"She had to have her thighs touch. No ands, ifs, or buts about it. And I asked for cellulite but obviously plastic and cellulite don't go hand in hand," the plus-size model and body image activist told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was important that the Barbie resembled me as much as possible. The thighs touching was one way to show young girls that it's OK for your thighs to touch, despite society saying that a 'thigh gap' is more beautiful."
The doll is part of Mattel's line of "Shero" dolls, which includes boundary-breaking female heroes like director Ava DuVernay, actress Zendaya, dancer Misty Copeland and gymnast Gabby Douglas. In January the brand even went one step further when it extended its mission to be more inclusive with new variations of dolls that come in tall, petite, and curvy versions.
VIDEO: Ashley Graham Says Cellulite Should Not Control Your Life
“We need to work together to redefine the global image of beauty and continue to push for a more inclusive world,” Graham said in a statement. “I’m thrilled Barbie has not only evolved their product but also has continued to honor women who are pushing boundaries. It’s an honor to be immortalized in plastic."
“Ashley Graham is a trailblazer who inspires every woman—and girl—to see the beauty in herself,” Lisa McKnight, general manager of Barbie, said in a statement.
As for her own doll's ensemble, the model selected a look she previously wore herself: a sparkly Opening Ceremony bodycon dress with a cropped Sonia Rykiel denim jacket and black patent leather Pierre Hardy booties.
"Would I have looked at my body differently if I were playing with Barbies that looked like me? Would I have accepted my thighs and my round arms and my round stomach a little bit more? Probably," she said in her interview with THR. "I think it's absolutely incredible that an iconic image in the fashion world, like Barbie, is keeping up with the times and following along with body diversity in such a big way."