Inspiration for ‘Hidden Figures’ Gets Own Barbie Doll

by: Tilesha Brown Special to the AFRO
/ (Courtesy photo) /

Mattel unveiled a Barbie doll featuring the likeness of Katherine Johnson as part of its “Shero” series in honor of International Women’s Day on Tuesday. One of the inspirations for Oscar-nominated film “Hidden Figures,” Johnson is now part of a doll collection that showcases women who have broken boundaries in their fields.

Katherine Johnson, whose life story was depicted in ‘Hidden Figures,’ is now a Barbie doll. (Courtesy photo)

“As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day, because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see,” Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, said in a statement.

Johnson is known as the mathematician that broke through the glass ceiling for Black women in mathematics by calculating complex trajectories for NASA. Her story was told in the 2016 film, “Hidden Figures.”

Taraji P. Henson, who played Katherine Johnson in the film, wrote on Instagram, “…I WISH I had this option as a little girl!!!”

Margot Shetterly, author of the best-selling book that the film is based on, told the AFRO, “The decision to launch a Katherine Johnson Barbie doll means that now, even the youngest girls will get exposure to a role model who made her mark in the world by virtue of her brilliance and character. I think it’s a great way to commemorate International Women’s Day, and to celebrate how Mrs. Johnson and women like her have changed the world.”

Other women previously depicted in the series include artist Frida Kahlo and aviator Amelia Earhart.