Salma Hayek Slams Mattel's Frida Kahlo Barbie Doll

Salma Hayek is slamming toymaker Mattel after the release of its new Barbie doll collection highlighting “Inspiring Women,” featuring Mexican artist and women’s rights activist, Frida Kahlo.

(Photo: Mattel / Barbie)

Hayek, who played Kahlo in 2002 and earned an Oscar nomination for her role, took to Instagram on Sunday to share her upset for the creation that she believes misses the point of the late artist’s life efforts.

“Frida Kahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else. She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie,” Hayek wrote with two thumbs down emojis, followed by the same message in Spanish.

(Photo: Instagram / @salmahayek)

Hayek is not the only one angry about the new Barbie doll though. Kahlo’s family and corporation, which possess the rights to her estate and creations, allege the Mexican icon’s image was stolen and distorted.

According to The Independent, Kahlo’s family is accusing Mattel of misrepresenting her appearance and disregarding the very values she stood for, like challenging post-colonialism, gender, class and race in Mexican societies.

Kahlo’s great great-niece Mara de Anda Romeo claims Mattel doesn’t have the rights to use her aunt’s image, with the corporate lawyer stating that his client is not seeking monetary gain, but asking that toymaker to redesign the doll.

“We will talk to them about regularizing this situation, and by regularizing I mean talking about the appearance of the doll, its characteristics, the history the doll should have to match what the artist really was,” Romeo’s lawyer Pablo Sangri said in a statement to The Guardian.

Critics took to social media about the Kahlo doll, stating that it doesn’t exactly reflect Kahlo in image either, expressing that her nearly conjoined eyebrows are not accurately portrayed, her figure was not truthful and that the costume worn is not similar in respects to the Tehuana-style dresses the artist wore. Moreover, many complained that her features lacked any trace of the childhood polio or injuries caused by a bus crash that debilitated Kahlo for lengthy periods.

Mattel released a statement telling fans of Kahlo that they worked with the Panama-based corporation that “owns all the rights,” and that they were “actively” participating in its creation. However, the corporation said it got rights through Kahlo’s niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, more than a decade ago.

Ahead of International Women’s Day on Thursday, Barbie honored 17 historical and modern-day role models from around the world, revealing in a press statement that the role models come from diverse backgrounds and fields breaking boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls.

The new collection is looking to ignite a conversation around the importance of positive role models.


“As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day because we know that you can't be what you can't see,” Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Barbie said. “Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”

The Frida Kahlo Barbie as part of the Inspiring Women Dolls Series, including Katherine Johnson and Amelia Earhart, is now available to buy from Mattel.