Barbie Inspiring Women Series Katherine Johnson Review (Mattel)

Barbie Inspiring Women Series Katherine Johnson
What It Is

The Barbie Inspiring Women Series Katherine Johnson doll is part of the Barbie Inspiring Women Series which honors the women throughout history that broke down barriers for future generations of females and inspired girls to dream big. Katherine Johnson, along with Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, served as a human computer behind John Glenn's famous orbit in space. And while John Glenn became the name in history that most people associate with this NASA mission, it was these three intelligent black females that were the true brains behind the operation. Thanks to the recent film Hidden Figures, in which actress Taraji P. Henson played the role of Katherine Johnson, Johnson's story is becoming more well known. Her mathematic analysis skills were so on point, John Glenn was quoted as saying of the final run-through of calculations pre-flight: "If she says, they're good, then I'm ready to go."

In doll form, the NASA scientist and physicist is depicted perhaps as she appeared during one of her greatest achievements, during the Space Race in the late 1950s to early 1960s. The Katherine Johnson doll wears a pink button-down and belted dress, cat-eye glasses, pearl necklace and stud earrings. She also wears a sewn-on NASA badge around her neck and has a rocket printed on her collar. The doll can be displayed in the included stand or left in package for preservation. Out of package, though, the doll is posable through the arms, waist, and neck. 

The back of the packaging features a brief biography of Katherine Johnson and a quote from the NASA scientist. As a Barbie Signature collection doll, this doll also comes with a Certificate of Authenticity. 

Growing up, Katherine Johnson was a child prodigy, skipping ahead multiple grades in her youth and going on to graduate the top of her class at West Virginia State College. When West Virginia begin to integrate its grad colleges, Johnson was the only female of three black students hand-picked to attend WVU, before going on to join NACA at Langley before it even became NASA. Later in life, at age 97 she was honored by former president Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Is It Fun?

Johnson, now 99, worked directly with Mattel to ensure the look of the doll got her stamp of approval. 

Who It’s For

The Barbie Inspiring Women Series Katherine Johnson doll is for ages 6 and up. As a smart and award-winning black female scientist, we think this doll is going to appeal to collectors as much as it is going to appeal to millennial parents looking to provide their kids, and especially girls, with inspiring figures for play and display.

What To Be Aware Of

 The doll, it's important to note, is modeled after Katherine Johnson herself and not the depiction of her in the Hidden Figures films. 

This doll is part of the Barbie Inspiring Women Series, first launched in celebration of Women's History Month 2018. The Katherine Johnson doll along with Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart are the first series in this new collection. 

This Signature Series doll is part of the Barbie Pink Label collection, which are  first tier/ introductory level collectible Barbie dolls. This tier typically includes celebrity dolls, keepsake dolls, and historical figures.

  • Quality

  • Collectibility

  • Assembly & Instructions

    None or Very Easy