There's Now a Naomi Osaka Barbie Doll
Children everywhere can play with Naomi Osaka right in their own homes: Mattel is releasing a Barbie doll created in the tennis legend's likeness ahead of the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Donning an outfit inspired by Osaka's Nike look at the 2020 Australian Open, the doll comes equipped with everything from a tennis skirt to a visor to a mini iteration of Osaka's Yonex tennis racket.
Osaka posted an image of the doll, which is available now on pre-order, on her Instagram with a heartfelt note to fans: "Today I’m introducing the Barbie Role Model Naomi Osaka doll. I really hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything. This is really seeing a dream of mine come to life, having your own Barbie and potentially seeing little kids playing with it."
Of the doll, Mattel wrote in a news release that it's part of their "ongoing Barbie Dream Gap Project," a "global initiative designed to introduce girls to women’s stories from all walks of life, because imagining they can be anything is just the beginning."
The 23-year-old has been making headlines often this year, particularly in the wake of her decision to withdraw from the French Open earlier this year.
"I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris," Osaka wrote in the statement. "I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."
Osaka elaborated on her thoughts regarding that decision on the latest cover of Time alongside an essay. In addition to talking about her anxiety over talking to the press, the Japan native implored fans that: "It's OK to not be OK, and it's OK to talk about it."
"I communicated that I wanted to skip press conferences at Roland Garros to exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health," she wrote. "I stand by that. Athletes are humans."
She also added that the press conference format that currently exists is "out of date and in great need of a refresh."
"Less subject vs. object; more peer to peer," she emphasized.
You can read Osaka's entire essay here.