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Here is a remarkable way to head into the new year: American Girl just announced that the "Girl of the Year" doll for 2023 is Kavika Sharma, the very first South Asian doll to earn the title in the history of the company.
While folks focus on Barbiecore, another famous toy company, American Doll, just introduced the public to Kavi, an Indian American girl who loves to perform, "whether it's learning the latest dance moves or singing show tunes."
The 11-year-old gal resides in New Jersey with her Hindu family and absolutely loves the theater - a convenient passion given that she lives fairly close to New York's Broadway district, where she actually is planning on seeing Wicked (live - not the Wicked movie!) for the first time ever as a way to celebrate her 12th birthday.
Of course, as any regular would-be teenager, Kavi is also exploring her friendships, family dynamics and school work.
The doll is currently available online and will launch in retail stores starting January 1, 2023.
What's more, some of the most remarkable aspects of Kavi's life will be chronicled in a new illustrated paperback journal that will be released alongside the doll and a hardcover novel dubbed It's Showtime, Kavi, in March of 2023. The book was written by New York Times bestselling author Varsha Bajaj. Expect the story to dissect exciting aspects of Indian culture through the eyes of Kavi and her family.
"Kavi's story is important to all the young readers who will see parts of their lives represented," Varsha said in a statement. "I took immense delight in showcasing slivers of Indian culture, including dance, yoga traditions, food, clothing, and magical festivals like Diwali and Holi."
"Kavi joins the company’s long line of contemporary characters, introduced more than 20 years ago, that represent a wide range of backgrounds to reflect what it means to be an American girl today," the company notes in an official statement. "Through Kavi, young readers will learn the importance of finding a healthy rhythm in life and feel inspired to pursue their own unique talents and reach for their dreams."
This isn't American Doll's first release of its kind. In fact, for decades, the company has been putting out limited edition dolls meant to shed light on the cultural themes and social issues that the world, and children, at large contend with.
As fans may remember, the 2021 Girl of the Year was Corinne Tan, the first ever Asian American doll to hold the title. A year later, Claudie, a Harlem Renaissance-era doll, made a splash. And who can forget 2019's Joss Kendrick, the first Girl of the Year doll with hearing loss? Two years before, in 2017, the Girl of the Year doll was a young Black activist with a stutter named Gabriela McBride.
American Doll is actually putting its money where its mouth is this year by donating $25,000 to the Broadway Education Alliance's Camp Broadway effort in conjunction with the release of Kavi.
In addition to all of that, the company is launching a free virtual museum that kids will be able to use to explore the doll's room and play games with her as well.
Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.
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