LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Las Vegas physician Dr. Audrey Cruz is among six global frontline workers honored with a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll created in their image as part of Mattel Inc.’s #ThankYouHeroes program.
“It’s a huge honor that I never expected,” Cruz told 8 News Now.
The program highlights the work of frontline workers during the pandemic.
“Barbie recognizes that all frontline workers have made tremendous sacrifices when confronting the pandemic and the challenges it heightened,” said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie & Dolls for Mattel.
According to Mattel, as a frontline worker from Las Vegas, Dr. Audrey Sue Cruz, 29, joined forces with other Asian-American doctors to fight racial bias and discrimination during the pandemic.
She received an email from Mattel and Barbie executives, saying they were interested in creating a doll to look like her.
“I was like, What?! Me? It was unreal,” Cruz recounted. “I was just like, ‘Are you sure you have the right person?”
Mattel is recognizing Cruz’s fight against COVID-19, along with six other role models from around the world, who not only showed “unprecedented courage,” but also had a “positive impact in their communities, inspiring current and future generations to come.”
“I hope I can represent women of color, women in healthcare, women who are working moms,” the doctor said, adding that she was honored “just being able to represent these people, and just have them know that they are seen.”
According to her blog, Cruz grew up in Honolulu and Las Vegas and obtained her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at the University of Nevada, Reno, before getting her medical degree from the University of Nevada School of Medicine.
The mother of a 2-year-old finished her internal residency at the Loma Linda University Medical Center in Southern California before moving to work in Las Vegas.
Cruz has over 111K followers on her Instagram page, where she shares posts that include her love of travel, food, beauty products and her family.
Mattel, Inc. announced Barbie would donate $5 for each eligible Barbie doctor, nurse and paramedic doll sold at Target to the First Responders Children’s Foundation (FRCF), benefiting the children of first responders.
The #ThankYouHeroes program launched in 2020 and is part of Mattel’s “Play it Forward” platform, which focuses on leveraging Mattel’s brands to give back to communities in times of need.
As for Cruz, she says the past year has been tough. But through her work and her Instagram page, she wants her story, and now her Barbie doll, to inspire the younger generation to dream big and achieve their goals.
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“Whatever skin color you are, whatever background you come from, it’s possible for you,” she encouraged.