Strictly star Rose Ayling-Ellis unveils first Barbie doll with hearing aids

The EastEnders actress said she was ‘thrilled’ to help children celebrate what makes them different.

15 August 2022

Strictly Come Dancing star Rose Ayling-Ellis has teamed up with Barbie to unveil their first doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids.

The EastEnders actress, who won the dance competition in 2021, features in the Rose, Barbie & Friends campaign.

She is photographed alongside a cast of diverse models who reflect the new line of dolls, which includes the first Ken doll with vitiligo, one with a prosthetic limb and another with a wheelchair.

Rose Ayling-Ellis
Rose Ayling-Ellis said she was thrilled to see Barbie enabling kids to ’embrace their differences’ (Mattel)

Ayling-Ellis, who has been deaf since birth, said: “It’s so important for children to be able to see themselves represented in the toys they play with.”

“When I was little, I would draw hearing aids on to my Barbie dolls to make them look like me, so I am thrilled that Mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences.”

Mattel consulted with experts on the dolls in order to accurately portray the hearing aids.

Rose Ayling-Ellis
Ayling-Ellis was joined by a diverse cast of models for the campaign (Mattel/PA)

Educational audiologist Dr Jen Richardson said she was “honoured” to work on the line.

“It’s inspiring those who experience hard of hearing reflected in a doll,” she said.

Renee, a paraplegic model
Paraplegic wheelchair user Renee modelled with Ayling-Ellis for the campaign (Mattel)

“I’m beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them.”

Rosie Eggleston, participation manager at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said the charity is “delighted” the doll has come out and that it is a “really positive step towards inclusion”.

“She will give all children a much greater appreciation of the diversity of people around them and provide a window into the world of deafness,” she said.

“It will also mean a lot to those deaf children who wear hearing aids because they’ll see their own experiences reflected in a truly mainstream toy.

“This could really help them to be proud of their deafness, celebrate wearing hearing aids and have new opportunities to talk to their friends about what it’s really like to be deaf.”

The Barbie Fashionistas line is available in the UK from Thursday.

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