Barbie launches Anna May Wong doll for AAPI Heritage Month

Streaming HUBMay 1, 2023

Six months after being immortalized with a US quarter, Asian American Hollywood trailblazer Anna May Wong has received another accolade confirming her icon status – her very own Barbie.

Mattel announced on Monday the release of the Anna May Wong doll for Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month.

The figure has his trademark bangs, eyebrows, and well-manicured nails. Inspired by her appearance in the 1934 film “Limehouse Blues,” the doll is dressed in a red gown with a glittery golden dragon design and cape.

Wong’s niece, Anna Wong, gave her blessing and worked closely with the brand to develop Barbie’s look.

“I didn’t hesitate at all. It was such an honor and so exciting,” Wong told The Associated Press in an email. “I wanted to make sure they got her facial features and clothes right. And they did!”

As a child, Anna Wong had a Barbie and Skipper dolls (Barbie’s little sister) and a Barbie dream house and car. She loves the idea that Asian children will now have a doll that looks just like them.

The doll is part of the Barbie “Inspirational Women” series, which features dolls in the likeness of leading women. Past inspirations include aviator Amelia Earhart and artist Frida Kahlo.

“As the first Asian American actress to lead an American television show, whose persistence broke down barriers for her gender and the AAPI community in film and TV, Anna Mae Wong is a perfect fit for our Barbie Inspiring Women series, Lisa McKnight, an executive vice president of Mattel, said in a statement.

Born in Los Angeles, Chinese American actor is considered the first major Asian American film star. She debuted during the silent film era in the 1920s and gained international recognition for her fashion sense, along with films such as “The Thief of Baghdad.” In the 30s, Anna May Wong was working opposite actors such as Marlene Dietrich in “Shanghai Express”. But in 1937, she lost the lead role of a Chinese villager in “The Good Earth” to Luise Rainer, a white actor who won the Best Actress Oscar.

In the following decades, Anna May Wong went to Europe to pursue acting. But later she returned to America in 1951, leading her own television show, “The Gallery of Madame Liu-Tsong”. The short-lived mystery series is believed to be the first with an Asian American lead.

For the first time, she was the first Asian American woman to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her acting in 1960. He died a year later at the age of 56.

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