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The FQ believes you should spend 5 minutes with someone you don’t know each day. Our community is filled with the most extraordinary conscious leaders in the world who have wisdom to share in our mission to change the equation and close the gender gap. Here’s someone from The FQ community to know now. It will be 5 minutes you won’t forget!
It's official: Barbieland has taken over. The new film, directed by Greta Grewig, not only portrays Barbie in her many forms, but it explores equality through a creative new lens. Ruth Handler, as portrayed in the film, created Barbie at Mattel in 1959. In that same tradition, there is an extraordinary woman at Mattel who is leading the Barbie brand today who you might not know. Let’s change that.

The FQ caught up with Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls Portfolio, who fills us in on where Barbie is going and how the brand's evolution is inspiring us to take action towards shaping a more equitable future.
Image of Lisa McKnight, EVP and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls Portfolio
Image of Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls Portfolio.
The FQ: First, congratulations on the incredible smash success of Barbie the movie! It’s no secret that this was the summer of Barbie-mania - before the film was ever released.  What was it about the marketing strategy that contributed to this being such a highly anticipated film with both women and men from all backgrounds?

Lisa McKnight: We worked hand in hand with Warner Bros. Pictures since the very beginning of movie discussions to ensure Barbie the Movie offers something for everyone, inviting fans to connect with Barbie through fashion, gaming, live events, beauty and more. We have been on a journey to continuously evolve and modernize the Barbie brand, becoming a real reflection of the world kids see around them. 

Mattel’s commitment to inclusivity shines through in the film, allowing even more people to express and see themselves in Barbie. We couldn’t be more thrilled with the response to our efforts! The world is truly embracing Barbie in a major way.

How did you approach the film being made to ensure there was the right balance to allow director Greta Gerwig creative freedom to explore themes of both the patriarchy and the matriarchy…while also staying true to the Barbie brand?

LM: We worked closely with Greta and the Warner Bros. Pictures team to ensure the film captured the core essence of Barbie and her values, while giving Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach space to craft this incredible story.

We couldn’t have asked for a more fitting director to depict the Barbie brand, given Gerwig's signature themes centered around the celebration of women and their ambitions. The movie wholeheartedly champions our mission of diversity, inclusivity and female empowerment – all with a bow of fun music and fashion!
In the film, there is a comical take on the corporate environment at Mattel, specifically around the fictional all male executive team. How has telling this story helped Mattel explore its own company identity and role in advancing women in the workplace?

LM: Championing and elevating women's leadership and representation lies at the core of our brand mission. The narrative depicted in the film serves as a reminder of how far we’ve come since 1959 and the work that still lies ahead, reinforcing our dedication to empowering women, breaking down barriers, and creating an environment where all individuals, regardless of their gender, can thrive and contribute to our shared success.

Now that the movie is out and breaking box office records around the world, what’s next for Barbie and what does it mean for the future of the Barbie brand?

LM: Barbie the Movie could not be more perfectly timed to maximize Barbie’s momentum in mainstream pop culture, as she shows up everywhere from apparel and home décor to digital gaming. Ahead of her 65th anniversary in 2024, we are thrilled that the film has allowed Barbie to reach a wider audience and re-engage our former fan, reconceptualizing the brand for future generations.

Lightning Round:

What Barbie was your favorite growing up?
My favorite was Malibu Barbie – she is the ultimate, original surfer girl!

What values do you share with Barbie?
Barbie and I both believe in leading with empathy.

What’s your favorite song from the Barbie soundtrack?  
I love them all! If I had to pick one stuck in my head, it has to Billie Eilish’s ‘What Was I Made For’.

Who is your favorite character in the film or favorite quote?
My favorite scene is America’s monologue about the complexity of being a woman. I’ve seen the movie over a dozen times, and still get chills.
FQ Pulse Commute to Work Survey

Our Trending Post on Barbie
QUote of America Ferrera from Barbie
Give America Ferrera the Oscar! We agree with Lisa, her monologue in the #Barbie movie stole the show 👏 What did you think? Join the conversation on our Instagram and LinkedIn!
Quote from Shelley Zalis
Yes, Barbie can lead the room. Read Shelley Zalis’ article in Forbes, where she recounts why she learned to channel her inner Barbie in the boardroom.

Here’s more of what The FQ has to say about Barbie:
  • "We need more weird Barbies in the world. We don't have enough women embracing the insanity, following their gut, the reading of the teal leaves, and the unconventional witchery that keeps many women on the outskirts of mainstream gendered norms. Weird Barbies unite!" - Amber Coleman-Mortley, Sr. Director, Community and Culture
  • “Barbie is a fun, colorful, original film amid a world of cookie-cutter stories, sequels, and remakes - its success proving beyond a doubt that stories can be written for women, by women, and still be beloved by all.” - Paige McGovern, Tech Lead
  • “I am successful being my whole self. Barbie - and Elle Woods - taught me that.” - Caroline Dettman, Chief Marketing Officer, shares why the Barbie film inspired her to think back on her creative journey.
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