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Helen Mirren, Kylie Minogue and More Role Models Get Barbies for International Women's Day (Exclusive)

Mattel honored eight game-changing women worldwide with their own dolls

<p>Mattel Inc.</p> Helen Mirren and Kylie Minogue with their Barbies

Mattel Inc.

Helen Mirren and Kylie Minogue with their Barbies

These Barbies are all about empowerment.

In honor of International Women's Day on March 8, Mattel is honoring eight women role models from around the globe with their own one-of-a-kind Barbie doll.

This celebration of women also just so happens to coincide with Barbie's own 65th birthday, which is March 9 — a fitting way to honor women this whole week.

<p>Mattel Inc.</p> Shania Twain with her Barbie doll

Mattel Inc.

Shania Twain with her Barbie doll

The role models being honored with their own Barbies this International Women's Day are:

  • Viola Davis (United States): Actress, activist, author

  • Shania Twain (Canada): Musician, style icon

  • Helen Mirren (United Kingdom): Actress, advocate for women

  • Kylie Minogue (Australia): Musician

  • Maira Gomez (Brazil): Content creator

  • Lila Avilés (Mexico): Director, producer and screenwriter

  • Nicole Fujita (Japan): Model, TV personality

  • Enissa Amani (Germany): Comedian, activist

"Girls in particular need to be able to see women telling their own stories, writing their own narratives, living out their own dreams, and we're happy to honor these women in celebration of Barbie's 65th," Kim Culmone, senior vice president and head of design for dolls, tells PEOPLE exclusively of the lineup Mattel has created for International Women's Day.

Related: Barbie Collectors Dish on ‘Holy Grail’ Dolls and $600K Sales — Just Don’t Ask How Many They Own!

<p>Mattel Inc.</p> Shania Twain, Helen Mirren, Kylie Minogue, and Viola Davis as Barbies

Mattel Inc.

Shania Twain, Helen Mirren, Kylie Minogue, and Viola Davis as Barbies

The one-of-a-kind dolls, which were created especially for the role models, will not be sold in stores, but instead are given to each woman as a gesture of gratitude for the work they've done.

"For many years, we realized we had an opportunity not only to position Barbie as a role model, but to use the brand to create likeness dolls of real women to give girls exposure to real people breaking through glass ceilings and achieving amazing things," says Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and chief brand officer for Mattel to PEOPLE exclusively. "This year we're honoring an amazing group of women most notably known as storytellers, songwriters and actors because we believe that storytelling is such a critical way to inspire and communicate and help people appreciate the journeys that these amazing women have been through."

Creating the dolls in each role model's likeness is a delicate process that takes months for the design team, and it's fully collaborative — not just for the designers, but for the role models as well. The creatives at Mattel worked with the women to make sure the doll embodied their entire essence — from each strand of hair to the tips of their toes.

Related: Do These Barbie Dolls Actually Look Like the Stars They're Supposed to Resemble? You Decide

<p>Mattel Inc.</p> Nicole Fujita, Enissa Amani, Lila Aviles, and Maira Gomez as Barbies

Mattel Inc.

Nicole Fujita, Enissa Amani, Lila Aviles, and Maira Gomez as Barbies

Zlatan Kusnoor, senior creative manager, worked on Twain's doll, and he tells PEOPLE that it was "really interesting picking apart somebody's face at such a granular level." As someone who doesn't typically work directly with designing dolls — he works more behind the scenes with Barbie's social media — he found this process to be really "incredible."

"We landed in such a perfect spot with her doll, she approved it right away, which was very exciting," he says. "We designed her with this amazing outfit from the 'Man! I Feel Like a Woman' video with contemporary hair — the pink hair that she wears on tour sometimes now."

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“Honestly, I wanted this Barbie to make little 6-year-old Viola squeal," Davis shared in a press release. "It is my biggest gift to her...my lifelong mission and legacy to make her feel pretty, seen, and worthy. No words...just joy.”

<p>Mattel Inc.</p> 65th Anniversary Barbie

Mattel Inc.

65th Anniversary Barbie

“I was telling stories through my music by the time I was 10 years old," Twain said in a press release. "Writing stories and being able to share them with friends, family, and even the world has always been cathartic and felt like a way to manifest the future I wanted for myself. I applaud Barbie for encouraging girls to create their own narratives and I’m honored to serve as a storyteller and role model during their 65th anniversary year. Dreaming is wonderful, but being able to put those dreams into action is a crucial step that Barbie helps girls visualize.”

Mirren added in a press release that she absolutely loves her Barbie — especially that she has her own mini Oscar and blue hair!

"To be chosen by Barbie as a Role Model is a huge compliment, and something I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams happening to me at this stage in my life," she said. "It's a very special thing, and something I can add to my list of my favourite achievements; becoming a Dame of the British Empire, having an Oscar, having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame-and having my own Barbie!"

The global dolls are part of Mattel's massive launch this week for Barbie's 65th anniversary, which also includes a limited edition doll, inspired by the original 1959 Barbie. The company is also rolling out a number of other new toys and products to commemorate more than six decades of inspiring girls and women everywhere that they can be anything — and anyone — they want.

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