrace diversity and inclusivity.

This reflects in their new categories of dolls. The Barbie Role Models program promotes unique dolls based on real life inspirations. A lot of their YouTube content features Nikki – a coloured doll and not just Barbie. Mattel aims to address racial inequality by sending across messages about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Here’s a confession: I have played with Barbie as a kid. Can you remember the last time a man made such a revelation!

I only have vague memories with it but it entered my hand only because it managed to capture my attention. For the longest time, I felt embarrassed to own up and branded it as foolish and childish behaviour.

But now, If I was given the chance to go back to being my six year old self, I’d know which barbie to ask mom and dad for.

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