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American Girl debuts first hearing-impaired doll

Joss Kendrick is "a fierce athlete born with hearing loss and a passion for surfing and competitive cheer."
Credit: Business Wire

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — American Girl debuted its 2020 Girl of the Year, and the doll is the first to be hearing-impaired.

In a release from Business Wire, Mattel described doll Joss Kendrick as "a fierce athlete born with hearing loss and a passion for surfing and competitive cheer." The company said Joss "shows girls the importance of trying new things, pushing past stereotypes, and being a good team player."

To celebrate the creation of Joss, American Girl also teamed up with 17-year-old Caroline Marks, who's about to make history as a member of the first U.S. Women's Olympic surfing team. Marks, who is from Boca Raton, Fla., is the youngest surfer ever to qualify for the World Surf League Women's Championship Tour.

“I’m so excited to be a part of the Joss launch and share her message that passion and hard work can really take a girl places—even to the Olympics,” Marks said in a news release.

To create Joss, Mattel worked with experts in surfing, cheerleading and hearing loss, including a specialist in deaf characters in literature and the Women's Deaf Shortboard champion.

The new doll comes with a swimsuit, hoodie, shorts and a removable hearing aid in her right ear. Joss is available now on the American Girl website and various store locations.

American Girl also partnered with the Hearing Loss Association of America to donate $25,000 to support the organization's education programs.

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