A Barbie doll was made in the shape of a real cosmonaut as part of a campaign in Russia to encourage girls to aim high and be “feminine” at the same time.
Anna Kikina, 36, is currently the only Russian woman slated to travel to orbit, 58 years after Valentina Tereshkova became the world’s first space woman.
The married cosmonaut, who is scheduled to take off on her maiden flight at the end of next year, posed with the doll that was modeled after her.
The Russian space agency claimed that cosmonaut Barbie showed that “any dream can come true – you just have to believe in yourself and move forward.
“An impressive example of this is the story of Anna Kikina, an engineer who once dared to take a bold step and try her hand at astronautics.
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“Today Anna is a role model for many.
“She is both strong and feminine, brave and gentle, wise and with an excellent sense of humor – a radiant personality in which professionalism and warmth are harmoniously combined.”
The agency – Roscosmos – asked: “Who said that conquering the vastness of the universe is not a woman’s business?”
Even so, only four out of 124 Soviet or Russian cosmonauts were female.
Cosmonaut Kikina was trained as an emergency engineer, but also worked as a presenter on Radio Siberia with hobbies such as white water rafting and skydiving.
She said, “I’m excited to become one of the role models for Barbie.
“I believe my example will show girls that their dreams are achievable and that it is absolutely feasible to become what you want.
“You just have to do it.”
As a child, she “had no dream” about going into space, she admitted.
“If I had had a Barbie cosmonaut doll, the idea of becoming an astronaut would probably have occurred to me even then.”
The doll emphasizes that “everyone has a chance” to go into space.
“It is not necessary that every girl who plays with a Barbie like this wants to be an astronaut.
“The most important thing is that they all know they have a choice, they have the right to choose – any job they like.”
Still, she is now the only woman in the cosmonaut corps.
“It’s not boring for me,” she said.
“But it would be better if there were more women.
“There are so many women and men on earth, but for some reason there is only one woman in the corps.
“I hope and believe that the next selection, which is already underway, will select more women.”