"The doll that would make my sick little girl so happy."

When I first heard Barbie was getting a make-over, my heart jumped with excitement – but then it sank a little.

Don’t get me wrong, I think what Mattel is doing is fantastic – and long overdue.

Barbie will now come with three different body shapes: ‘curvy, tall and petite.’ She’ll also come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles. That’s a great message to send to many young girls.

Mattel’s new range of Barbies.

But there’s one special group of young girls who missed out. They’re special because they’re the girls that lose all their hair through no fault of their own – through alopecia or chemotherapy treatment.

My 8-year-old daughter, Jordyn is one of those girls. She’s a cancer survivor. And because she knows what it’s like to lose all her hair, Jordyn has set up a petition asking Mattel to bring bald Barbie to Australia.

Jordyn is a girly girl and loves her long curly hair. When she was diagnosed with Wilms Tumour, a cancer of the kidneys, we were crushed when we found out she’d lose a kidney. But Jordyn didn’t understand that. She was only 5. Jordyn was most crushed about losing her hair.

Bald barbie image supplied one use
What the bald Barbie might look like. Image: Supplied.

On her first day back at school, Jordyn didn’t want to remove her hat. I reassured her she was beautiful and eventually, Jordyn felt brave enough to take off her hat. But kids are too young to understand how to deal with these things without coming across as cruel. In addition to pointing and staring, Jordyn was called “a boy in a dress” and even “ugly.” After all the hospital appointments, needles, chemotherapy, missed opportunities to play and exhaustion, this was such a cruel twist for Jordyn.

But it wasn’t from malice; the kids were just too young to know better or understand the consequences of what they were saying. That didn’t matter. Jordyn was heartbroken.

Jordyn and her younger sister Charli came up with a creative solution themselves. When Charli heard how upset Jordyn was, she put a pair of tights on her head and said: “This is my beautiful long hair.”

Jordyn copied the simple, inventive gesture by putting tights on her own head – and I saw that gorgeous smile spread back across her face. It was a gesture of solidarity that was copied across social media after kids’ cancer charity Camp Quality posted the story on their social media pages.


People starting using the hashtags #Jordynisbeautiful and #tighthairdo and posting selfies of themselves with tights on their head, in solidarity with Jordyn.

We saw lots of celebrities do it: chef Manu Feildel, Big Brother winner Tim Dormer, Channel 7 newsreader Mark Ferguson, swimmer Eamon Sullivan, TV presenter Jessica Rowe, former Vogue Editor Kirstie Clements. It started a bit of a fashion trend, raised money for Camp Quality and restored Jordyn’s confidence.

Bald barbie tights on head. Images supplied one us only
Jordyn and her sister Charli came up with a creative solution and a number of celebrities got involved. Image: Supplied.

Now Jordyn is happily in remission. But not every child cancer patient has the opportunities to re-boost their self-esteem that Jordyn had. That’s why she was so keen to set up the petition – with my help – to ensure that other girls don’t have to go through the soul-destroying trauma of losing their hair like she did, and then getting bullied for it, or at the very least, stared at and pointed at.

It’s not just for the cancer patients either; toys like bald Barbie allow the hair loss process to be normalised so that siblings, peers, classmates and friends can understand what the cancer patient has been through, reducing the likelihood of the confronting stares and the upsetting name-calling.

Many young kids wrongly assume they can catch cancer so they were scared to come near Jordyn. Bald barbie would break down that fear and mystique.

Jordyn is now happily in remission. Image supplied: Tarin Miller.

Bald barbie actually already exists – her name is Ella and a successful petition in America saw her manufactured in small numbers.

So all Jordyn is asking, with my backing, is for a box of bald Barbies, or Ellas, to be shipped to every kids’ cancer ward in Australia.

It’d be a generous move by Mattel, at a small cost but with a major impact. Please bring bald barbie to Australia!

Jordyn’s petition currently has just over 6,000 signatures of support – there’s no upper limit, so please sign up and share.