Girl From Famous 1981 Lego Ad Has a Few Things to Say About Today’s Gendered Toys

Meet Rachel Giordano (again)

We often wonder: Who do the kids in our favorite ads become when they grow up? Well, Lori Day, founder of the Brave Girls Alliance, snagged an interview with the girl from the famous 1981 Lego ad (above left) that recently recaptured the zeitgeist—and your Facebook feed—as a protest against the Lego Friends line and the world of pink princesses in general.

Her name is Rachel Giordano. She's 37 now, and a doctor. In the 1981 ad, which we've written about before, she proudly shows off her own creative Lego creation next to the headline, "What it is is beautiful." The copy makes no mention of gender, and the toy is described as a "universal building set." The new Lego Friends line, on the other hand, comes with narratives intended to appeal to girls, like the Heartlake News Van you see Giordano holding in the other photo above, taken recently.

The product summary for the Heartlake News Van on the Lego site says girls can "get Emma ready at the makeup table so she looks her best for the camera." The toy comes with a news desk, but the van itself is mostly a makeup trailer with a huge vanity.

To those who wonder what the big deal is, and what's wrong with the recent developments in gendered toys, Giordano says: "I know that how I played as a girl shaped who I am today. It contributed to me becoming a physician and inspired me to want to help others achieve health and wellness. I co-own two medical centers in Seattle. Doctor kits used to be for all children, but now they are on the boys' aisle. I simply believe that they should be marketed to all children again, and the same with Legos and other toys."

I agree, but let's be frank. We still need the princess toys. My son would be heartbroken without his Tinker Bell.

@rebeccacullers Rebecca Cullers is a contributor to Adweek.