Actress channels Mattel's first-ever Barbie with Down syndrome at film's world premiere

Actress and activist Sofia Sanchez attended the world premiere of "Barbie" in Los Angeles on Sunday night. The 14-year-old hit the pink carpet channeling Mattel's first-ever Barbie with Down syndrome. The dress was a hand-painted custom gown from Doloris Petunia, and Sanchez said in a comment shared on an Instagram post that she loved how she felt like she "became" Barbie thanks to it.

The young teen also got a chance to meet a number of famous personalities at the event, including the "Barbie" actress herself, Margot Robbie. "Pinch me," she wrote alongside a photo of the pair together that she posted on her Instagram Story. According to PEOPLE, back in April, Mattel said the doll was "created to allow even more children to see themselves in Barbie, as well as have Barbie reflect the world around them."
"The Barbie doll with Down syndrome is meant to inspire all children to tell more stories through play,” they said adding that the doll's outfit also includes a "pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons [that] represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which is the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. The three chevrons, or arrows, are a symbol that unites the Down syndrome community and are meant to represent 'the lucky few' who have someone with Down syndrome in their life."

"This one makes me so happy," Sanchez said in a TikTok for "Good Morning America" announcing the creation of Barbie with Down syndrome. "It’s me and my new Barbie, who happens to rock an extra chromosome like me!" she wrote in an Instagram post at the time.

She also chronicled herself getting ready for the big premiere on Instagram Stories on July 9. When she was asked how she felt, the teen simply said, "Precious."

Mattel closely worked with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to make the doll the true representation of a person with Down Syndrome. The Barbie also has ankle foot orthotics, which many children with Down syndrome wear for support. Speaking about the new Barbie doll, Kim Culmone, Senior VP, Head of Design, Barbie, told "Good Morning America" that the association with NDSS helped them a lot.
"Through this collaboration, we were able to ensure the doll and all the design elements and details were an accurate representation of a person with Down syndrome." Michelle Sagan of NDSS said that the company contacted them over a year ago. They participated in many meetings and strategy calls together. "Barbie was constantly asking for feedback and welcoming our ideas both big and small," Sagan recalled. Moreover, Charlotte Woodward and Kayla McKeon, women with Down syndrome, were also part of these meetings, providing guidance on the design and the doll's style.

In a statement about the initial release of the doll, NDSS CEO and President Kandi Pickard said, "This means so much for our community who, for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”

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