Valerie Adams is Barbie’s New Role Model

Barbie has revealed the official 2020 role model for New Zealand as Dame Valerie Adams – a model of empowerment for girls.

Press release follows

Barbie, the most diverse fashion doll on the market, announced an incredible professional sportswoman as an official Role Model for 2020, to continue efforts to close the “Dream Gap”; the time when young girls start doubting their self-value and potential.

In New Zealand, Barbie is honouring four-time World champion, two-time Gold medallist and mother of two, Dame Valerie Adams for breaking the mould for women in sport. One of New Zealand’s greatest ever athletes and one of the all-time best female throwers globally, Barbie is excited to present her with a unique one of a kind doll made in her likeness, the highest honour from the Barbie brand.


Dame Valerie’s amazing achievements

Dame Valerie broke into the international scene by winning the world youth title in Hungary in 2001 and went on to win the world junior title the following year. She has been a dominant force in women’s shotput internationally since 2006.

Dame Valerie was named the World Athletics (previously IAAF) Female World Athlete of the Year in 2014, becoming New Zealand’s first and the first thrower globally for ten years to win such accolade. She currently holds the New Zealand, Oceania, Commonwealth and World Championship records with a personal best throw of 21.24 metres.

Role model

Now a mother of two, Dame Valerie was knighted and awarded a Dame Companion of Order in 2016. She is considered a leader and role model in the Pacific community and continues to compete at the top level.

“I feel very humbled to be the New Zealand Barbie Role Model for 2020. As a mum, it is my responsibility to be a positive role model for my daughter. As an athlete, throughout my career I have been able to reach more young girls all around the world, especially New Zealand – to inspire and empower them to be the best version of themselves. – Dame Valerie Adams, Barbie Shero for NZ, 2020 (She + hero = Shero)

I’m pumped to share today that I’m the New Zealand @barbie Role Model for 2020 💗 As a mum, it is my responsibility to be...

Posted by Valerie Adams on Wednesday, 15 July 2020

When asked, “With two beautiful kids, how important is it to you to show them that anything is possible?” Valerie said:

It is very important to me.  I want to show them the sky is the limit and to live their own dreams. It’s important to me that they understand in time (they’re both under 3) that whatever they decide to do I will support them unconditionally – I will support them 100%, but I want them to live their lives to the fullest and live their own dreams.” – Dame Valerie Adams

Barbie has announced over 50 Role Models since the inception of the campaign in 2015, including:

  • In 2020, Australian Para-Athlete in Wheelchair Racing, Madison De Rozario; English World Champion Sprinter, Dina Asher-Smith; German Long Jumper, Malaika Mihambo.
  • In 2019, New Zealand Sports Journalist and Presenter, Melodie Robinson; Australian Journalist and Editor, Ita Buttrose AO OBE; and American Actress, Model & Activist Yara Shahidi.

Dame Valerie’s Barbie

Dame Valerie worked closely with the Barbie Design Team – picking out each and every detail of how she wanted her Shero doll to look.

Unfortunately the doll is not for sale – the one-of-a-kind doll was gifted to Dame Valerie. However, globally, Barbie has released more than 170+ diverse and inclusive dolls over the past five years – through fashion, careers, sport and more – in different body shapes, skin tones, eye colours, hair textures etc.


The Dream Gap Project

The Barbie Dream Gap Project is a multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential. Research* has identified that starting at age five many girls are less likely than boys to view their own gender as smart and begin to lose confidence in their own competence. Cultural stereotypes, implicit biases and representation in media work together to further this issue. In the United States, this has been referenced as the “Dream Gap,” but there are similar trends seen around the world.

*Study conducted by researchers at New York University, the University of Illinois and Princeton University

Follow @barbie and @barbiestyle on social media and join in the celebration using #Barbie #Barbierolemodels #moresportsrolemodels and #YouCanBeAnything.

Content provided on behalf of Mattel, a leading global children’s entertainment company that specialises in design and production of quality toys and consumer products. Mattel create innovative products and experiences that inspire, entertain and develop children through play. Visit Mattel online at

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