During the Oscars earlier this year, Zendaya Coleman’s hair was the talk of the town after Fashion Police’s Giuliana Rancic said Coleman’s lock extensions looked like they smelled like “patchouli oil or weed” during E!’s fashion recap. Those comments didn’t sit well with many people because of their racist undertones and stereotypes. They also didn’t bode well for Rancic’s career, and one-by-one people left the show.
In a recent interview with Galore magazine, Coleman looked back on the incident and how her upbringing shaped her response. “I think it’s all just how I was raised. My parents are both educators, and the way they raised me was to always be aware of what’s going on in my business as well as in my personal life. My parents never really sheltered me from anything. They were always very open with me, which is probably why I’m able to be real,” Coleman explained.
‘'I could have clapped back and gone off. Of course I wanted to, everyone wants to do that. I just kept thinking there were other young people dealing with the same kind of issue who were watching me to see how I would respond,” Coleman stated.
At the time, Coleman stated that she wore her hair in locks to “showcase them in a positive light and to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”
Because of Coleman’s positivity and standing up for what she believes in, Mattel is celebrating the young star by designing a Barbie doll in her image.
Coleman admitted, in an interview with Yahoo!, that growing up, she didn’t have a Barbie that looked like her, so she’s honored to represent the company.
“When I was little, I didn’t have one that looked like me, so I couldn’t connect with her in that way,” Coleman explained. “But getting to visit the Mattel offices and see Barbie’s vision for the future … it was really cool. I was able to see how they plan to diversify, broadening the horizons and the image of Barbie, and make it more, you know, open. I left the office feeling it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”
Coleman’s doll will be unveiled Sept. 26 during the Barbie Rock ’n Royals Concert Experience at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. In addition to a night of fun, proceeds from the event will benefit the VH1 Save the Music Foundation.