World No. 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka has been honored among a newly released list of global female role models with something most will never receive: her own Barbie doll.
The 21-year-old Osaka made the lineup of more than 20 women from around the world whom U.S. toy manufacturer Mattel Inc. announced in celebration of the 60th anniversary of its popular Barbie fashion doll series and International Women's Day on Friday.
It is also a continuation of Mattel's "Shero" program launched in 2015, under which selected women are gifted a one-of-a-kind doll made in their likeness from the Barbie brand.
[Photo courtesy of Mattel Inc]
"Honored to be selected as a Barbie Role Model to help inspire the next generation of girls," Osaka said in a Twitter post. She also told People magazine: "I've played with Barbies when I was a kid, and I think it's a bit of a surreal experience to have the opportunity to have a Barbie that looks like me."
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Born in Osaka to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, she became the first-ever Japanese player to win a singles Grand Slam title, beating her childhood idol Serena Williams to capture victory at the 2018 U.S. Open.
Osaka followed up that feat by winning the 2019 Australian Open and reaching No.1 in the Women's Tennis Association rankings.
Other women honored with their own Barbies this year include Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, a Japanese actress, talk show host and the U.N. Children's Fund's goodwill ambassador, as well as gymnast Laurie Hernandez, Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad and model Ashley Graham.