American Girl’s latest “Girl of the Year” doll is the line’s first of Chinese descent.
The popular doll manufacturer unveiled Corinne Tan, a Chinese American skier, as its 2022 Girl of the Year on Thursday. “Girl of the Year” dolls, which were introduced in 2001, differ from other American Girl dolls by being based on modern characters with contemporary stories, rather than characters linked to different periods of American history.
“We created Corinne to be a positive role model our fans can look up to and learn from as we all work toward a world where everyone is treated fairly and with respect,” said Jamie Cygielman, general manager of American Girl, in a statement.
American Girl has released other Asian American dolls in the past, including Ivy Ling – a doll eventually discontinued from its historic line. More modern characters have included Jess, the biracial Japanese American “Girl of the Year” doll in 2006 – but Corinne is the first Chinese American “Girl of the Year,” the company confirmed.
To develop Corinne, American Girl enlisted children’s author Wendy Wan-Long Shang to create two books on the character, “Corinne” and “Corinne to the Rescue.” Shang said she hopes others see themselves in the new doll.
“What I really hope is that there is some part of Corinne’s story that makes readers feel seen, whether it’s because they are Asian American, or because they’re part of a blended family, or because they love skiing,” Shang said in a statement. “I think when readers feel seen, they realize that they matter and their experiences matter, and that they are meant to be the stars of their own stories!”
The Corinne doll, plus a book, retails for $110, with other accessories also available for purchase.
The release of the Corinne doll comes after more than a year of public hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Just last month, a man attacked a 61-year-old Asian woman with a rock, an incident that the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force is now investigating.
Though anti-Asian incidents occurred before Covid-19 struck, the pandemic led to a rise of public hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Between March 19, 2020 and September 30, 2021, more than 10,000 incidents against Asian American were reported to Stop Hate AAPI, which began tracking acts of racism and discrimination against Asian Americans during the pandemic.
As part of this year’s launch, American Girl also announced it would partner with AAPI Youth Rising, a nonprofit made up of young people raising awareness about xenophobia against Asian Americans. The company said it donated $25,000 to their cause.