‘Readers feel seen’: Meet Corinne Tan, American Girl’s first Chinese American ‘Girl of the Year’ doll

Asian American Girl Doll Corrine
  • American Girl recently unveiled Corinne Tan, the first Chinese American doll to join its annual "Girl of the Year" lineup.
  • The brand also released a companion doll named Gwynn, Corinne’s little sister.
  • Author Wendy Wan-Long Shang wrote two books detailing Corinne’s story.
  • A team of experts provided insight during the doll’s development for authenticity and accuracy.

Toy brand American Girl unveiled its first Chinese American “Girl of the Year” doll on Thursday. 

The 18-inch doll, named Corinne Tan, has made history as the first Chinese American to join American Girl’s popular annual lineup, according to a press release. The toy brand also released Corinne’s little sister, Gwynn, as its first-ever 14½-inch companion doll.

Corinne, who lives with her Chinese American family in Aspen, Colorado, “loves hitting the slopes, being a big sister, and training her new puppy.” 

Author Wendy Wan-Long Shang and freelance illustrator Peijin Yang worked together to develop the backstory and characters of “Corinne” and “Corinne to the Rescue,” two books about the latest addition to the “Girl of the Year” lineup.  

Corinne’s story aims to help its young audience in similar situations “embrace family change,” “share feelings,” “stand up to racism” and “tackle problems one step at a time.”

Shang said in a statement that she hopes Corinne can provide better representation for Asian Americans.

“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,” Shang said. “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!”

To make Corinne’s “exclusive features” – such as her “hair style and color, skin tone and newly designed eyes” – look as accurate and authentic as possible, American Girl consulted Shang and a team of advisers which included historian and modern Chinese history professor William Wei, anti-Asian racism expert and ethnic studies professor Jennifer Ho, Aspen native and figure skating coach Greta Gessele, American Girl digital marketing manager and diversity task force member Angela Liu and Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol Director Lori Spence. 

In line with the release, American Girl has partnered with AAPI Youth Rising (AYR), a student-led profit that “[brings] awareness to the rise in xenophobia against Asians in America and [calls] for positive change through education.”

The toy brand, which operates under toy company Mattel, is set to donate $25,000 to AYR’s ONE/180 pledge, which “asks schools and teachers across the country to include at least one classroom lesson about Asian American and Pacific Islander history and culture during the school year.” 

American Girl has created several events and released various content to commemorate Corinne’s debut, such as a livestream in partnership with PopSugar and a six-week Meet Corinne stop-motion series on American Girl’s YouTube channel. 

Featured Image via American Girl

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