What the New Vitiligo Barbie Means to Those Living with It
There’s a new vitiligo Barbie – and it’s a big deal for those living with this condition.
This past spring, a Barbie with vitiligo was seen on the brand’s Instagram page, shared along with the caption, “Own what makes you unique, individuality is the best way to shine!” The vitiligo community celebrated the moment – and the possibility of the most iconic doll in the world having vitiligo.
Today, a Barbie with vitiligo is available for sale through the brand’s Fashionista collection (link below!). And it’s all the vitiligo community can talk about. Don’t take our word for it though. We asked those living with vitiligo why having a Barbie with vitiligo mattered to them. Here’s what they said.
Brooke Bowland, 39 years old, Penticton, BC
“My first spot appeared on my hip when I was 12. I had no idea what it was. I had never seen anyone with vitiligo and at a young age it left me feeling embarrassed and alone. Over the years I have developed many more spots and it has had its ups and downs. I hope to one day fully embrace my vitiligo for the gift it is, and truly love my skin – it’s an ongoing journey. Having a Barbie with vitiligo is everything. To me, it means that one little girl can feel like she isn’t alone – and that means the world.”
Michelle Hood, Detroit, MI
“Acceptance! Beauty comes in many forms. I have had vitiligo for 20 years now. It means so much to have a positive recognition of vitiligo and to also have a Barbie of color. When society depicts the limitations of beauty, a signal like this will be seen around the world. It’s amazing to see acceptance finally through. I hope this educational awareness can eliminate judgement for those with vitiligo so we can shine without fear.”
Nicole Smallwood, 25 years old, Dallas, TX
“I’ve had vitiligo for six years. Having a doll with vitiligo means that someone wants children to know that sometimes people have different skin tones and patterns – and that it is okay. This Barbie will help others to know that everyone has something unique.”
Roxy Rodriguez, 38
“I started my vitiligo journey when I was 18 years old. I was teen, and I had acne and vitiligo. In the beginning, looking in the mirror was hard. Seeing my face with white splotches made me feel sorry for myself. Today I know that my skin doesn’t define me – and this Barbie with vitiligo only proves it more. I am worthy of being called pretty – beautiful even.”
Mariana Silva, 25 years old, Portugal, Spain
“I have had vitiligo since I was sixteen years old, right after I had a tumor in my ovaries. It took me a few years to process, and I’m still going to a therapist and working on it. Today I know that I’m going to have highs and lows, but that it will all be okay. That’s empowered me to surround myself with people who see different forms of beauty. This Barbie with vitiligo means much more than people imagine – knowledge, acceptance, and education.”
Brooke DeSmet, 27, Grand Rapids, MI
“I just love the representation that this Barbie with vitiligo brings. I bought her as soon as I could. There are so many little girls and boys who have vitiligo and don’t know anyone else with the disease. I was diagnosed at 12 and I didn’t meet another person who had vitiligo until I was 18 in college. Today society is starting to celebrate things that make us unique and this Barbie is another way to represent and celebrate vitiligo. Barbie is synonymous with beauty and girl power so I’m excited to have a girl that looks like me in that club.”
Jeannine Murphy, 50, Long Beach, CA
“Words can’t express the joy I feel! We have representation thanks to this Barbie with vitiligo. My vitiligo appeared just under three years ago. Over the past few years I’ve shed tears over my spots and have tried to cover them with makeup. I feel awkward at times when I’m in public and feel like I get stares. I’m grateful for models Winnie Harlow and Amy Deanna, who are making vitiligo more common in the eyes of the world. Having a Barbie with vitiligo is a gateway to helping both kids and adults with and without vitiligo find acceptance. Being of Latin decent, it would be great to someday see dolls with various skin complexions sporting their vitiligo spots proudly. Thank you, Barbie, for stepping up to the plate and helping the world be a better place!”
Anonymous, 50 years old, Los Angeles, CA
“I bought the Barbie the first day to support and show there is a market for spotted beauty! I’ve lived with vitiligo for more than twenty years after getting it as an adult. I used to avoid the sun because I am Caucasian, and you couldn’t see the spots if my skin wasn’t tanned. Then I found Winnie Harlow. This last summer I spent a lot of time at the beach and wore my spots with pride. My daughter plays with Barbies and now the beautiful Barbie with spots is part of her tribe of girls. I love that. Spotted is beautiful too.”
Erika Page, 30 years old, Richmond, VA
“Seeing a Barbie with vitiligo is everything! I got vitiligo when I was seven years old and grew up hating my skin wishing I could be a normal kid. I can only imagine what having a Barbie with vitiligo would have done for my confidence. I’m so incredibly excited that other little girls will have that chance. This is a big moment for the vitiligo community.”
Shop the Barbie on Amazon below, and let us know what having a Barbie with vitiligo means to you.
Disclaimer: Barbie did not compensate me in any way for this blog post, but the product does contain affiliate links. The opinions expressed are 100% my own.
Erika Page is the Founder and Editor of Living Dappled. After getting vitiligo at the age of seven, she lost 100% of her pigment to the condition and today lives with universal vitiligo.