“Strictly”'s Rose Ayling-Ellis Unveils First Barbie Doll With Hearing Aid


“Strictly Come Dancing”‘s Rose Ayling-Ellis has partnered up with Barbie to release the first ever doll featuring a hearing aid. The deaf actor is championing the addition to the Barbie Fashionistas line, which also includes new dolls with vitiligo, a prosthetic limb, and a Barbie in a wheelchair. Each of the toy figures is represented by a real model in the campaign as Rose Ayling-Ellis joins James Anthony Stewart, Faisha Shuhimi, and Renee Bryant-Mulcare to showcase the fabulous new line.

The EastEnders actor, who has been deaf since birth, admitted that she used to draw hearing aids onto her Barbie dolls as a child to make them look more like her. “I’m so happy that children can see even more inclusion in toys now . . . I LOVE that @mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences!” she wrote on her Instagram.

This is the latest step that Barbie creator Mattel has made to make the brand more diverse. The blonde figurine has historically been synonymous with an unachievable and one-dimensional beauty standard. However, Mattel is on a mission to make Barbie more relatable to reflect society as a whole. The Barbie Fashionistas line – thankfully – now has more than 175 dolls offering children the chance to see different skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and textures, body types, disabilities, and styles. And these latest additions should be celebrated.

There are 11 million people that are deaf or hard of hearing in the UK, so it’s no surprise that Mattel was receiving lots of requests for a doll that reflected this demographic. To accurately portray the hearing aids, Mattel consulted with experts in their fields including leading educational audiologist and hard of hearing advocate Dr Jen Richardson. “I’m honoured to have worked with Mattel to create an accurate reflection of a doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids. As an educational audiologist with over 18 years of experience working in hard-of-hearing advocacy, it’s inspiring that those who experience hard of hearing are reflected in a doll. I’m beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them,” Dr Richardson said of the collection.

The iconic brand is certainly having a moment right now. As fans eagerly await the release of Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” film next year, photos of Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling have been enough to whet the appetite. And the Barbiecore trend continues to reign supreme as pink takes over wardrobes all over the world. This latest news is a step in the right direction. Long may we see inclusion and diversity in children’s toys. Desperate to get your hands on the dolls for yourself or someone you love? At £13.99 each, you can purchase them from Smyths and other retailers nationwide from today in the UK.

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