The Bessie Coleman celebrity doll portrays her as herself a civil aviator at around 30 years old. The Inspiring Women series Bessie Coleman doll was released by Mattel on January 9, 2023 and retailed for $35.
Coleman was the first Native American and the first African American woman to get a pilots license. She was also the first Black person to get an international pilots license. Her career predated commercial air-flight so she gained a reputation as a daring stunt pilot in airshows across the US. Coleman tragically died in 1926 at the age of 34 in an plane accident where she was a passenger in a new Curtiss JN-4 Jenny bi-plane she had just bought as she prepared for an airshow.
“I made up my mind to try, I tried and was successful.” – Bessie Coleman
Barbie® recognizes all female role models. The Inspiring Women™ Series pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules, and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.
At the age of 23, Bessie Coleman left Atlanta, Texas, and moved to Chicago to build a better life for herself and pursue an education, It was there in the windy city when she decided she wanted to learn to fly. At that time in the United States, Bessie could not obtain a pilots license because she was a woman of color. Not giving up, Bessie learned French and traveled to France where she ultimately fulfilled her dream. In 1921, after seven months of flight school, she was awarded an international pilot’s license and became the first Black woman and Native-American woman to become a pilot.
Nicknames “Brave Bessie” or “Queen Bess,” Bessie Coleman often performed at airshows where audiences marveled at her trilling aerial stunts. As a pilot she was so passionate about encouraging people of color to pursue aviation that she wanted to open a flight school of her own. Those dreams were sadly never realized because, on April 30, 1925, a flight piloted by her mechanic crashed with Bessie onboard. Brave Bessie’s legacy and achievements as a pioneer in aviation live on and continue to inspire generations of women and people of color to soar in pursuit their dreams.
Girls need more role models like Bessie Coleman, because imagining they can be anything is just the beginning. Actually seeing that they can makes all the difference.
The Bessie Coleman doll comes wearing an olive green aviator suit with a thigh length jacket and below the knee pants. The jacket has two pockets on the front and a black ribbon belt with a beige plastic buckle an across the chest ribbon strap. The rough cut collared jacket opens in the front with a Velcro closure. Underneath is a sleeveless puffy high necked white cotton blouse. It also Velcros open in the back.
The below the knee (knickers in US) pants have a Velcro opening in the back and elastic around the bottom of the legs. The pants tuck into knee high black plastic boots that have a slit up the back for easy removal.
The accessory and final touch to her uniform is a soft brown plastic aviator cap with an embossed gold eagle emblem on the front with the initials B.C.
The face is painted with brown eyes and natural pink lips with a teeth smile. The chin length middle part black hairstyle is single curled row that goes around the entire head. It comes plastered with product and the packaged cap on the head leaves a crease just above, With care, the hair can be combed out and re-rolled into the same style.
The is articulated at the neck (full turn and 45 degree tilt), shoulders rotate and go out 90 degrees (tight fitting blouse sleeves limit movement a bit), elbows rotate and bend (90 degrees), hips twist (180 degrees) forward and back and sideways (45 degrees), and knees bend 90 degrees (come with cardboard braces on both legs). Regular stiff pointed-toe Barbie feet.
The doll comes with a plastic doll stand and an official Mattel Certificate of Authenticity.
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