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Mary Fowler kicks on as ‘You can be Anything’ Sports Barbie Doll

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Mary Fowler will become one of nine extraordinary women from across the planet being honoured with her own one-of-a-kind Barbie Doll as part of the toy giant’s 65th anniversary. 

The professional soccer player, who won hearts during the Matildas World Cup campaign in 2023, joins other sporting greats including tennis ace Venus Williams, soccer great Christine Sinclair and Mexican gymnast Alexa Moreno being immortalised for their efforts encouraging girls to stay in sports and achieve their full potential. 

Mary Fowler is now a ‘You Can Be Anything’ Sports Barbie Doll

Currently bound for Paris to play her part in the green and gold team representing Australia at the 2024 Olympics, Fowler says she was humbled by the news. 

“When I saw myself as Barbie for the first time, it was crazy; I was honestly just a bit speechless. I never would have thought that I’d have a Barbie that looks just like me,” she said.  

“There are so many other incredible women that have been Barbie dolls, and I just never would have thought that I would be up there with them.  

“I’m just super grateful and honoured to be part of this.”  

Fowler worked closely with Barbie to create her unique doll, paying attention to the Barbie doll’s hair, boots and gloves.  

“I wanted to have my Barbie doll replicate when I feel my most confident self, and that for me is when I’m on the pitch playing football,” she says. 

“During the design process, it was really cool working with the team to ensure my look was brought to life in my Barbie.  

“Being a positive influence, and seeing young girls recreate my look has been so special, and to finally hold my doll and see her wear my bubble braid, my gloves and even my boots, made my Barbie doll unique and connected to me.”  

The series of the You Can Be Anything Sports Barbie Dolls recognise the impact sports can have in igniting the confidence of young girls. 

Senior vice-president of Barbie and global head of dolls, Mattel, Krista Berger says the 65th anniversary range celebrates the impact sports can have on the next generation. 

“The sports one-of-a kind role model dolls serve as an embodiment of our shared values of passion, empowerment and individuality,” she says. 

“By shining a light on these inspirational athletes and their stories, we hope to champion the belief that every young girl deserves the opportunity to pursue her passions and turn her dreams into reality.”  

At just 21 years old, Fowler is a key player for the Australian national and Manchester City football teams.  

She was selected for the FIFA World Cup in 2019 – the team’s youngest player – at just 16.  

Since then, she has been to two FIFA World Cups, the 2020 Tokyo Games and is currently preparing for Paris 2024.  

“I think there’s a lot about participating in sport, and staying in sport, that can be overlooked sometimes,” Fowler says. 

“There’s the physical aspect and training and, for me personally, sport has really shaped me as a person.  

“A lot of my biggest moments of growth have come from sport; just the way that I’m able to speak with myself and deal with challenges, and the way that I’m able to believe in myself.  

“Those are all things that I learned through sport.  

“There’s so many other things, too – like some of my closest friends I’ve made through sport!”  

Matildas
Local buzz: The Matildas attracted fanfare in record numbers last August, hundreds gathering to show their delight in Newcastle’s Wheeler Place following a thrilling victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup quarter-final. Photo: Kaden Dube

Aside from Fowler, the nine trailblazing women athletes being honoured by the Barbie brand with one-of-a-kind role model doll include: 

  • Alexa Moreno (Mexico): Gymnast – As Mexico’s first woman world medalist in gymnastics, Alexa Moreno is recognized by Forbes Mexico as one of the 100 most powerful women in Mexico.  
  • Rebecca Andrade (Brazil): Gymnast – Olympic gold and silver medalist, Rebeca Andrade is regarded as one of the best gymnasts of all time. The Brazilian girl is a two-time World Championship champion and has won more than ten medals in World Cups.  
  • Susan Rodriguez (Spain): Paratriathlon Athlete – Born with albinism, Susan Rodriguez began running at age 10 and has since become a barrier-breaking paratriathlon athlete. She has not only set records in her sport, but she doubled as a young doctor on the frontlines amid the pandemic, earning her the cover of TIME magazine in 2021.  
  • Federica Pellegrini (Italy): Swimmer – Federica Pellegrini is a former swimmer and an Olympic gold medalist; she has been the first woman to break the 4:00 barrier in the 400mm freestyle. Right after her last competitions in 2020, she got an important international recognition: election to the IOC Athletes Commission.  
  • Ewa Swoboda (Poland): Track and Field Sprinter – Top ranked European sprinter Ewa Swoboda’s determination, talent, and fearless nature have served as a source of inspiration for young girls across the globe. She is a three-time European Indoor Championship medalist, as well as a World Indoor Championship medalist, holding the world lead of 7.01 seconds in the 60-metre race.  

By recognising athletes who have broken barriers for women in sports, Barbie hopes to help amplify the voices of women in sports and commemorate their accomplishments on and off the field.  

For Fowler, it’s about continually trying. 

“The advice I like to give to aspiring athletes is to not be afraid of making mistakes,” she says.  

“I think it’s a very normal reaction when you make a mistake to feel embarrassed, and you feel like everyone’s watching you and everyone thinks ‘Oh, you’re so bad,’ but, like, literally five seconds later no-one was thinking about it so it’s just about being patient, and persistent with whatever it is that you’re trying, and knowing that the only way you’re going to get better at it is if you keep trying.”  

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