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Alexis Ohanian Talks Importance of Daughter Olympia's Baby Doll Qai Qai: It Can 'Break a Cycle'

·4-min read
Qai Qai
Qai Qai

Olympia Ohanian can do anything, just ask her doll Qai Qai.

The 4-year-old daughter of Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and tennis superstar Serena Williams has already shared her toy with the world both in-person and on Instagram, but the fun is only just getting started.

That's because in honor of International Daughters Day on Sunday, Qai Qai has teamed up with Adobe and Invisible Universe to create a free coloring book to empower Black girls and other children when it comes to dreaming about their futures.

The dad of one, 38, tells PEOPLE all about five of the possible careers Qai Qai and her friends can take on in the new digital coloring book: fashion designer, film editor, game developer, structural engineer and small business owner.

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Qai Qai
Qai Qai

RELATED: Watch Serena Williams Make Rainbow Cake with 4-Year-Old Daughter: 'Olympia's Recipe for the Win'

"They all came from different areas of our lives and interests. Obviously, my wife's a fashion designer, I really got into programming thanks to playing and then building my own video games," the founder of Seven Seven Six explains.

Following Qai Qai's first Instagram post in Aug. 2018, Olympia's doll has become both an Internet celebrity as well as a welcomed gift in thousands of homes.

"I wasn't shopping for kids' toys 30 years ago, 40 years ago when I was a kid, but I do think the landscape has gotten much better when it comes to not just more diversity, but more diversity of ideas and opportunities, especially for girls," Ohanian says. "I think every parent really wants their child - son or daughter – to feel like they have infinite opportunity; to have the ability to explore and find what really motivates them and interests them and to keep that curiosity as long as possible."

"I know one thing four years ago that was really important to us was to make sure that Olympia had a Black baby doll and have that be a very important first doll for her if for no other reason than to just expose her to something that can hopefully break a cycle that we know exists. The Baby Doll Test has been used as an example for displaying the problems of societal discrimination and how hard-coded that gets into culture," he continues.

"Very quickly we started to see this story play out online of people who were just so enamored with this doll and were really excited to hear about the stories and adventures she was going to go on," notes the father of one. "I think there's a lot of people who have resonated with this idea of a really mischievous, and fun, and clever, and brave, and strong little girl doll and I'm excited to see all the places she goes and I do hope it can inspire kids – boys, girls, Black, white – all over the world to just have fun and dream."

RELATED: Serena Williams' 4-Year-Old Daughter Olympia Teaches Mom Piano Lessons in Adorable Video

Illustrator and storyboard artist Winsome Reid echoes Ohanian's sentiments as well in a blog post for their coloring book.

"It's hard growing up in a world where Black girls in the media often only exist as sassy sidekicks to their usually more developed white leads (if we are even portrayed at all). When stories do center us they often favor narratives of struggle and discrimination. And those stories are important of course, but I think we deserve more than that. We deserve stories that show us in all our many forms. Silly and serious. Smart and ditsy. Cool and nerdy. Tomboyish and girly and all that exists in between," she shares.

Qai Qai
Qai Qai

"We deserve action, adventure, romance and fun! That's what I want to do with my art. To let Black characters, especially Black girls, take the lead and show the spectrum of personalities, talents and interests we can have as well as the diverse range of stories we can be in. I'm so glad characters like Qai Qai exist to be an inspiration to a generation of kids who get to see themselves front and center and not on the sidelines. And I love that this book will let kids imagine themselves in a variety of roles we are rarely shown we can fill," Reid continues.

You can download the digital coloring book here, or try bringing the pages to life using Creative Cloud apps like Fresco, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

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