Dame Valerie Adams is the Official Barbie Shero for New Zealand in 2020. Image supplied.
Dame Valerie Adams has been announced as the official Barbie Shero for New Zealand 2020, for her incredible work as a sportswoman, on and off the field. Dame Valerie is a four-time World champion, two-time Gold medallist and mother of two who has been breaking the mould for women in sport since she broke into the international scene in 2001. She is one of New Zealand’s greatest ever athletes and one of the all-time best female throwers globally which makes her a perfect choice for a Barbie Shero and an inspiration to young girls.
Barbie has presented her with a unique one of a kind doll made in her likeness, the highest honour from the Barbie brand. Adams was involved in the design process for the detailed doll which has a tiny shot put and sports bag as well as Adams’ signature gold hoop earrings, hairstyle and even a replica watch to go with her competition outfit. The doll isn’t for sale and is a limited edition of one but no doubt Valerie’s young daughter will enjoy playing with the doll that is an inspiring mini-replica of her amazing mother.
“I feel very humbled to be the New Zealand Barbie Role Model for 2020,” says Dame Valerie Adams. “As a mum, it is my responsibility to be a positive role model for my daughter. As an athlete, throughout my career I have been able to reach more young girls all around the world, especially New Zealand – to inspire and empower them to be the best version of themselves.”
Dame Valerie was knighted and awarded a Dame Companion of Order in 2016 and is considered a leader and role model in the Pacific community, she also continues to compete at the top level in her sport. She was named the World Athletics (previously IAAF) Female World Athlete of the Year in 2014, becoming New Zealand’s first and the first thrower globally for ten years to win such accolade. Valerie currently holds the New Zealand, Oceania, Commonwealth and World Championship records with a personal best throw of 21.24 metres.
“We definitely need more role models and as a strong Pacific woman, I feel it is my duty to be more accessible and involved in the community, both on and off the field,” adds Valerie. “We need to nurture our future generation to believe and trust in themselves. Barbie has partnered with amazing women year after year for this campaign, and to be a part of that line-up is an honour.”
Barbie’s role model program aims to inspire the next generation by shining a light on women who are breaking boundaries in a variety of diverse career fields, previous sportswomen honoured include Australian Para-Athlete in Wheelchair Racing, Madison De Rozario; English World Champion Sprinter, Dina Asher-Smith; German Long Jumper, Malaika Mihambo and New Zealand’s own Melodie Robinson, who was honoured in 2019. Barbie Shero is one of the many initiatives as part of the Barbie Dream Gap Project, a multi-year global social initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential which also includes funding academic research.
“As the original girl empowerment brand, Barbie is dedicated to shining a spotlight on powerful, diverse role models to inspire the limitless potential in every girl,” says Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Brand General Manager, Barbie. “As sportswomen continue to set new records and take center stage around the world, we are proud to honour these amazing women by amplifying their stories and achievements with dolls in their likeness. In an effort to close the Dream Gap, we have a responsibility to show girls they can be anything on and off the field, court, mat and beyond.”
Dame Valerie concurs, “Closing the Dream Gap for the next generation is incredibly important. Any projects or initiatives which encourage and support young girls to instil self-belief at an early age, need to be celebrated.”