Meet Mutya, The New Filipina Barbie Doll We Can’t Get Enough Of

I know what you’re thinking. Barbie may not be the best role model for children (especially with all the unrealistic body standards), but we’ve got to hand it to Mattel, they’ve definitely put in effort to try and be inclusive.

In 2014, American Girl discontinued their one and only Asian American doll and we were devastated. After all, it’s not often that our little ones get the opportunity to see their culture and experiences reflected in something as mainstream as an American Girl doll. This is why we were three times happier when, while looking for an alternative Asian doll, we discovered that Barbie has been creating ethnically diverse Barbie dolls for years.

Most recently, a Filipina Barbie doll named Mutya Barbie has been added to the roster. Mutya is the third face in the Global Glamour Collection which also features Tribal Beauty Barbie and Venetian Muse Barbie.

Mutya Barbie was designed by Carlyle Nuera as his debut doll for The Barbie Collection. Needless to say, he made sure every single detail was given proper attention. It seems every aspect of the dress pays homage to Filipino culture. Not only did he choose to dress Mutya in a terno, a traditional Filipino dress worn on special occasions by women in the early 1900’s, but even the details of the dress try to capture the many aspects of Filipino culture and fashion.


Photo courtesy of Mattel

Nuera spoke to and gave more details about the beautiful doll:

“Mutya” means pearl or beauty or muse; it’s a girl’s name, and is also used in the titles of beauty pageants in the Philippines. Mutya Barbie® will have the Kira face sculpt; I know a lot of collectors have a lot of love and nostalgia for that face sculpt, as do I, since that was a face sculpt I grew up with!

Her organza overdress is a take on the terno, with the unmistakeable butterfly sleeves. The organza’s print references textiles of the different tribes in the Philippines, as well as the sun from the flag. The embroidery on the hem is inspired by the sampaguita, a jasmine flower that is the national flower of the Philippines. The details of Mutya Barbie’s jewelry refer back to tambourine jewelry as well.


If you’re looking to get Mutya on your shelf, you may have to move quickly. Mutya Barbie has a limited release of only 4,400 dolls and we have a feeling she’ll be sold out pretty quick.


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Why Asian Barbie Dolls Are Important

When I was a little girl, I had a lot of dolls. I mean a lot of dolls. There were Barbie dolls cluttering my toy box, Cabbage Patch dolls lining my window sill and Ragdolls taking up most of my bed.

Despite my ever-growing collection, I noticed there was one doll in particular that I favored above the rest. She was the one doll that went on family vacations with me, accompanied me to the dinner table and was the only one in my arms for nap time.

As a child, I couldn’t figure out why I played favorites with her. Now as an adult, the answer is obvious: she was my only Asian doll. I quickly realized it wasn’t favoritism at all. It was my natural craving to find anything that looked like me in a toybox filled with blond hair and blue eyes. It was the craving to know that the way I looked was “pretty enough” to be created into a doll. It was the craving to know that it was okay to look different.

This is probably why there is quite some sadness over the recent news of American Girl discontinuing their only Asian American doll. Our community has lost an already rare opportunity for our little ones to see their culture and experiences reflected in mainstream/popular culture.

Luckily for us, in the midst of this bad news, we discovered something incredible. While looking for alternate Asian dolls that our little ones could have instead of an American Girl doll, we uncovered something even better.

As it turns out, Barbie, the world’s most popular series of dolls, saw the necessity in having diversity among their dolls. We found everything from Korean and Filipino Barbies to Japanese Kens.

Now don’t get us wrong. We’re aware of the various problems that come along with the Barbie franchise and we certainly don’t want our children facing unrealistic expectations to be thin, but having Asians portrayed in such a mainstream fashion is clearly a win for us. Imagine children going home with these and gaining a curiosity for the cultural significance of their Barbie’s dress or headpiece or jewelry. Imagine children having dolls that make them proud of their ethnic makeup.

Unfortunately, many of these very limited-edition dolls are no longer available from Mattel and are probably in the hands of hardcore doll collectors. Maybe if we cross our fingers enough, we can get these Barbies back? We could certainly use them.

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Philippines Barbie® Doll

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China Barbie® Doll

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India Barbie® Doll

barbie 4

Japan Ken® Doll

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Japan Barbie® Doll

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Japan Barbie® Doll

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Happy New Year™ Barbie® Doll

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Sumatra-Indonesia Barbie® Doll

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Thai Barbie® Doll

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India Barbie® Doll 2nd Edition

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Japanese Barbie® Doll 2nd Edition

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Chinese Barbie® Doll

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Japanese Barbie® Doll 1st edition

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Malaysian Barbie® Doll

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Korean Barbie® Doll

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India Barbie® Doll