Mattel has announced the release of an Anna May Wong Barbie doll to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The doll is part of the “Inspiring Women” series, which honors pioneering women, and features Wong dressed in a red gown with a shiny golden dragon design and cape, inspired by her appearance in the 1934 movie “Limehouse Blues.” Wong’s niece, Anna Wong, worked closely with the brand to develop the doll’s look.
Born in Los Angeles, Anna May Wong was the first major Asian American movie star, starting out during the silent movie era in the 1920s. She gained international notice in films like “The Thief of Bagdad” as well as for her fashion sense. In the 1930s, Wong was acting opposite stars like Marlene Dietrich in “Shanghai Express.” However, in 1937, she lost the lead role of a Chinese villager in “The Good Earth” to a white actor who went on to win a best actress Oscar. Despite these setbacks, Wong remained an icon for Asian Americans and was the first Asian American woman to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for acting in 1960.
Her niece, Anna Wong, who owns Barbie dolls herself, is thrilled that Asian children will now have a doll who looks like them. The release of the Anna May Wong Barbie doll is a wonderful way to celebrate her legacy during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. This doll is sure to inspire young children and remind them that they too can achieve great things.