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Dr. Jane Goodall doll: the first doll in the series made from recycled plastic

Dr. Jane Goodall doll: the first doll in the series made from recycled plastic

Dr. Jane Goodall's fascination with wildlife and her unorthodox method of field study led to her groundbreaking research and heroic achievements as a conservationist, animal behavior expert, and humanitarian. Barbie pays tribute to the renowned ethologist and activist, and her brilliant discoveries and decades of dedication, with the addition of her to the Barbie Inspiring Women Collection. And for the first time in the series, this doll is created with sustainable materials, including recycled plastic* for the doll's body.

Barbie's Inspiring Women Collection pays tribute to the incredible heroines of her time; brave women who took risks, changed the rules and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever. This certainly applies to Dr. Jane Goodall, the world's leading expert on chimpanzees. Over her more than 60-year career, she has changed our perception of great apes, people, and the relationship between all life on Earth.

She also launched the Jane Goodall Institute in 1977, a leading global organization for innovative science, community-led conservation, advocacy and youth empowerment, with nearly 30 chapters worldwide. As part of that, Jane's global youth program, Roots and Shoots, works to empower young people to influence positive change in their communities. From what she began with a group of students in Tanzania in 1991, the program has grown to include thousands of groups in more than 60 countries.

To create this iconic doll in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute, in honor of one of the most notable human beings of our time, we turned to Barbie Signature lead designer, Carlyle Nuera. She has designed several dolls in our Inspirational Women Collection and we wanted to know what she thinks about that opportunity. “For me, it's how can I be useful? How can I use my skills and decade of experience as a designer to honor these women in the best way possible?” reveals Carlyle. “The Inspiring Women line reaches fans of how these women blazed trails and broke barriers, and also reaches children who are just beginning to learn about these women in history.”

In a beautiful moment of serendipity, the timing of this project coincided with another project by Dr. Jane Goodall. “When I was working on Jane Goodall Barbie, my niece was learning about Jane in school,” Carlyle shares. “She saw my sketch on my computer screen at home and said, ‘I know her, that's Jane Goodall!’ Then she proceeded to tell me everything she knew about Jane. So when I received my first production sample of the doll, I showed it to my niece and went over all the details we put into it. My niece and I learned a lot!”

The outfit our Inspiring Women version of Dr. Jane Goodall wears is intended to reflect the type of field outfit she would have worn in the 1960s, when she made her first major advances in the study of chimpanzees. The comparative simplicity of that uniform allowed for complexity in other areas of the design. As Carlyle explains, they were able to “put details into the accessories the doll comes with, further telling Jane's story. “Jane Barbie comes with a watch, notebook and binoculars, items that the real Jane Goodall used in her research in the Gombe Forest in Tanzania.”

Of course, Dr. Jane's story cannot be told without including a very important participant: David Graybeard. He was the first chimpanzee to trust Jane in the early 1960s, and now, David Graybeard is part of Barbie Signature, which was more than unexpected. “What fascinated me most was having the opportunity to learn a lot about chimpanzees. Never in my career as a Barbie designer would I have thought I would know so much about chimpanzees!” says Carlyle.

But here we are, and it turned out to be one of the best parts of the collaboration. According to Carlyle, “I worked with Bill Wallauer, director of wildlife photography and scientific advisor to the Jane Goodall Institute. He was crucial in getting the chimpanzee figure right, telling us to model it after a specific real chimpanzee, named David Greybeard. “Jane observed that chimpanzees created and used tools, tearing leaves from branches to stick into termite nests and catch termites to eat, which is why the David Greybeard figure comes with a stick,” Carlyle continues. “Bill also broke chimpanzee stereotypes for us, like when we see chimpanzees in movies smiling and showing their teeth. They are being trained to do that! In the wild, baring your teeth to chimpanzees is actually an expression of fear or intimidation. So it was important for us to sculpt the face and body of the chimpanzee figure in a relaxed natural state.”

Meanwhile, our packaging team got to work creating a sustainable doll box, made from 100% FSC-certified material, for this latest addition to the Inspiring Women Collection. The sustainability piece for the packaging was as necessary as it was for the doll and the chimpanzee, and was encouraged by Dr. Goodal.

Muñeca Barbie Dr. Jane Goodall 1

Muñeca Barbie Dr. Jane Goodall 2

Adapted from the article published by Mattel Creations Staff 8 July 12, 2022

Written by Allen Voivod

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