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Mattel announces launch of Frida Kahlo Barbie, family says they don’t have authorization

Global toy maker Mattel has announced the launch of a special line of dolls that include one of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.

Mattel says that the Barbie doll of Frida Kahlo was made to recognize her, “For being an icon of struggle and perseverance.” She has a special headdress, earrings and clothes inspired by the Mexican painter, but with slightly different features that include red lips that stand out, a sharper face, lighter tone eyes and little facial hair.

“The eyebrows that were painted on the paintings are much more prominent than they were in real life. She put the emphasis on what anyone would consider their worst things and made them beautiful,” explained Julie Taymor, director of the 2002 film Frida.

In a statement, Mattel says the idea was to honor one of the “most important painters in Mexico” along with other women from around the world who can inspire girls and women, “as an example that you can always achieve your dreams.”

In life, Kahlo suffered from numerous health attacks, including becoming ill with polio as a child and later, suffering an accident that caused lifelong spinal problems. She also endured a complicated relationship with her husband-painter Diego Rivera.

The launch of the new Frida Kahlo Barbie doll was announced Tuesday. On Wednesday, the family of Frida Kahlo said that Mattel did not ask for permission to use the image of the painter. Her great niece, who is the sole owner of the Frida Kahlo rights, asked the company to regularize the situation regarding this issue.

“The company Mattel does not have the proper authorization to use the image of Frida Kahlo,” says a statement released on networks adding that the family does not know the legal origin of the Mattel project called “Barbie Inspiring Women Series Frida Kahlo Doll.”

Other new Barbies part of the Inspiring Women Series include Amelia Earhart and Katherine Johnson.