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American Girl’s 2020 Girl of the Year Is First Doll with Hearing Loss

January 2, 2020
Source: ABC News

American Girl’s 2020 Girl of the Year doll is Joss Kendrick.

The new doll, which debuted on "Good Morning America," is a competitive cheerleader and a surfer from southern California.

In a first for an American Girl doll, Joss has hearing loss and wears a hearing aid.

According to her story, Joss was born deaf in her left ear but can hear some out of her right ear with the help of a hearing aid that comes with the doll as an accessory. Pursuing surfing and going all-in with cheer, Joss reaches new heights and discovers a whole new side of herself.

"Whether she’s on her surfboard or in the gym, Joss shows girls the importance of trying new things, pushing past stereotypes, and being a good team player," American Girl said in a statement unveiling the new character.

American Girl partnered with experts specializing in surfing, competitive cheerleading, hearing loss as well as the portrayals of deaf characters in literature to create Joss. The company also announced a $25,000 donation to support the work of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), a national nonprofit representing people with hearing loss.

The brand has introduced more diverse and inclusive dolls over the years, including dolls of different skin tones and ethnic backgrounds, to make all girls feel seen or learn about another culture, according to their website. In addition, dolls are available without hair for anyone dealing with hair loss. Hearing aids, a service-dog set, glasses and a wheelchair are accessories that have been on the market, but hearing aids have not been part of the Girl of the Year doll’s story before.

The Joss collection is available on December 31 at and at all American Girl retail locations nationwide.

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