Monday, May 21, 2018

Katherine Johnson Barbie

A lovely image of NASA Mathematician and Physicist, Katherine Johnson appears on the back of the Katherine Johnson Barbie's box.
Part of the Barbie Inspiring Women series, the Katherine Johnson Barbie ordered from Barbie.Mattel dot com has yet to arrive, but the one ordered later at a reduced price from Amazon arrived last week. In spite of the reused head sculpt that originated with Byron Lars' Mbili that has been used for multiple others, including the So In Style doll line, the 1950s-inspired hairdo and the cat-eye eyeglasses add to the Katherine Johnson Barbie's authentic look. The complexion is appropriate as well.  The Barbie.Mattel website indicates the doll was designed by Kelley Lindberg and that the face sculpt is the Model of the Moment Nichelle sculpt.  The latter is incorrect.  As I have indicated, the doll definitely uses the Mbili sculpt.

My doll's shipping box appeared tampered with.

The shipping tape on both the top and bottom of my doll's shipping box had been slit as though someone had attempted to open it.  Before opening the box myself, I heard something rattling around inside.  After opening, I discovered what has become the norm for Amazon:  no protective packing materials were added to the box; the boxed doll was inside the otherwise empty shipping box!  Someone really needs to school those people in proper packing procedures.



The rattling I heard was the doll's eyeglasses.  They had fallen to the bottom of the box.  Initially, I had not planned to open the doll's box, but I had to get the glasses.  I made a slit in the tape that held the plastic tab in place on the top of the box, opened the plastic flap, turned the box upside down, and the glasses slid into my hand.

Katherine Johnson Barbie was photographed before retrieving her eyeglasses.  The backdrop of the box is a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lab setting in which several white males are seated at desks.
Before retrieving the eyeglasses, I took the above and next few photos of the doll's box.

Side panel
The side panels are identical with a purple and lavender design and Ms. Johnson's signature inside a gold circle.

The back panel of the box
The back panel of the box features a photo of Ms. Johson above her signature and NASA title.  Indicating she is still alive, her year of birth (1918) - present are below her title.  A quote from Ms. Johnson reads:

"I asked questions; I wanted to know why."  

A description of the Inspiring Women series and a brief bio of Ms. Johnson follows the above quote and is shown below in this enlarged image of that portion of the back of the box.



With her glasses on, she looks more like the remarkable woman she represents.
Katherine Johnson Barbie has black rooted hair with flipped ends.  The production doll's hair is longer and styled a little different than the prototype's.  Her eyes are light brown.  She is dressed in a short-sleeve pink dress that has a pleated skirt, a white collar, white three-button placket, and black ribbon belt.  She wears pearl stud earrings and a two-string pearl necklace.

A spacecraft decal is on the lapel of one collar of the doll's dress and she wears a photo ID necklace. 
A pair of black ankle-strap high-heel shoes completes the Katherine Johnson Barbie's fashion.
As the final paragraph of the back-of-box text indicates, Katherine Johnson Barbie Doll celebrates the achievements of a pioneer who broke through barriers of race and gender.  Like the trajectories she calculated, her contributions inspire young people to excel in math and science and to reach for the stars.


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16 comments:

  1. The doll is cute but I liked the prototype better. It was more like Katherine to me.
    Anyway, it is not the first time where the final product and the prototype look different, so I better stop complaining.
    Thanks for sharing your doll with us.

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    1. Thank you, Arlette! We are often surprised by the appearance of dolls produced after seeing the prototype images. I am not disappointed, but I would have preferred that the hair was more like the prototype.

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  2. Congrats! I know you would get this doll! The combination of movie character and history makes her a perfect fit for your collection. I like the look of the doll! I wish they did the other dolls from the movie too! It would have been nice to have the set!

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    1. Thank you, Ms. Leo. Check out Ohmydollin's Instagram image of Katherine Johnson Barbie and two others that represent Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.

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    2. *images... Ohmydollin's has several "Hidden Figures" Barbie images.

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  3. Great post! My KJ doll arrived today with her glasses askew. She's very pretty, though I prefer the look of the prototype. I was disappointed to find that her legs are not articulated. Bummer for me as I was planning to debox and use her in my stories. Now I must decide if I'm keeping her or not. I don't really display dolls except for my small collection of dolls in designer bridal gowns.

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    1. Thank you, Jewell,

      Congrats on getting your doll. I hope you will keep her. You are right, though, they really should have taken the extra step and given her articulated knees. Why stop with the elbows?

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  4. Thanks for sharing your Katherine Johnson Barbie. And Ohmydollin's Instagram images.

    I think the doll eyeglasses are adorable.

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    1. You are welcome, D7ana! She needs her glasses to adequately see her handwritten calculations. (BTW, I just scrolled up to look at the close-up of KJ with glasses on and I almost saw myself. I don't think I ever would have had you not mentioned the resemblance.)

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    2. Hi, DBG. LOL. Fun and surprising to catch resemblances. ;-)

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  5. Thanks for sharing this review, Debbie! I was happy to finally receive my KJ Barbie as well. I did not know that her knees are not articulated. Mine will be staying in the box (at least for now). I wish that they had used a different sculpt other than Mbili. The number of dolls in my collection with the Mbili sculpt is beginning to rival that of my dolls with the Asha sculpt.

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    1. You're welcome, Roxanne. I'm happy for you that your doll is in your hands.

      One thing for sure about Mattel is that they are masters at overusing the AA head sculpts a decade at a time: Square-Christie Face 1980s-early 1990s, Asha 1990s, Desiré/Nicky 2000s, and now Mbili 2010s Maybe by 2020 they will retire the Mbili sculpt and begin overusing a new AA head sculpt.

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  6. Great post! Enjoy your doll. You are absolutely correct about Amazon.... they need to get "schooled" on packaging!!!! -- Kia

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  7. I am still hoping to get this doll. I thought I would have her as a Mother's Day gift but she was sold out when my son checked target.com. Like other's I like the protype too, she looked more like Ms. Johnson. I just wished Mattel would not make her so limited> After you Luvabella Amazon purchase, I very skeptical about when it comes to my doll.

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    1. I hope you are able to add the Katherine Johnson Barbie to your collection Brini.

      I still haven't received the one I ordered from Barbie.Mattel.com.

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