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Innovation and Inclusion with Barbie

When Jordan spoke up about her hope to see more limb differences represented in toys, she did not expect anything would happen beyond gathering signatures on Change.org. Because she spoke up, she worked with the Barbie design team on a new doll that wears a prosthetic leg. And now, Jordan got to shoot a video WITH Barbie!

How it happened

One of the creative producers of the Barbie Vlog series, Teale Sperling, is a little person. She kept an eye on Jordan’s work in the disability community. And when she learned about Jordan’s consulting work with Mattel, she reached out to see if Jordan could be a part of the video series. To make things even more exciting, Jordan helped with a whole new type of video shoot. Barbie is always seen in her animated bedroom or other rooms in her “house.” Actors who work on the series are animated after they perform in a green screen room. Other non-animated interviews include a split screen like when you see a live interview on television news. Jordan had a chance to be a part of the animated Barbie’s first video in a real room with a real person! The only animated element is Barbie. Check it out:

Jordan plays friend tag with Barbie!

Behind the scenes

The recording process was super cool. First, Teale and the actress who plays Barbie, America Young, read Jordan’s book, BORN JUST RIGHT. They used it to help tailor the script between Barbie and Jordan. Before they met in person, Jordan and America read through the script together through Skype. They got to know each other ahead of time and they could edit the script a bit.

America Young, Teale Sperling, and Jordan Reeves give the P.A.C.E. sign. Barbie ends all of her vlogs saying “PACE!” It means “Positive Attitude Changes Everything.”

A couple of weeks later, we flew out to Los Angeles to shoot the video. Jordan got to have her hair and makeup done. She even had a really cool tutor assigned to help her stay on track with her schoolwork. (California law requires tutor time for any kid who works on a school day.)

There were A LOT of people in the room supporting the video shoot. The two men who lead the animation studio came into town from Canada since this was a first-of-its-kind production for the animated series.

A lot of people worked on the Barbie Vlog. This was the first time the vlog was shot in real life with just an animated Barbie.

Jordan and America worked through the script and had a lot of fun working together. Jordan got to be her regular self and share her Born Just Right story with millions of Barbie fans! How cool is that?

Teale Sperling directs American Young and Jordan Reeves during Barbie’s first real life video shoot in a studio. (America was magically turned into an animation for the YouTube video.)

All kinds of thanks

It’s exciting to see the video out in the world and all of the very positive comments on the YouTube page. What an honor! Not only can Jordan say she was a part of a Super Bowl commercial this year, but she can also say she got to hang out with Barbie to shoot a video! It is an honor to have these type of experiences. It is a tremendous privilege to be able to talk about disability and differences to so many people this year. We won’t stop making sure kids have more opportunities to be proud of their differences. We won’t stop looking for new ways to grow our organization so these type of opportunities are available for even more people!

Thanks again to Teale Sperling and American Young for their awesome cheerleading and support. Also big thanks to Barbie Senior Producer Susan Corbin for helping this come together. It was really cool to be a part of a piece of Hollywood inclusion magic.

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