Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez Is Getting Her Very Own Barbie

Huffington Post

Calling all Laurie Hernandez fans: You will soon be able to buy a Barbie doll made in her likeness.

Barbie is creating a doll that looks like the Olympic gymnast for Mattel’s “Shero” line, which includes dolls in the likenesses of director Ava DuVernay, dancer Misty Copeland and fellow Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad. Hernandez’s Barbie is fully posable (so everyone can do gymnastics with her) and comes with two leotards and a gym bag.

“Girls need more role models like Laurie, because imagining they can be anything is just the beginning, and seeing that they can makes all the difference,” a spokesperson for Mattel told HuffPost.

Hernandez, 18, told HuffPost she is honored to have her very own Barbie and to be in the company of such amazing women.

“I was so excited to know that I would have a Barbie that looks like me,” she told HuffPost.

“It’s such an honor knowing that I’m a Barbie Shero along with many other incredible women like Misty Copeland and Ashley Graham,” Hernandez continued. “I am so excited that kids are going to be able to grow up with people that I looked up to as well, and hopefully they can see me as an inspiration too.”

Hernandez competed on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro where she won gold in the team event and silver on the balance beam. At just 16 years old, Hernandez became the third Latina in history to make the women’s Olympic gymnastics team, and the first U.S.-born Latina to make the team since 1984.

Aside from ensuring that the doll looked like her, Hernandez said the most important detail of the design process was her Barbie’s curly hair.

“I remember always wanting to straighten my hair as a kid, but now that I’m older I’m embracing these curls. I love how crazy and messy they are,” she said. “Now that there’s a doll that has my curls, little girls out there with curls are going to look at her too and be able to say ‘Wow she looks like me’ and find comfort in that.”

Hernandez added that she’s on “cloud nine” knowing that she’s in the company of trailblazing women like Douglas, Copeland and Muhammad.  

“I think that all of these women are big catalysts for the younger generation to watch and see how they do things and to know that we’re all so different,” she said. “I definitely see it as a responsibility as well. I recognize that I do have a platform and that people are watching what I do and I can use that for good.”

The doll will be available to buy at Walmarts around the country for $29.88 starting this month. Scroll below to see more photos of Hernandez’s Barbie Shero doll.

Laurie Hernandez set to co-host American Ninja Warrior Junior

Variety

Universal Kids has set the premiere date for “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” with Olympic gold medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez set to join the show as co-host, Variety has learned exclusively.

Hernandez joins previously announced hosts Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila (pictured below), with the “American Ninja Warrior” spinoff set to bow on Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. on Universal Kids, NBCUniversal’s cable network for kids 2-12.

The series features real kids taking on the iconic course. Nearly 200 boy and girl Junior Ninjas from across the U.S. will face off on the same head-to-head courses in three age brackets: 9 & 10, 11 & 12, and 13 & 14 year olds. The courses will feature well-known Ninja Warrior obstacles, including Sonic Swing, Tic Toc, Spin Cycle, and the Warped Wall. Each age bracket will be mentored by All Star Ninja Mentors – Kevin Bull, Drew Drechsel, Natalie Duran, Meagan Martin, Najee Richardson, and Barclay Stockett. Three final winners (one per age bracket) will be crowned the first ever “American Ninja Warrior Junior” champions.

NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” was nominated for three Emmy’s this year including best reality competition program, outstanding directing for a reality program and outstanding picture editing for a structured or competition reality program.

“At Universal Kids, we see kids as they see themselves and want to share their stories,” said Deirdre Brennan, general manager of Universal Kids. “‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’ celebrates a kid-centric movement that everyone can be a part of and enjoy together. Kids are already deeply connected to the primetime ‘American Ninja Warrior’ on NBC – young people across the US have been caught up in the spirit of this incredible show and they’ve been asking for the opportunity to get more involved. Now they can. ‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’ is fun and inclusive. It’s thrilling to watch but has incredible heart- Matt, Akbar and Laurie capture this feeling so well. This show will encourage and inspire all kids to push their limits and not shy away from challenges, because there is always success in trying. Arthur, Kent and their talented team at A. Smith & Co. have built ‘American Ninja Warrior Junior’ to be something truly special for audiences, from the course design to casting. They’ve embraced the show’s youngest fans with total respect for who these kids are and what they can do.”

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