Mazlan Othman, Malaysia's first astrophysicist is a Barbie fan as Mattel doll turns 60

A girl gets two Barbie dolls to take a cruise in a pink convertible. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A girl gets two Barbie dolls to take a cruise in a pink convertible. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Datuk Mazlan Othman rolled up to Barbie’s 60th birthday celebration in Kuala Lumpur after wrapping up an important meeting in Putrajaya.

The subject of the meeting? Figuring out how to prevent rockets from delivering weapons of mass destruction.

Mazlan, Malaysia’s first astrophysicist, eagerly said “yes” to the birthday invitation after learning that one of the upcoming releases from Barbie would show her delving into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) careers.

To mark the 60th anniversary of the world’s most famous fashion doll, a new line of career dolls was launched to encourage young girls to reach for the stars.

While many Stem professions appear inherently masculine due to the gender imbalance in its workforce, Mazlan proved that anyone can bring a touch of glamour to their jobs.

Datuk Mazlan Othman shares her experience of being the country’s first female astrophysicist. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Mazlan Othman shares her experience of being the country’s first female astrophysicist. — Picture by Hari Anggara

“I don’t have a lab coat hidden somewhere in my wardrobe. The best thing I had when I was very active in my research was actually a fur coat.

“This was because I was working in observatories high up in the mountains at temperatures of -15°C with one metre of snow outside,” she said.

By sharing her experiences, Mazlan hoped that she could inspire at least one of the young ladies in the crowd to become a scientist like her.

The 67-year-old also joked about Barbie’s eternal youth, putting forward a suggestion that the company should debut a doll with grey hair to match her golden years.

After six phenomenal decades of championing girls and their aspirations, Mattel Southeast Asia and Barbie hope to continue this legacy with their campaign titled “You Can Be Anything”.

The anniversary celebration at KL Tower gathered Malaysian female pioneers from a variety of fields including A Cut Above chief executive officer Datin Winnie Loo, supermodel Amber Chia, and FashionValet co-founder and dUCk Group founder Datin Vivy Yusof.

A runway show featuring 30 junior supermodels from Amber Chia Academy and six adult models from Limkokwing University entertained guests with dozens of pink outfits being paraded onstage.

A young model shows off two unique Barbie dolls during the fashion show. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A young model shows off two unique Barbie dolls during the fashion show. — Picture by Hari Anggara

The models highlighted 60 custom-styled Barbie dolls sporting clothes and hairstyles courtesy of the Limkokwing Fashion Club and A Cut Above Academy.

Vivy, a business mogul known for her Muslimah clothing and lifestyle products, has her hopes on collaborating with Barbie on a line of dolls clad in modest fashion.

The entrepreneur is already one step closer to her dream as dUCk previously released limited edition doll-sized headscarves for Barbie in partnership with Mattel Southeast Asia.

“I think women's empowerment is also about not having to show skin to look good. You don’t have to wear sexy clothes just to belong or to attract people.

“Barbie is revolutionising the fashion industry and as such a strong brand, they need to do more (with modest fashion),” she told Malay Mail.

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