Meet Corinne Tan, American Girl’s First Chinese American Doll

The newly-designed doll “braves new trails as she champions family, kindness, and respect.”

American Girl Brands, a subsidiary of Mattel, has launched its latest American Girl doll and she is the first Chinese American doll on the brand’s roster. Her name is Corinne, she likes to ski, and hang out with her sister Gwynn.

The creation of Corinne is timely following reports of racist remarks and deadly violence against Asian and Asian Americans which saw a dramatic increase as the pandemic rapidly spread across the United States. According to her backstory:

“Growing up with her Chinese American family in Aspen, Colorado, Corinne loves hitting the slopes, being a big sister, and training her new puppy to be a search-and-rescue dog. Although surefooted and brave on the mountain, Corinne must find her balance as she adjusts to her new blended family and the courage to speak up when faced with xenophobic comments. Through Corinne’s stories, young readers learn that home means being surrounded by the people they love and to be proud of who they are, while advocating for positive change.”

 
 

To develop the characters, American Girl engaged award-winning author, Wendy Wan-Long Shang, along with freelance illustrator Peijin Yang, to create two books: Corinne and Corinne to the Rescue.

“We created Corinne to be a positive role model our fans can look up to and learn from as we all work toward a world where everyone is treated fairly and with respect.”

According to Shang, “What I really hope is that there is some part of Corinne’s story that makes readers feel seen, whether it’s because they are Asian American, or because they’re part of a blended family, or because they love skiing. I think when readers feel seen, they realize that they matter and their experiences matter, and that they are meant to be the stars of their own stories!”

 
 

Mattel adds that in the process to create the doll, “American Girl designers consulted with the author and advisers on several exclusive features, including Corinne’s hairstyle and color, skin tone, and newly designed eyes.”

Corinne Tan and Gwynn

“As we celebrate the new year, we’re excited to welcome Corinne and Gwynn Tan to our popular Girl of the Year lineup with meaningful stories that reflects what it means to be an American girl today,” said Jamie Cygielman, General Manager of American Girl.

“While filled with outdoor adventure and fun, Corinne’s message is, ultimately, about the power of love—between families, friends, and communities—and the strength and courage that comes from it. We created Corinne to be a positive role model our fans can look up to and learn from as we all work toward a world where everyone is treated fairly and with respect.”

The following team of advisers also supported Corinne’s development, “offering real-world insights and weighing in on key products for authenticity and accuracy,” said a release.

  • Lori Spence: Ski patrol director at Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol and avalanche dog trainer
  • Professor William Wei: Colorado State Historian and professor of modern Chinese history at the University of Colorado Boulder
  • Professor Jennifer Ho: Professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, president of the Association of American Studies, and an anti-Asian racism expert
  • Greta Gessele: Certified figure skating coach who started skating competitively at the age of six and an Aspen native with deep local knowledge
  • Angela Liu: American Girl digital marketing manager and diversity task force member

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