Local Role Model Honored to Show Girls They Can Be Anything

We all had a Barbie growing up, some of us even had more than one. We would plait their hair, cut it, dress her up, give her friends. She’s what little girls dreams are made of. Let’s face it, we all wanted to be her.

Barbie is honoring its first African role model Lerato Molapo popularly known as LIRA, for breaking boundaries for the next generation of girls.

As a brand dedicated to inspiring the limitless potential in every girl, Barbie has been on a mission to honor diverse role models, both modern-day and historical, who help pave the way for the next generation of girls.

As Barbie continues its 60th anniversary celebrations worldwide, the brand is honoring LIRA as the next Barbie role model to be recognized with a one-of-a-kind doll, which is the highest honor from the Barbie brand. LIRA joins role models or “Sheroes”, female heroes who continue to break barriers including Ibtihaj Muhammad, Maya Gabiera, Chen Man and Misty Copeland. 

“For 60 years, Barbie has championed girls, inspired generations to believe through make-believe and showed them that they have choices. With more than 200 careers, six runs for president and a trip to the moon before Neil Armstrong, Barbie continues to evolve to be a modern, relevant role model for all ages,” said Lisa McKnight, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Barbie.  “The Barbie brand believes girls should never know a world, job, or dream women haven’t conquered. Through our global role model program, we are shining a spotlight on inspiring women, such as LIRA, to show girls they can be anything.”

Research* has identified that starting at age five many girls are less likely than boys to view their own gender as smart and begin to lose confidence in their own competence. Cultural stereotypes, implicit biases, and representation in media work together to further this issue. In the United States, this has been referenced as the “Dream Gap,” but there are similar trends seen around the world.

“I’m deeply honored to be Barbie’s first African role model and am excited to align with a brand that is on a mission to show girls more diverse role models,” said LIRA. “I have always been someone who endeavors the celebration of my skin tone and natural hair, and it is amazing to see this reflected in my doll. This is an enormous gesture and affirmation that the world is celebrating Africa for who we are, and I am very grateful.”

While LIRA will be gifted a one-of-a-kind doll, young fans can imagine themselves on-stage with the pop star doll and play out different roles in other fields with over 16 career dolls available including everything from a nurse, scientist to Chef and Tennis player. Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market with more than 100 new looks introduced over the last five years alone.

LIRA has been interviewed by Talk Radio 702 personality, Azania Mosaka, and teen children’s rights advocate, Lathitha Beyile, to speak about the honor and what it means to be a global role model. Follow along with @barbie on social media and join in the conversation using #MoreRoleModels.

Visit www.Barbie.com/rolemodels for more information on the global role models and programme.

To learn more about the brand’s commitment to the Dream Gap, please visit barbie.com/DreamGap and join the social conversation with #CloseTheDreamGap.

About LIRA

Songstress LIRA, whose music career spans 15 years and includes six studio albums; three live DVD’s; an autobiography; a seven-part documentary TV series; and a full feature movie, has established herself as one of the foremost female artists in South Africa; as well as a formidable presence on the global music scene.

LIRA released her debut album All My Love in 2003. The title track off the album topped SA Charts, marking the beginning of her meteoric rise. LIRA then signed to Sony Music in 2006 and released three albums, all three of which certified Platinum and subsequently won her numerous accolades and multiple South African Music Awards (SAMAs) – 12 to date.