Few can keep up with Naomi Osaka on the tennis court but now, young fans can play with the athlete at home. Mattel has officially released a Barbie Role Models Doll made in the four-time Grand Slam champion’s image. She was first honored by the brand in March 2019, as a Barbie Shero and received her own doll as part of an effort initiated to uplift the next generation of leaders in honor of Barbie’s 60th anniversary.
“It’s such an honor to be a part of the Barbie Role Model series, and to remind young girls that they can make a difference in the world,” Osaka said in a statement exclusively to ESSENCE Girls United. “I want young girls everywhere to feel empowered to dream big and to know that if they believe in themselves that anything is possible!”
To create the life-like doll, Barbie® Signature tapped designer Carlyle Nuera for the project. The Naomi Osaka doll sports a Nike tennis dress with brushstroke print, inspired by a look she sported at a major match in 2020, according to the press release. It is accessorized with a white Nike visor and a tennis racket, modeled after her actual Yonex racket. The doll body used is Nuera is the Made to Move™ which has 22 total points of articulation allowing for more range of motion.
The doll retails at $29.99 and is available for pre-order before it begins shipments to customers next month.
The doll’s release comes just ahead of the Tokyo Olympics where Osaka is set to represent Japan. In a personal essay penned for TIME, the 23-year-old revealed she is optimistic about the games. The essay was written in response to her decision to skip press during the 2021 Roland-Garros tournament and ultimately withdraw from the competition.
“Perhaps we should give athletes the right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subject to strict sanctions,” she wrote. “After taking the past few weeks to recharge and spend time with my loved ones, I have had the time to reflect, but also to look forward. I could not be more excited to play in Tokyo. An Olympic Games itself is special, but to have the opportunity to play in front of the Japanese fans is a dream come true. I hope I can make them proud.”
Last Saturday (July 11), Naomi Osaka was crowned Best Athlete, Woman’s Sports at the 2021 Espy Awards where she delivered a short speech.
“I just really want to not say a long speech because I’m a bit nervous,” she said to heavy applause. “I know this year’s been really — it hasn’t even finished — but it’s been really tough for a lot of us and, for me, I just want to say I really love you guys.
“This is my first ESPYs, so it’s really cool to be surrounded by all these incredible athletes. I think all of you guys are really cool and I watch some of you guys on TV, so it’s really surreal to be here.”
As VIBE previously reported, Osaka’s story will be shared in a three-part documentary for Netflix. The eponymous series is set to debut on July 16.
Watch her full speech at the 2021 Espy Awards below: