Attel is honouring real healthcare workers with dolls that are modelled on real doctors and nurses. Among them is a doll version of Amy O'Sullivan, a nurse at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, who appeared on the cover of TIME for the magazine's 100 Most Influential People list last year. The doll has hand-painted tattoos, colorful hair and the clear silver socks O'Sullivan wear every day to work.
O'Sullivan was particularly touched by the details of her doppelg nger. I used to get a hard time getting a hard time from the administrators about my tattoos and my hair and my pants being rolled up. But I didn't want to be like anyone else, explains she. "I'm 58 so had no role model when I was growing up. What is different? Each of the women was given her own one-of-a-kind doll and the toy company announced that it would donate $5 for every physician, nurse or paramedic Barbie sold at Target to the First Responders Children's Program as part of its ThankYouHeroes campaign. Mattel launched the campaign last year to give back to communities in need. 'This fall, admittedly, we thought we would be further along with the pandemic, says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president at Mattel and Global Brand Manager for Barbie brand. 'But it was important to honor these amazing medical workers across the globe as we continue to face a difficult time.
In her 62 year history, McKnight has held positions as many different types of health care workers, in part, Barbie says, because children develop relationships with their pediatricians early on. 'We hope these dolls can spark important conversations about the pandemic, she says. 'While it is a somewhat scary topic, we think it opens the door to discussing these frontline workers who are amazing role models.
O'Sullivan says she never played Barbies throughout her life, though a friend tried playing with Ken dolls. Her partner, a nurse, bought their daughters the gender-neutral dolls which Mattel launched in 2019 and O'Sullivan says they loved those dolls' fluid identities.
O'Sullivan believes that her own children and those she treats at the hospital understand how important frontline workers are. 'Our 5 year-old wants to be a puppy doctor, she says. 'Our 14 year old is interested in being a surgeon. Mais they've really learned the importance of nurses and doctors.
Even as O'Sullivan waxes lyrical about her doll, she admits not feeling particularly optimistic about the pandemic. 'We can't get away from it, she says. I see the youth wearing masks. And, you know, those are the people that COVID affects now, the younger generation. They're very much sick. And it's never going away until we get vaccinated and wear masks.