How did you land your great job with Barbie?
I was taking a fashion computer class at the local community college. The instructor knew that I was job hunting and recommended that I call Mattel. My dad had given me a LA Times newspaper article featuring an African American Barbie designer when he knew that I was headed to Design School. I pulled out the saved article, and cold called Ms. Kitty Black Perkins. I left her a message, with no response for a month or two. I called back, and she answered this time noting that she was looking for an assistant. Two interviews later and a sewn design of a red jumpsuit, I was now a Barbie design assistant. I couldn’t believe that Barbie was my favorite doll as a little girl, she inspired me to become a designer, and now I was designing for her!
What made you design the AKA doll?
One of our advisors on the Barbie Collector Panel suggested that Mattel design a commemorative AKA doll to celebrate their Centennial year. I was honored to design such an influential doll for the first African American Sorority.
Barbie has now launched the So In Style Barbie! Tell us how that came about?
Designing the AKA doll was such a rewarding experience, creatively and culturally that it inspired me to initiate my vision for the So In Style line. I first created personalities for the three key characters, Grace, Trichelle, and Kara in the summer of 2007. My daughter and mom’s in my community inspired me to create a line of dolls that were aspirational and authentic. The So In Style Barbie dolls come in different skin tones, feature fuller facial features and curly hair. Also, the dolls come with a little sister to encourage girls to mentor and be positive role models in their community. The dolls are all about fun, fashion, and friendship which all little girls can relate to.
Are you the coolest mom at PTA meetings lol? What does your family think of you working for Barbie?
Since the official launch of the dolls was in September, the PTA is not yet aware of since the school year has just started. My family and friends are very proud and supportive of my accomplishments. I have to say that my 6 year old daughter is one of my biggest fans. When she saw me on the Barbie.com site, she shared a hug and tears and let me know that she was proud of me.
What’s your absolute favorite thing about working for Barbie and why?
I love working for Mattel and designing for Barbie! As a child I loved mixing and matching her fashions and styling her hair. That’s what I do everyday on another level! I know that a happy inspired childhood creates happy inspired powerful women. So my absolute favorite thing about working for Barbie would have to be that I’m living my dream because of her she’s giving me the opportunity to share my dream and inspiration to other girls.