Barbie names Pat McGrath as ‘Barbie Role Model’ as brand celebrates female founders

Barbie has announced Dame Pat McGrath DBE as a UK Barbie Role Model by unveiling a one-of-a-kind doll created in her likeness.

Pat McGrath is the founder of the billion-dollar beauty brand Pat McGrath Labs. For more than 25 years, her creative vision has made her a tour de force, and she has been called the most influential make-up artist in the world by Vogue magazine and others.

Pat McGrath says: “It is an honour having a Barbie in my likeness and I hope it inspires everyone to follow their dreams and believe that with hard work and perseverance, anything is possible. I want my legacy to be one of change and positivity! I am excited that young people might see my doll and believe that a love of makeup and creativity can lead to your dreams coming true.”

Alongside Pat McGrath, the Barbie brand is honouring female founders from around the world, including Shonda Rhimes, founder of American TV production company Shondaland.

Barbie is also announcing its first-ever global Dream Gap Project partnership with charitable organisation ‘Inspiring Girls International’. Founded by Miriam González Durántez, the non-profit works to raise the aspirations of young girls by giving them the tools to broaden their horizons and aim high. Together, Barbie and Inspiring Girls International will work with local schools in the UK, USA, Spain, Italy, France, Poland, Brazil and Australia to deliver Dream Gap workshops featuring advice from trailblazing Barbie Role Models.

Miriam González Durántez, Founder and Chair of Inspiring Girls International, says: “Empowering girls to believe that they can be anything is exactly what Inspiring Girls is all about. I am delighted that Mattel and Inspiring Girls will be working collaboratively to deliver tailored ‘Dream Gap’ workshops to young girls around the world. This exciting global partnership with inspiring role models who work across a range of different sectors will help raise the aspirations of young girls and empower the next generation of women to be anything they want to be. If she can see it, she can certainly be it!”

Barbie’s Role Model campaign is just one of the ways the brand is working to close the Dream Gap – the time when girls start to develop self-limiting beliefs. In fact, NYU’s Cognitive Development Lab research led by Professor of Psychology, Dr. Andrei Cimpian, and Assistant Professor of Psychology, Dr. Andrea Vial, whose post-doctoral fellowship was funded by Mattel, uncovered that girls aged 5-10 are less likely to raise their hand for leadership positions, such as stepping up to be in charge of a group activity, and also perceive social backlash from volunteering to take on more responsibility. However, in the final stage of the study, researchers found that when exposed to female role models, girls – and boys – are more likely to volunteer to lead a group activity.

Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel says:“We know that children are inspired by what they see around them, which is why it’s so important for young girls to see themselves reflected in role models who’ve daringly pushed past roadblocks and overcome the Dream Gap to become the brave women they are today. Ahead of this International Women’s Day, we’re proud to honour 12 global trailblazing women to help empower the next generation of female leaders by sharing their stories.”

The Barbie Role Models programme honours women around the world who are leaders in their respective industries. The full 2022 line up includes:

  • Pat McGrath (United Kingdom) – Makeup Artist and Founder of Pat McGrath Labs
  • Shonda Rhimes (United States) – Founder of American Television Production Company Shondaland
  • Ari Horie (United States/Japan) – Founder & CEO, Women’s Startup Lab and Women’s Startup Lab Impact Foundation
  • Melissa Sariffodeen (Canada) – CEO and Co-Founder of Canada Learning Code
  • Adriana Azuara (Mexico) – Founder of All4Spas
  • Doani Emanuela Bertain (Brazil) – Teacher and Founder of Salsa 8
  • Jane Martino (Australia) – Chair and Co-Founder of Smiling Mind
  • Lan Yu (China) – Fashion Designer and Founder of the ‘Woven Land’ Project and ‘Rainbow Baobao’
  • Butet Manurung (Indonesia) – Activist and Founder of Sokola Rimba
  • Sonia Peronaci (Italy) – Founder of Italian Food Website, ‘GialloZafferano’
  • Tijen Onaran (Germany) – CEO and Founder of Global Digital Women and Co-Founder of ACI Diversity Consulting
  • Lena Mahfouf (France) – Digital Creator, Videographer and Author of ‘Always More’

Find out more about the programme at


About Tessa Clayton

A former Chief Sub of Red magazine, Tessa Clayton is the Digital Editor of and ToyNews. As a freelance journalist she specialised in writing about parenting and family life, and has contributed to a wide variety of publications and websites including Tesco online, Mother & Baby, Livingetc, Junior, Boots Health & Beauty, Practical Parenting and Get in touch at

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