Strictly star Rose Ayling-Ellis unveils first Barbie doll with hearing aids

Strictly Come Dancing star Rose Ayling-Ellis has teamed up with Barbie to unveil their first doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids.

The EastEnders actress, who won the dance competition in 2021, features in the Rose, Barbie & Friends campaign.

She is photographed alongside a cast of diverse models who reflect the new line of dolls, which includes the first Ken doll with vitiligo, a Barbie with a prosthetic limb and another with a wheelchair.

Rose, who has been deaf since birth, said: ‘It’s so important for children to be able to see themselves represented in the toys they play with.

‘When I was little, I would draw hearing aids on to my Barbie dolls to make them look like me, so I am thrilled that Mattel is releasing more dolls that encourage kids to celebrate and embrace their differences.’

Rose’s Barbie, who sports a high brunette ponytail and wears a floral mini-dress and chunky pink boots, also has pink hearing aids – naturally.

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Mattel consulted with experts on the dolls in order to accurately portray the hearing aids.

Educational audiologist Dr Jen Richardson said she was ‘honoured’ to work on the line.

‘It’s inspiring those who experience hard of hearing reflected in a doll,’ she said.

‘I’m beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them.’

Since joining the cast of EastEnders in 2020, Rose has broken down barriers between the hearing and deaf communities and ticked off many ‘firsts’.

She was the first deaf character to use British Sign Language (BSL) in Albert Square, as well the first deaf contestant to appear on Strictly.

Her touching silent routine with partner Giovanni Pernice also scooped the 2022 Bafta award for the year’s ‘must-see moment’.

She also became the first celebrity to use BSL to read a CBeebies bedtime story.

The latest additions to the Barbie Fashionistas line, where the Barbie brand delivers its most diversity and inclusion, are available in the UK from Thursday.

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