Kavi Sharma is American Girl’s first South Asian ‘Girl of the Year’


Written by Leah Asmelash, CNN

American Girl’s latest “Girl of the Year” is a feisty Broadway-loving dancer and singer — and also the line’s first-ever South Asian protagonist.

Kavika Sharma, Kavi for short, was unveiled as American Girl’s 2023 “Girl of the Year” on Thursday. Unlike other American Girl dolls, “Girl of the Year” dolls are based on modern characters with contemporary stories, rather than stories from American history.

Kavi lives in Metuchen, New Jersey, according to American Girl. The city is a train ride away from New York City, home to all of her favorite Broadway shows, and is also located in an area of ​​New Jersey with a significant Asian population. (Nearby Edison is notably home to many Indian Americans.) Her family practices Hinduism—depicted in the doll’s companion book, written by Varsha Bajaj, the New York Times bestselling author of multiple high school and children’s novels.

“I think South Asian girls and women of all ages will feel seen, included and represented,” Bajaj said in a statement. “Little girls will embrace her with joy, while older women may see her as a gift to their younger selves. I hope all children will embrace Kavi as a friend and love her story.”

Kavi Sharma lives in Metuchen, New Jersey, and her family practices Hinduism. Credit: American girl

While Kavi is the first South Asian “Girl of the Year,” she is not American Girl’s first South Asian character. In 2009, Sonali Matthews, who was at least part South Asian, was introduced as a companion to that year’s “Girl of the Year”, Chrissa Maxwell.
Since the launch of “Girl of the Year” in 2001, there have been three other dolls of Asian descent: Jess McConnell, who was half Japanese, in 2006; Kanani Akina, who was part Japanese-Hawaiian, in 2011; and last year’s Corinne Tan, the first Chinese-American “Girl of the Year.”

In a nod to its newest character, American Girl said it will donate $25,000 to fund full and partial scholarships for kids ages 7 to 14 who attend New York’s Camp Broadway summer programs.

The Kavi Sharma doll, plus the book, retails for $115, and other accessories are also available for purchase.

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