The American toy company Mattel has chosen Russian astronaut Anna Kikina as the model for a new barbie doll, a part of the company’s campaign aimed at inspiring young girls with role models from all professions and walks of life.
Kikina is the only female cosmonaut in the entire squadron of Russia’s state space agency Roscosmos, and plans are in place for her to go into space next year.
The doll, which comes with a flight suit and in a spacewalk suit, will not be for sale but will be awarded as a contest prize, held in honor of the 60th anniversary of the first human space flight on April 12, 1961.
“Today, Anna is a role model for many,” a statement from Roscosmos said. “She is both strong and feminine, brave and gentle, wise and with a great sense of humor. A bright personality in which professionalism and warmth of heart are in harmony.”
“I didn’t dream of becoming an astronaut when I was a kid,” Kikina said in an interview. “But if I had a Barbie cosmonaut doll, the idea of would have probably been born in my head, even then.”
“It is not necessary that every girl that plays with this Barbie wants to become an astronaut. The most important thing is for all [girls] to know that they have a choice, they have the right to choose any profession they like.”
This is not the first time that Mattel has created a Barbie doll modeled after a female Russian astronaut. In the 1960s, the company made a toy of Valentina Tereshkova, the world’s first woman to go into space. Tereshkova is a now an MP in the country’s parliament.
In an interview with online publication Podyom, former astronaut and International Space Station resident Maxim Surayev welcomed the news and, hopefully, the “popularization of cosmonautics.”
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