By: Robert Lovi By: Robert Lovi | September 1, 2022 | People Style & Beauty
You would think a powerhouse would be taking a break after years of innumerable accolades and a long successful trajectory, but that is not the case for the iconic Gloria Estefan.
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I join the Zoom call, but my camera is not working. I excuse myself to the publicist, and I am sad I can't show my face. Minutes later, Gloria joins. Next to her was one of the best birthday gifts she could have asked for, a Barbie made in her image to honor her legacy as one of the most successful artists of all time.
She turns her camera off, but her enthusiastic energy and cheerful voice still grace me. I ask her, what Gloria has been up to, and she laughs and says, "What have I not been up to? is actually a better question."
"Let's see; I narrated the documentary 'Miami Wild' for the Smithsonian Institute and 'Father of the Bride' came out this year. I did 'Vivo' last year. We just finished the Estefan family Christmas album that is coming out probably by October 1. My daughter, my grandson, and I are doing two original songs and 11 Christmas classics that we chose with Shelly Berg, the head and dean of the Frost School of Music. He made spectacular arrangements, so that's coming out. And Barbie is coming out for my birthday!" she says enthusiastically. They have only made 50,000 dolls in her image as part of the signature music collection.
Gloria says she sent Barbie her thigh-high boots and jacket from the "Get On Your Feet Tour," which is the image they chose for the doll. "She is as accurate as they could possibly make her down to the beauty mark under my eyes. So I am beyond thrilled," she adds.
I ask her why she chose "Get On Your Feet" as the inspiration for the doll. She tells me there were two other iconic looks of hers that they discussed, but chose this one in particular because it has a lot of cultural elements.
The torero look of Spain inspires the doll's jacket because her grandfather was from Asturias. She says there's a Middle Eastern motive because of Emilio's background and the fact that they've been together so long that she practically feels Lebanese. Then there's a Cuban pattern on the pants. "The thigh-high boots, definitely not Cuban. But they represent more of the American and fashion side of the culture. So the look was a mix of the different parts of my background, and that's why I chose it, and it's a lot of fun," she says. "It comes with jewelry and accessories. It's got a microphone, and I thought that would be the coolest look for her."
I ask her about her reaction when Barbie reached out. She excitedly tells me she got a call from her lawyer, who revealed Mattel had reached out wanting to make a Barbie in her image. "I go, 'Oh my god.' I was overjoyed because Barbie is iconic. I played with Barbies since I was a kid; she's an American icon," she says. Gloria reveals that even though she's gotten a lot of outstanding awards, her family's reaction to the Barbie announcement has been the biggest. "When I heard that they were going to do this, I thought, 'wow, that's a very cool thing and really unique, and I'm thrilled to have them put out this Barbie' I know my fans are going to go crazy when they see this," she adds.
Gloria tells me they worked for over two years on the Barbie, but every step of the process was a joy, and she has been involved in everything. "I have been involved every step from inception to deciding what clothing she would wear to deciding eyes, lips, nose, even down to the mark under my eye. It's been a hand-in-hand experience," she says.
We discuss what her Barbie means for her inner child, the Hispanic community, and her fans. She says it's really cool to have someone be able to hold her in their hands or give little girls something that may look like them, that has their curly hair that they can go online and see the image of the Barbie and where the look came from. "Every Latina or Latino can see that we have crossed over into one of the most American images, which is Barbie. They have done a good job of evolving through the years and diversifying and expanding their look. Barbie has had over 200 careers. So for women, they have stepped it up and grown along with the times and the things that need to happen," she says.
She tells me she looks forward to little girls and her fans being able to have this because it's going to be a big collector's item for them.
At this point, Gloria has told me everything about her Barbie, so to conclude the interview, I ask her to give our readers some advice on how to be successful and confident like herself.
"Be prepared," she says. "I used to be a big procrastinator, and I actually learned from my daughter because I do so many things that a lot of the time I was exhausted, and I left stuff to the last moment. But from her, I learned that the more prepared you are with everything, the easier it's going to go, and it's best to know what you're talking about and keep evolving and growing."
She tells me she has been pretty secure in her own skin, but that is something that came with her. "I don't need someone to tell me that I'm great at anything. I've been fortunate to have made a living doing what I love; communicating with people through music is the biggest blessing. So I would say if you don't know your limitations, work toward reducing them and toward your goal in a strong way. Like if there's a class you could take or something you can learn that will hone your skills, then absolutely work on that, and that will increase your confidence," she says.
We finalize the interview by showing gratitude and saying goodbye to each other. I leave feeling excited about this Barbie, ready to get my hands on it as soon as possible. After all, Gloria says, "I know the fans are going to get a birthday present from me when they see this happening."
Photography by: Courtesy Mattel