Brianne West, Founder and CEO of beauty brand Ethique, has been named New Zealand’s role model of the year and immortalised in Barbie form and for her work inspiring the next generation of female leaders.
In celebration of International Day of the Girl, West has been recognised by Barbie Role Models for her work as an environmentalist and social entrepreneur with her very own Barbie doll.
West, who is passionate about protecting and restoring the environment, created Ethique and social impact investment fund Nous as a catalyst for social and environmental change within the world.
Mattel Inc has recognised West’s work for showing young women the importance of having a relationship with the environment.
“It’s incredible! I didn’t believe it at first, but it’s such an honour as it’s a really incredible programme working towards solving a huge problem,” says West.
“I was so horrified to find out that girls as young as five are already beginning to doubt their abilities, when compared to young boys, so it’s such an honour to try and help remove the ‘dream gap’ as Barbie have named it.”
West adds that she was heavily involved in the design process of creating her very own doll.
“It’s equal parts weird to have a mini me, but also awesome,” she says.
Read more: A Day in the Life: Ethique’s Brianne West
Mattel Inc has announced this year it is honouring 12 global female role models with dolls. Some of the others include Pat McGrath, makeup artist and founder of a makeup brand of the same name, and Shonda Rhimes, founder of the television production company Shondaland.
“It’s a real honour to be alongside women around the world doing incredible things. Also, having role models across all industries that are as diverse as the real world is enormously important,” adds West.
Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls says this programme is very important in influencing and encourage young females where, throughout the world, women are constantly underrepresented in leadership roles.
“We know that children are inspired by what they see around them, which is why it’s so important for young girls to see themselves reflected in role models who’ve daringly pushed past roadblocks and overcome the Dream Gap to become the brave women they are today,” says McKnight.
West adds that the role models programme was a perfect fit for her as she is already working towards encouraging more women and girls to enter STEM subjects and dream big.
“I want girls around the world to believe, truly believe, that they can achieve anything,” she says.
“I have privilege in many ways which is illustrative of our incredibly inequitable world, but what I never want to hold girls back is themselves, and their sense of confidence in their own intelligence and capacity to learn.”
Along with creating West her very own doll, Barbie is working alongside Inspiring Girls International, a charitable organisation to raise the aspirations of girls through the connection of Barbie Role Models.
Also, in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, Barbie is introducing the 2022 Career of the Year Eco-Leadership Teams, encouraging kids to play out their own sustainability stories.