American Girl Dolls have a special place in little kids’ hearts. Over time, they’ve added more diverse dolls so every child can feel represented. Now, they’re making their ad campaigns more inclusive as well—by featuring Ivy Kimble, a four-year-old model with Down syndrome.
Ivy is featured in the October catalog standing in front of a Christmas tree, wearing a sparkly red dress, and holding her American Girl baby doll.
“It’s a big deal for her,” Ivy’s mom Kristin Kimble told WLS-TV. “There’s not a lot of print or media with a lot of kids with Down syndrome.”
Kristin said that Ivy landing the American Girl ad was not only thrilling for her family—which includes three other daughters—but for anyone with a disability that’s underrepresented in the media.
“For us, we want to keep seeing kids of all abilities out there in print,” Kristin said. “I love that these companies are trying to make a conscious effort to continue to put them in print. My hope is that it continues to grow, but it stops being a conscious effort, and just becomes natural.”
“She’s adorable and great to work with, and the shots we captured with her for our holiday catalogues are beautiful,” a spokeswoman for American Girl told People. “We look forward to continuing our work in celebrating all girls.”
Including Ivy in the catalogue has opened up conversations about Down syndrome, says Kristin.
“My kids, people are asking them about Down syndrome now. ‘Oh, Ivy has Down syndrome and she’s in the American Girl catalog?'”
Other models like Ivy who have Down syndrome recently took part in New York fashion week, further moving the conversation forward. Spanish models Marian Avila and Australian model Madeline Stuart made a big splash on the runway.
While American Girl does not currently make a Down syndrome doll, they have taken some steps to increase diversity, including creating wheelchairs, crutches, an insulin pump, hearing aids, and service dogs for its dolls. Here’s hoping that Ivy’s popularity as a model pushes them to finally make a Down syndrome doll so little kids of all abilities can be represented!