EXCLUSIVE: Ava DuVernay Says Children Should Be Exposed to Women in Roles of ‘Untraditional Power’
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Perhaps no one is more excited about the Ava DuVernay Barbie than DuVernay herself. 

On Sunday, DuVernay announced via Twitter that the limited edition Barbie, created in her likeness and auctioned off earlier this year, would be available to the public just in time for the holiday season. However, within one hour of hitting online shelves, the doll was virtually sold out

DuVernay, speaking to ESSENCE.com shortly before the doll sold out, said that she hoped the Barbie, whose proceeds go to human rights organizations Color of Change and WITNESS, would bring balance to a toy world where diversity is still lacking.

“There are a lot of women who direct, but not a lot of opportunities for those women and not a lot of access for those women,” DuVernay said. “I’m really happy that this doll might amplify that—being able to see a woman direct—but also what that does for girls and boys, seeing women in positions of what so many people might think are ‘untraditional power.’”

Ava DuVernay Barbie Sells Out Within One Hour of Hitting Shelves

DuVernay, who grew up in Compton, said that she and her sisters, Jina and Tera, spent hours during their childhood creating make-believe Barbie worlds.

“We lived in Compton, and my mother sometimes didn’t want us to go outside,” she said “So we would stay inside and create whole worlds with our imagination and these dolls…If we had had dolls back then that looked like this with a director’s chair and all that, you can just imagine the stories that we would’ve come up with.”

The Selma director continued, commending Mattel for bringing more diverse options to toy stores—including DuVernay’s loc-headed, tennis shoe-clad doll.

“Folks should be able to see all kinds of representations, whether it’s in television, film, books, billboards or even the dolls they play with,” DuVernay said. “We’ve seen all types of Barbies coming out over the past few years—Doctor Barbie, Indian Barbie, etc.—all kinds of beautiful representations, and I hope that they continue to do that. To be one of them in fantastic.”