The newest member of the American Girl doll family has brains, beauty and out-of-the-world ambition.
Luciana Vega, an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut was revealed as the 2018 doll of the year on Thursday during a segment on Good Morning America.
That announcement came while 20 girls filled the studio wearing NASA jumpsuits, with the group of youngsters each getting to take home one of the dolls before they are released in stores on Monday.
‘I think she looks amazing, but I also like that she has a backpack and it looks like a real astronaut,’ said one of the girls when asked what she thought of Luciana.
‘I really like that she is an astronaut and she is trying to inspire people,’ said another.
The big reveal on Thursday stuck with the space theme, as Luciana descended from the ceiling while the lights went out in the studio.
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Inter-girl-actic planetary: Luciana Vega (above), an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut was announced as the American Girl doll of the year for 2018
Space jam: The brown-haired and dark-eyed Luciana dreams of going to Mars and is a ‘natural born leader,’ ‘creative’ and ‘confident’
Defying gravity: For the big reveal on Thursday 20 youngsters filled the studio at Good Morning America (above), with one saying: I really like that … she is trying to inspire people’
Solar style: The doll will hit stores Monday along with a three-book series and ‘STEM-inspired outfits and accessories’
‘Luciana is our first character that’s really immersed in STEM,’ said Rebecca Dekuiper, a designer at American Girl.
‘We’ve had STEM products before, but we really wanted to do a whole character to show girls that STEM is cool.’
The team at American Girl doll was so committed to getting everything right they even worked with NASA employees while developing the doll.
Among the women the company worked with were Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, a NASA Astronaut; Dr. Ellen Stofan, former NASA chief scientist; Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center; and Maureen O’Brien, the manager of strategic alliances at NASA.
Dr. Behnken, who calls the doll Lucy, explained that she was involved through the entire process.
‘I was able to follow Lucy through all of her story and adventures, and provide feedback from an astronaut’s perspective on the authenticity of her story and the activities that she participated in,’ explained Dr. Behnken said.
‘I’ve been in space and fixed the Hubble space telescope, so I have some perspective on how we use robotics, how we train for robotics.’
Lucy in the sky with separately sold ‘STEM-inspired outfits and accessories’: American Girl worked with female NASA employees including an astronaut and former chief scientist to develop the doll and her backstory
Your girl is lovely, Hubble: Luciana is a role model for today’s girls – empowering them to defy stereotypes, embrace risks and failures, and chart their own course in life,’ said the company
Brainiac: ‘Luciana is our first character that’s really immersed in STEM,’ said Rebecca Dekuiper, a designer at American Girl.
In addition to the 18-inch doll that will be sold in the store in catalog, there is also a three-book series about Luciana’s life that will be released next week.
Those stories detail more about the ‘natural born leader,’ and follow her as she wins a scholarship to space camp in Alabama.
‘Luciana is a role model for today’s girls — empowering them to defy stereotypes, embrace risks and failures, and chart their own course in life — whatever the goal,’ said American Girl president Katy Dickson.
Luciana fans will also be able to purchase ‘STEM-inspired outfits and accessories’ for their new doll.
She follows in the footsteps of dancer and poet Gabriela McBride, who was the 2017 doll of the year.