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Why The New Bratz Dolls Look Ugly To People (Holiday Felicia, GCDS, Another repro Bratz 2022, etc)

26 Dec

Hey, Gen Next readers! If you prefer to watch the accompanying video, skip to the bottom. For the rest of you, here goes…

Many of you who watch my channel or read my articles on my blog are doll fanatics, and more than likely, many of you all are older and are collectors.

If you’re a Bratz fan, what some of you may notice is that the Bratz dolls look far cheaper than they did in the past. In fact, all dolls seem to be getting more and more expensive (or seem to be around the same price as they were in the past), but are looking cheaper and cheaper. Either the dolls look like knock-offs of their original designs, with poor quality plastic, hair, and clothing, or they come with less accessories than they used to in the past.

In my video, Bratz “Comeback” Is A Mess (Rock Angelz/1st Edition Dolls, Talking Bratz 2021 Tik Tok Series, etc), I made a comment essentially stating that if any of you pay the current price of 24.99 for the cheaper 20th Anniversary 1st Edition re-release of the Bratz dolls, instead of paying the hefty prices on the secondary market, “you get what you pay for”. Meaning, you are paying a cheap price for a cheaper-looking doll.

One commenter did point out: “You said the 20th anniversary Bratz dolls look cheap so you get what you paid for, but your forgetting the first released Bratz dolls were that price too. There’s no way in hell am I going to buy $1,000 Felicia on eBay when I can get her as holiday Felicia for an affordable price.It’s absolutely insane how much people price these dolls.”

And that’s when I realized…how little I talked about INFLATION in that video, in my articles, and in general, beyond a brief mention.

Let’s Talk…Inflation

Now, anyone heavily invested in the doll industry for the last 5, 10, or even 20 years knows that the doll industry has been on the decline, and there are many factors that have gone into this.

But one key factor that I think many doll collectors forget, overlook, or possibly aren’t aware of is inflation. Inflation plays a role in why your dolls, while looking cheaper, are set at the same price higher quality dolls were set at 20 years ago.

According to Google’s dictionary, inflation, in economics, is a general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing value of money. According to Investopedia, inflation is the decline of purchasing power of a given currency over time.

A quantitative estimate of the rate at which the decline in purchasing power occurs can be reflected in the increase of an average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy over some period of time.

The rise in the general level of prices, often expressed as a percentage, means that a unit of currency effectively buys less than it did in prior periods.

Basically, this means that our currency, particularly the US dollar (since MGA Entertainment is primarily based in the USA), doesn’t hold that same purchasing power it once did. Now, we need more dollars to equal the value of items we used to purchase for less in the past. Now that I think about it, this is really a global thing.

What causes inflation? I’ll try my best to explain.
Economics Help lists 5 main causes:

  1. Demand-pull inflation-This is an economic situation that occurs when the demand for goods and services is more than the supply of goods or services. Basically, it’s a situation when we all ask for more and more stuff, and the companies can’t give us all we want as fast as we want it. When this happens, companies will respond by increasing the prices.
  2. Cost-push inflation –This is when overall prices increase (inflation) due to increases in the cost of wages and raw materials. When our jobs start thinking about paying us more, the company has to earn more to pay everybody. Companies will then increase the prices for products to get more out of it. When the price to buy raw materials (a product), like rubber or plastic, increases, all the other things that rely on the materials (a product), like dolls, have to increase their prices, too. This means that people who make stuff won’t be able to afford as many of those materials like they used to, and so will only buy smaller and smaller amounts of the high quality materials, or the cheaper materials, just to make the same stuff.
  3. Devaluation –This is when a country’s government intentionally reduces the value of its currency. For example, this means a government can announce that 20 units of its currency would be equal to one American dollar. That currency (and thus the products in that nation) would end up being cheaper for US residents, but the US’s currency (and the US’s products) would be twice as expensive in the country that reduced the value of their currency. This would result in an increase in the cost of imported goods (foreign, and in this scenario, the USA), while also boosting domestic demand, or having more people buy from stores in their own country (in this scenario, the country that devalued their currency). It protects companies within a nation from foreign competition.
  4. Rising wages – Higher wages increase firms’ costs and increases consumers’ disposable income, allowing them to spend more. Again, the more money the workers ask for, the more the company has to pay out. In order to meet these demands, they have to increase the prices of the stuff they produce or make just to pay people more. Also, when consumers have more disposable income, they have more money to throw away, so a company might respond by raising prices, since people can better afford to buy stuff.
  5. Expectations of inflation – High inflation expectations causes workers to demand wage increases, which can cause firms to push up prices. When people believe the cost of living will increase, they will put pressure on companies to increase their wages. And you know where that leads…

Now, you may see signs of inflation around you personally. For instance, in 1970, the price for gasoline in the USA was, on average, 0.36 cents in USD. In 2015, the price for the same quality gas was 2.45 USD. In 2021, for the month of October alone, gasoline prices on average were around 3.38 USD.

It’s typically no secret that 1.00 USD now would get you less than it would have 100 years ago. Typically, 100 years ago, 1.00 USD could get you 10 boxes of cereal. Today, the price for 10 boxes of cereal can range anywhere from 24.00 USD to 50.00 USD!

In our most recent times, inflation has mostly been caused by the pandemic. The pandemic either put people out of work or cut their hours last year to comply with social distancing.

Unfortunately, this meant that there weren’t enough hands on deck to supply everybody’s needs. People who wanted ice cream or needed their hair cut now had to wait longer or had to go without because there weren’t enough people to meet that demand. There also weren’t enough products for everybody.

Companies then responded to the issue of having less goods or services by raising the prices of the goods or services they did have, just to make up for that loss.

To add, consumers would go to anyone who could meet the demand, causing the people supplying that hard-to-get service or product to see currency in their future. The result is that they pulled up the prices, seeing that they could get more out of this hard-to-get service or product than they would have before the pandemic.

Cargo trucks and trains had to cut down as well, and these are the people bringing the supplies to stores. Items became more rare as a result, so companies were at a loss. This gave them another reason to raise the prices of the goods they already had to make up for it.

Then, because items were so rare, people were willing to spend more for less just to have the item they needed or wanted. This happened with toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and surgical masks. Why wouldn’t a company increase the prices while it’s hot?

But the higher prices conflicted with people’s actual wages because they weren’t making enough to meet these high prices. This is actually currently causing workers to put pressure on companies to pay them higher salaries.

And companies are willing to do it. Along with trying to meet demand, companies are trying to entice people to come work for them so that people can help with supplying labor in a more demanding society. But people need more money now, right? This means the companies need to offer more money to appeal to people, which means they have to increase the prices of their goods in order to make enough money to pay people their desired salaries.

Now…What does all of this gibberish have to do with dolls?

Right now, the cost to make dolls has gone up WAY high. It has already risen the last 10 years, but now, it’s ridiculous how much it costs to design ONE SINGLE doll.

Think about what goes into making a doll: fabric of many kinds, plastic, paint, and hair…I can’t even begin to list just exactly all that goes into the design work.

This doesn’t include paying for the designers, sculptors, stylists, producers, marketers, developers, vendors, and others brought on board to actually help with the dolls.

This also doesn’t include operating a building and/or warehouse, including paying for utilities, keeping lights on, and paying custodians to keep buildings clean. They have to pay license fees, too.

And now some of ya’ll want a series and video games, too? The company has to pay for all of that, including for the tools and people involved with that.

The price of all of that has gone up. The people that MGA Entertainment is buying from today are charging more for their materials and services than they did in 2001.

In MGA Entertainment’s case, the company behind the Bratz, let’s tack on the fact people are scared off from working for this company…(Again, please watch the video or read the article “Bratz Comeback is a Mess” if you don’t understand what I’m talking about.) MGA has to entice people with high wages in order to keep workers, so they have to price their dolls much higher than they would have in the past.

Now, you might be thinking, “Okay I get inflation makes things more expensive. But the dolls aren’t MORE expensive, they’re the same price. If you look at the price of the dolls at Walmart and Target, they didn’t increase their prices. The 1st Edition dolls are the same price they were in 2001. What are you talking about?”

With the 20th Anniversary dolls, MGA has skillfully managed to fool us fans into thinking that we are paying for the “same doll” at the “same price” it was 20 years ago. Yet, all of the hard-core fans can see the quality difference, correct?

This is because you really aren’t paying “the same price” for “the same doll”.

How so, you might wonder?

Today, the 1st Edition 20th Anniversary dolls are going for 24.99 USD. Hypothetically, let’s say the original dolls were listed at 24.99. I say “hypothetically” because I can’t find the original listings I saved a while back.

Let’s look at an inflation calculator to find out the difference:
If a doll cost 24.99 USD in 2001, and if a company were to adjust for inflation today, given today’s prices for the same quality materials the dolls had back then, the dolls should actually be…(drum roll please) 39.05 USD in 2021.

However, your dolls are the 2021 price of 24.99 USD. Back in 2001, that would be equivalent to … (drum roll please) 15.99 USD.

In a nutshell, MGA Entertainment is selling you a cheaper doll for a cheaper price, and this is why I said anyone who is buying these cheap ugly ass dolls are essentially getting “what they paid for”.

The dolls from the 2000s that were even remotely close to that price were the 2009 Basic Bratz that came with nothing but re-hashed fashion, with even the fashion itself being lower quality. Back then, it was understandable, considering MGA was in a major court battle and the court ordered the removal of all Bratz from toy shelves.

Nowadays, the real problem is MGA was not prepared for this comback and really had no interest in investing in Bratz, which was why they weren’t prepared to create high-quality dolls, adjusted for inflation. They didn’t care to give fans what they deserved. I mentioned more about MGA’s lack of interest in Bratz in the “Bratz Comeback” video. If the company really wanted to bring the old Bratz dolls back “full force”, they would have made sure the dolls were on par years ago, right after the Hayden Williams dolls were released in 2018.

Instead, they waited until the end of 2020 to ask fans what they wanted, dipped into their pool from the successes of L.O.L. Surprise and Rainbow High, and threw some dolls together with the materials they could afford to hurry up and gather.

It’s understandable why they can’t just pour their all into the Bratz brand. Besides Bratz, they are essentially balancing two other brands at the moment, unlike in 2001, when Bratz was their only doll brand and their primary meal ticket. Right now, most of their money is going to the more immediately profitable brands.

Still, that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have at least tried, knowing the Bratz Anniversary dolls have been in demand since 2018.

Fans are largely frustrated with the secondary market, markets like Ebay, that have priced older dolls at ridiculous prices (also not truly adjusted for inflation). The doll collecting game can be an expensive road if you want the best. However, the dolls aren’t worth THAT much. There’s an excellent video on Youtube that talks about the secondary market regarding the Bratz Dolls by Darling Dollz.

Unfortunately, this is causing many Bratz fans to settle for less, even if they aren’t getting the best quality.

Specifically when it came to the repros, MGA used nostalgia bait because they know people are now buying for the brand, not the quality of the product. They are buying cheaper dolls just to have something with the Bratz name on it. There are two types of consumers of Bratz nowadays: People who grew up with Bratz, who never got their wished-for doll, and want a trip down memory lane, and those who revolve their personal creative and business content around Bratz and other toys. MGA knows they only have to appeal to these types of people a little bit to get these dolls to sell out, and they don’t really have to invest anymore. There are people who will buy a Chanel purse that’s falling apart just to have Chanel. They pay money to see a horrible Marvel movie just because it’s a Marvel movie. As a result, the companies never improve because they know they don’t have to appease anybody in order to make a profit.

Back in the past, when the Bratz was a lesser-known brand and was building, they had to put more effort in order to build brand loyalty. They’ve got the loyalty and brand power now, so what effort do they need to put in? Unfortunately, a company has one too many options. They can choose to invest majorly, despite knowing they don’t have to, or they can cut costs for their more reputable brands and give fans only half of what they had 20 years ago. It seems MGA has chosen the latter.

If MGA Entertainment were paying attention, and if they actually really cared to give Bratz a new boost with a strong reboot, they would have realized just how dissatisfied fans have been with the secondary market and they would have tried to re-release these dolls with the same quality, with prices adjusted for inflation, to compete with that market. Ultimately, those second market sellers would have no choice but to come down to lower prices or risk not being able to sell the doll due to the main company releasing it with the same quality.

Even better if the dolls came with something extra special.

Unfortunately, I know if the dolls were properly adjusted for inflation, the average fan would still believe they are being cheated when actually they would be getting the same, if not a better, deal.

Many fans obviously find the price of 24.99 USD more approachable than the price 39.05 USD, the price it probably should be. Not really understanding inflation, if the company increased the price of a doll from what it was 20 years ago to the proper price adjusted for inflation, many fans would immediately believe the company is ripping them off just because it looks higher on paper. In actuality, this would be the better price for a reproduced doll with the same quality as 20 years ago.

In order to get the dolls to the more approachable price of 24.99 at this point, MGA technically had to cheapen the dolls. Some fans, not understanding this, may have complained about the quality, asking for the dolls to be fixed, while still insisting they will only pay the low price of 24.99, the way it was years ago. Let’s be honest, it’s really not completely possible to have nice dolls at that price from a company not prepared to invest or prepared to adjust for inflation. For all of you still asking for those fixed Rock Angelz dolls, all I can tell you is you may be out-of-luck.

It also doesn’t help that they’re marketing the Bratz to a few thousand adult fans either, as I mentioned in my previous content. That makes it difficult for them to go for the perfect price range. With only a few thousand adult fan collectors left, they have only two options. They can lower the prices, making the dolls accessible to more fans (selling a large quantity of cheaper-quality dolls in one gulp) or raise the prices (so they get more out of a small number of higher quality dolls than they normally would), which would all be used to cover expenses and line pockets.

To be honest, by catering to adult fans, they won’t be able to guarantee the largest return with either method, even if they were to adjust for inflation. They would have to market to millions of kids or a general audience, the way they did in the past, in order to reap the same mega rewards they once did, like what is happening with Rainbow High and L.O.L Surprise. Rainbow High and L.O.L. Surprise can be a cheaper price with decent quality because they are banking on millions of kids buying it and giving them a major return on that investment. While essentially being on toy shelves with all the other dolls, the Bratz repros are mostly being marketed in adult spaces, not where kids are allowed to frequent.

Overall, though, I still think MGA should think of creating a solid investment plan for the Bratz brand so that the quality improves. Then, they should consider pricing the dolls fairly adjusted for inflation.

The Bratz still may not be like their glory days, where they came out with tons of lines, but it’s better to have fewer high quality lines than a bunch of crap Bratz dolls. Quality over Quantity.

Bratz Dolls’ Reviews

Today, I wanted to review the newest Bratz dolls from head to toe. I will probably do this for the re-pros of the 1st Edition Bratz and Rock Angelz Bratz some other time. Right now, I’m more interested in the newest dolls.

Let’s get down to reviewing Felicia!

Holiday Felicia

To those who are not apart of an off-brand fan community, Felicia’s Holiday doll was released without most people’s knowledge. In fact, shockingly enough, they announced her arrival on Instagram AFTER she sold out…Make that make sense.

Unfortunately, and ironically, most of us fans will not be getting her in time for the Christmas Holiday. Maybe we’ll get her in time for Easter…Some people’s Felicia doll has yet to be shipped, and some people are fearing a cancellation. Some people’s Felicia doll has been cancelled.

Actually, it’s not so shocking at all that this is happening if you engaged with my former content regarding this Bratz comeback, though. This is basically how the new Bratz dolls are being announced and reproduced nowadays. Everything is just being produced and released in a messy fashion. Those on social media are trying hard to play it off, saying “Bratz fans are amazing!” when referring to how Felicia sold out so fast the social media team couldn’t keep up. I don’t understand how they couldn’t have when the Insta threads were crawling with fans asking when Felicia would be announced. There’s seriously a communication issue going on here. I’m not going to get too much more into it because I already spoke about it in the “comeback” content.

When it comes to Felicia’s doll, many in the fan community have mixed feelings about her. I have to say I also have mixed feelings regarding this doll.


Let’s start with Felicia’s head. First off, ya’ll know how I feel about the darker-skinned dolls having pink lips. The “jigaboo” lips I called them in Bratz 2018: Please Don’t!. I’m not fond of the peach-pink lips too much. Tack on the fact that I feel Felicia’s face is underwhelming in general, even down to the eye make-up. To get some perspective, Lookin’ Bratz gave a review of the doll, and informed us as to why the faces are looking the way they are. Apparently, back in the day, the faces were painted using a “spray” method, which I heard isn’t much in use anymore. Nowdays, UV printing is used instead, and it’s considered the more “cost-effective method” to apply dolls’ faces. Apparently, “spraying” is less common in the doll industry today. Also, the Bratz have new head molds created to accommodate these new “printing” methods, which makes them look even stranger to me. On top of that, again, as I mentioned in the “comeback” content, I hate the matte plastic that they are using nowadays. It doesn’t look as refined.

Unfortunately, the change in production shows. This might be a trend, but that’s probably part of the reason the doll industry is on decline. Who wants to pay for dolls with these cheap-looking faces and heads? I mean, they’re probably good enough for parents with kids, if that’s who they were catering to, which they aren’t anymore, and maybe these cost-cutting materials and methods allow them to be cheaper at a time when money is tighter. It might appeal to a casual doll fan. But not to me.

Because of the cost it takes to make high-quality dolls nowadays, many companies have to cut costs, and that includes the materials it takes to make high-quality dolls. What I notice, though, is that the bigger a company, the more people they have to pay, the more brands they have to juggle, the more people they have to produce for, resulting in them cutting costs. Isn’t it, as Alanis Morrisette would say, ironic?

While I understand that times change, I can’t say it makes me happy or satisfied. I don’t think I will be satisfied until they have that old-fashioned higher-quality look I loved back in the day. I realize now that I was spoiled. I wish I had the money to get every Bratz doll ever invented back then because I just don’t think I will even buy any reproduced dolls that look like this.

Despite the usual trend nowdays, again, I believe that MGA Entertainment had enough time to launch this brand the way fans wanted or at least had enough time to try. Couldn’t MGA Entertainment have invested enough money to hire someone to utilize that method at least for one throw-back line, in time for the Bratz 20th? We never needed thousands of lines for this 20th Year Anniversary. We only needed one special line, one that brought us back to the 2000s, possibly one playset, and then tons of merchandise, like t-shirts and make-up. The other lines could have come later. At least one of the repros or newer dolls could have had the “sprayed” look.

Maybe there are no more artists out there who can use that method. Possibly they don’t want to work for these companies anymore. I don’t know. But if they are out there, I think it would have been worth the investment, at least for one line.

I really liked fan TeZzi Carter’s photos of Felicia. Their touch-up gives me that sultry “attitudinal” dramatic Bratz look that I’m dying to have. That’s what Felicia deserves.

Touched-up Felicia

I think it’s important to note that to us Black fans it deeply matters how Felicia looks and is received. It’s no secret that the Black dolls are the least sold by retailers and the least bought by consumers, which says a lot about how people see Black people in general. We’re not just talking about in the Western world, but over in the East, too. Livin’ in a Bratz World: The International Distribution of MGA’s Bratz Dolls also outlined how Sasha basically didn’t debut in one whole country because distributors stated “she wouldn’t do well [there]”. Gee, I wonder why not?

Because of that overall dislike of darker-skinned dolls (or bluntly, racism), Black dolls have to look better than average in order to sell well. It’s especially important for Felicia to look good to the people she’s representing, the people who will more than likely buy her most. To me, personally, I just find her face to be underwhelming. She’s missing that glam factor, especially for a Holiday doll.

However, if people love the face and buy her, it’s still a “win” for the Black community. If she does sell well, maybe more Black dolls will be released. Who knows. Still, for me, it wouldn’t make much difference because new Black dolls will be created at THIS time, a time where companies are “cutting costs” to make cheaper dolls. I really wouldn’t be getting the Black doll I feel I deserve.

On a positive note, I do love the “natural” wavy-haired highlighted look that Felicia is sporting. She also has Bantu knots. They are using nylon for the hair instead of saran. Nylon is actually stronger than Saran and easier to curl. It is easier to style and it comes in more colors. To some people, Saran feels more natural and has a nice shine to it, but it’s more fragile. Personally, I feel that nylon is a good substitute. No, it’s not the same type as they had in the early 2000s. But it works when trying to give Felicia a more voluptuous volume to her hair. I think Nylon works for Black dolls. I’m glad they are finally giving the Black dolls Black hairstyles. They need to keep that same energy in the future.


Let’s talk about the body.

This is kind of funny and kind of sad, but I think I basically predicted Felicia would arrive in Trinity’s outfit in my Bratz “Comeback” is a Mess content, didn’t I? Yeah, I did. This is an example of what I meant when I said MGA Entertainment is not investing in Bratz too much. The outfit Felicia is wearing wasn’t “designed”. It was replicated. They took Trinity’s design, dyed it yellow, and fluffed it up a bit. Like I said back in October, no company jumps from planning to design one doll (since Trinity was initially the doll supposed to be released) to another that quickly unless they really don’t care about the outcome. I wish Felicia had been designed with her own special dress. This is sub-par to me.

Even the artwork on Felicia’s packaging is essentially Trinity’s artwork.

But I have to give it to them. At least they dyed the dress yellow, cut the top off from the bottom to make it look like she has a crop top and a skirt, and added a shag. Maybe they reviewed my content, and were like, “Damn, someone is on to us. We have to change this up quick.”

In any case, I’m glad it looks like they put effort into giving us something that looks sort of new in comparison to the re-pros, which didn’t do it for me because those dolls were inferior to their originals. Still, it’s unfortunate that, at this point, I’m mostly like, “Hmm”, instead of “Wow!” I can’t even make an interjection full of excitement and emotion.

It doesn’t help that Trinity’s dress was never considered the best of the holiday dresses, especially because most people felt the pink color was more suited to Spring and didn’t have the same quality as Holiday dresses prior. I guess if you live in a warm climate, you can work bright colors any day. For us living in the middle of blizzards, I can’t relate.

Holiday colors should have been used. It would’ve related to more people. You know, red and green to represent Christmas, blue and white to represent the frosty snow, and/or darker evening colors to represent the changing darker season. I mean, look at Katia‘s.

Back in the day, some real design effort went into her look. She is, by far, my favorite Holiday doll. Winterball Cloe was pretty, too, and perfect for the Holidays or for what most people would associate with the Holidays.

Now, I won’t lie, Felicia looks beautiful in yellow. It’s really her color, and it has her melanin popping. Still, they could have put more effort into the design of her dress. It also should have had a deeper golden feeling to it, to give it an evening vibe. One of my viewers suggested Felicia arrive in a green dress, and I think that would have been ideal for the season. Green and gold would have also looked beautiful on Felicia. I just feel, like with all the Bratz nowadays, and like the Bratz in 2010, the dolls are being rushed and cheapened to meet demand. I hope, at least, Felicia’s dress is actually made with strong quality materials.

Felicia’s fashion passion is layering different looks so she can change it up any time. I do feel that this look fits her fashion passion. The fact that she comes with a shag that is removable, has a detachable top that can go with another pair of bottoms, and a skirt that can go with any top fits with Felicia’s resourceful sense of style. Felicia is also Glam Gecko, so she loves to look a little glamourous at times. I feel like if her eyes had more of a gloss to it and her dress had a more unique design, she’d be even more glamourous. But this will do. I would definitely say this is better than the repros, but that’s only because there has never been a Holiday Felicia to make a comparison. Honestly, MGA Entertainment should just stick to making new dolls because when they try to reproduce the old dolls, people (well, some people) can obviously see the difference in quality. Unless they plan on reproducing all the old dolls the same way they made them, some people are bound to be dissatisfied. With the new dolls, they can make them as cheap as they like because many people will just be happy to see Bratz dolls in new fashions.


Felicia’s purse is a recycled item that is being released in yellow-gold. She also comes with a bracelet for fans, the one item coming from MGA’s CEO’s daughter’s fashion brand, Cult Gaia, a doll stand, and a star brush. All pretty standard, but not too interesting to me.


The shoes are okay. I actually almost forgot to even review them, which means they aren’t very memorable. Honestly, they feel like recycled shoes. It wouldn’t be the first time Bratz recycled their shoes. They’re alright. They do have a Bratz vibe to them and look comfortable enough for this outdoorsy Bratz girl. I’ll give them a pass.

Overall, people might dislike my content just because I’m railing on Felicia, and that’s tricky territory because she’s a Black Bratz doll. That’s fine. For me, I honestly don’t want a half-assed attempt at representation anymore. I would like people to take more time and effort, pouring the same love and care into the development of the Black dolls that they have poured into dolls that are white-passing or racially ambiguous (like Cloe and Yasmin). Perhaps, I’m too idealistic and should expect less. But that’s my desire.

Unfortunately, her early ratings on target were 2.2 out of 5 stars (her ratings have since increased to 3.7). At this point, I don’t think this is a win for Felicia or the Black community. Even worse that’s she’s going for 54.99 USD. They literally are pricing her higher than she’s worth, all because she’s not a reproduced doll and because they know that’s the only way they can get a return from a doll that’s directed towards a few thousand adult Bratz fans. At the very least, they could have thrown in another cheap outfit for that price.

For me:

Overall, she gets a 3.5/5 stars from me.

GCDS Yasmin and Sasha

I’m a bit more interested in the GCDS dolls than all the other dolls that have been released. First, I’ll review Yasmin.

Yasmin’s Head

By itself, Yasmin’s face looks okay to me. Her head looks bigger than usual, and I don’t know if that’s to accommodate the UV printing or if that has something to do with the design of the outfit. I’m still not a fan of the UV printing method, but I like her “make-up” print well enough. I like the colors. I feel like Yasmin adapts best to the UV printing method.

Yasmin’s Body

I personally think Yasmin’s outfit is okay, even if it does make her head look bigger than usual and has gimmicky Bratz print on it. Still, I don’t think it’s public-friendly. Everyday people wouldn’t wear this, and that’s what Bratz needs right now. They need to be sporting the latest fashion and styles in at least one of their new lines. I feel like the lines are either re-hashing old fashion or are so out-there that they can only be seen on a runway. They aren’t Read-to-Wear fashions. I think that Yasmin’s outfit speaks to a handful of adult fans who enjoy gaudy looks, which is why they sold out, but if these dolls were being sold to a general audience, they wouldn’t do as well.

On the other hand, this is the one of the best outfits we’ve seen on a Bratz doll in awhile. At least someone put effort into actually designing it, the quality of the materials actually looks good, and it appears to stay true to Yasmin’s fashion passion. Yasmin loves bohemian fashions with exotic prints, and often blends different styles together to make one graceful glam look. This outfit has quite a bohemian feeling to it, especially the ballooning and flared sleeves.

Still, I can’t say I’ve fallen in love with it.

I’ve heard that Hayden Williams’s 2018 bodies were used for these dolls, which means they can fit 2018 fashions possibly. I was fine with those bodies, to be honest, so it’s all good to me.

Yasmin’s Accessories

One of the best parts of this release are the accessories. I would like to buy them for just the accessories alone. Unfortunately, they were going for the hefty price of 85.00 and are sold out. Poor people like me can’t compete. But if they ever do become available again, I would like to get my hands on Yasmin’s sunglasses and purse. I absolutely love the designs.

I like the earrings and “Bratz” chain belt as well.

Yasmin’s Feet

Another one of my favorite parts. Actually, my favorite part. Yasmin’s shoes are very well-designed and very stylish. I would personally buy these shoes if they were made available in my size. The artsy print, the studs along the toe, and the side buckle are very nice touches. I absolutely love the heel construction as well. These are some very well-made shoes.

Sasha’s Head

I’m actually okay with Sasha’s head this time around. I hate that her lips have been reported to have misprinting, meaning there’s some quality-control issues floating around. Overall, though, I think she looks okay. Still not fond of the UV printing, the matte plastic, or the bigger heads, but this doll adjusts better to the changes.

The “baby hairs” are an interesting touch. I personally would rather utilize her own hair to give her “baby hairs”, but, like with Felicia, I’m happy that Sasha is finally wearing Black hairstyles. The braids look flawless.

Sasha’s Body

As with Yasmin, I’m not the biggest fan of Sasha’s outfit. Again, I do appreciate outrageous fashion, I just don’t think it’s wearable. I do like the mesh bits, but I don’t understand the rhinestone portion on top or the “Bratz” Cruella-Deville-style coat over it.

There’s more mix-and-match potential for Sasha’s than for Yasmin’s though, so I don’t have to settle with just this look.

That is another point. Why haven’t we seen any new dolls with more than one outfit? Where’s the “mix-and-match” fun Bratz was notorious for?

That aside, I do feel this outfit fits with Sasha’s fashion passion, which combines old school and new school hip-hop styles. Sasha loves avant-garde fashion as of 2008, and she’s always on the hunt for a new look. I would say this fits quite well with her style. These types of outrageous individualistic looks are very popular with hip-hop right now, and it’s definitely out-of-the-box.

Sasha’s Accessories

I LOVE Sasha’s accessories. The gold hoop Bratz earrings and the gold heart purse are just fabulous. I want, I want, I want! They are very well-constructed and detailed.

Sasha’s Feet

Just like with Yasmin, Sasha’s foot game is strong. I love the GCDS boots so much. The fact that these look like shoes people can actually buy from the store adds so much more quality to this item. In fact, the accessories and shoes all look like items that can be purchased from GCDS. That’s the kind of vibe I want from Bratz. I want to want to dress like a Bratz doll.

Overall, I think this is probably the best we will get for this year. The messed up part is that they didn’t include Cloe and, especially, Jade, who absolutely is the queen of Xtreme and outrageous fashion. That was a missed opportunity.

I want to point out, again, how this is another collaboration project, not a line solely produced by MGA Entertainment. This is mostly how the best of the Bratz products are being produced, and if you look at the matching price point of 80 US bucks, you understand how selling high-quality, designer dolls, to adult fans like this results in heftier prices.

The best shouldn’t have to come from a collaborator, from a designer doll, nor from a doll that expensive. Yet, that’s what is keeping Bratz afloat because MGA didn’t invest enough in time to meet demand.


Overall, they get a 3.8-4/5 from me.

Bratz News, 2021-2022

“Talking Bratz” Tik Tok Series

Just to do some housekeeping, apparently Talking Bratz came back with that “scrapped” episode starring Jade, Sasha, and the Tweevils (mentioned in the comeback content). Unfortunately, it didn’t update us on the girls’ lives and was mostly a promotional tool for that Bratz app game I don’t care to play. They can’t seem to get storylines right on social media, so I’m quite sure the game’s storyline is more than likely all over the place as well. I was also upset that they weren’t wearing new outfits like Cloe and Yasmin. Then again, it was nice to see the CGI-animated 1st Edition outfits.

I heard that the individual in charge of creating Talking Bratz is only 16 years old (Update: He’s 19). If that’s the case, that’s pretty amazing work for a teenager. However, that also concerns me. If the teenager is still in school, that means this kid is essentially juggling making Talking Bratz, sort of working for MGA, while going to school. The pressure has been on for Talking Bratz to be regular, and I’m just not sure a teen can handle that work load 100%.

Also, that means there really isn’t a strong production team around to make the same series that was produced in the 2000s. I don’t know. I just don’t think they intend to make Talking Bratz anything major at this point, not if a teenager is in charge of getting it off the ground. It’s mostly just promo being created right now.

There was an episode centered on the designer of the GCDS dolls. It was cute. Felicia’s outfit looked better than what they put on the actual GCDS dolls. Why wasn’t that outfit released? It’s actually wearable, that’s why they’re selling it to fans on their website. Anything you wish to sell to the public should be on the Bratz dolls because you know people would actually want to wear it. This will motivate fans to buy the dolls more, and make them long for replicas for themselves. Get people wanting more. That’s the fun of it, you know? Bratz should make people want to look like them.

Sweetheart Meygan Leaks for 2022

Next, I would like to share that there have been leaks of Sweetheart Meygan. I’m tempted to buy her and reunite her with her girlfriend Nevra, but I’m scared of what she’ll look like, as I was with Felicia. So far, I have not been wrong about these releases, and that’s what worries me. She’s due to be released March 22, 2022. Unfortunately, she will not be around in time for Valentine’s Day.

There are plenty other repros rumored to be releasing in 2022, such as Girls Nite Out, Bratz Boyz 1st Edition Dylan, the long-anticipated Tokyo A Go-Go Limited Edition Kumi, Flaunt It!, and the long-awaited designer Pride dolls (which will more than likely consist of Roxxi and Nevra, ew) due to be released. I will probably just replace Roxxi with Meygan after the purchase…

Help Carter Bryant Out, Ya’ll!

Finally, I want to share with you all that Carter Bryant, the original creator of Bratz, has fallen ill. He’s recovering, but he needs assistance with his hospital bills. His sister has asked for our help so he can recover. As you all who follow me and listen to me know, Carter Bryant was let go from MGA Entertainment around 2013/2014. He is not getting paid any royalties for these dolls, though he was the genius behind the whole concept. I’ve mentioned before that this is how LGBTQ+ people are often treated. We are used up, for all of our genius and ideas, and then thrown away by companies. The law doesn’t support us, either. Unfortunately, the doll industry hasn’t been kind to Carter, and as I covered in my last project (the comeback article and video), working for MGA Entertainment is like a Scarlett letter. If any of you can help him in any way, please do so.

Carter Bryant’s GoFundMe

Final Thoughts

To end this, I just want to say that I hope 2022 is a better year for Bratz. I’m scared to get my hopes up too high, because much of the damage is done. Still, I hope that they turn something around for the better, at least with the dolls.

I really do hope Carter Bryant recovers and that MGA steps in to help him in some way. At least assist with his medical bills. I think he deserves it.

What other factors do you all think contribute to the cheapness of these dolls or the decline of the doll industry? What do you all think of Felicia, the new designer doll leaks, and the Bratz’s whole comeback as of now? Leave me a comment if you’re able and let’s get the discussion rolling.

In the meantime, Ciao, Peace! HERE’S THE VIDEO


Doll Companies Do Indigenous Dolls Dirty | Thanksgiving Special

26 Nov

Welcome back!

No one is going to like me today because I’m going to ruin everybody’s Thanksgiving talking about your “unproblematic” faves.

If you would like to watch the video version, it’s at the bottom.

As we Americans from the United States of America approach our Thanksgiving holiday, many of us (well, many of us more over-thinking individuals) are reflecting on the tale of the first Thanksgiving.

You know, the tale where the pilgrims and so-called “Indians” joined hands in harmony, ate wild turkeys, and other delicious foods, to give thanks for the fact that the “Indians” helped the European Pilgrims survive in a land they soon conquered from the “Indians”? Yeah…That “tale”.

Well, Thanksgiving has got me on the more interesting side of Youtube, the side where Indigenous people (some of many various ethnic groups, that may refer to themselves as First Nations, First Peoples, among others) speak out regarding their perspective on the holiday.

It also got me peering into the one industry that targets the next generation, the toy industry, where our “unproblematic” favorite toy companies reside, to see how they’ve been doing with representing Indigenous people with their toys…

And just like in cinema, television, music, politics, and the like, it’s sad to say most of these companies haven’t done too well.

Recently, I reviewed the world’s top toy companies, and I reviewed their list of characters labeled or “coded” Indigenous. I’m using the word “coded” to refer to dolls that resemble even the most stereotypical aspects of a culture, whether it was designed right or all wrong.

After combing through everything, I must say the results were overwhelmingly sad, nauseating, and traumatizing, to actually say the least.

It seems toy companies have performed the same three main behavior patterns when approaching Indigenous characters, none of which are brilliant.


I’m sure we’ve all seen the caricatures of Indigenous people all over media. Well, we’ve probably only seen even these tropes in the few media that exists with Indigenous people.

You know, the “Magical Native American” with “Tanto Talk”? Possibly a warrior with spears? Yeah. Those kinds.

Well, in the doll industry, when a company does decide to create an Indigenous character, these dolls often come in the form of random buckskin dresses, adorned with fringe, with some fancy footwork that resembles something like moccasins, and some elaborate trendy beadwork, all designed to look “fresh and modern”, and often designed to better appeal to the more financially powerful demographic (i.e. White people). Then, they are labeled “Indian” or “Native American” doll so that the rest of us get the picture, and so the companies can say, “Well done. We did it.”

Companies need to know that throwing a buckskin dress on a doll and calling them “Native” doesn’t make them an authentic and well-designed Indigenous character. It makes them a caricature, a stereotypical model, of what it is to be Indigenous.

Summing up one traditional look as “Native American” or “Indian” is a problem all on its own. There are many different types of Indigenous people around the world, they all have their own forms of dress with intricate designs that go into their personal cultural attire, and they all have different relationships with their culture. Not all Indigenous people relate to “buckskins”, “fringe”, and “moccasins”. To add, all tribes and ethnic groups do not design those same materials the same way. When making these dresses for the Indigenous doll, I’m often wondering is the dress inspired from the Cherokee? Potawatomi? Seneca?

Disney’s Pocahontas, with her mostly trendy modernized buckskin dress, seemed to have inspired so many companies in the 1990s to jump on the train in creating these generic “American Indian” dolls. Unfortunately, none of them really felt they needed to take the time to fact-check.

Mattel Barbie’s “Native American” dolls have been examples of this.

These are some of the synopsis that have come with some of the 1990s “Indigenous” dolls:

“Native American Barbie doll is part of a proud Indian heritage, rich in culture and tradition. Her tribe-inspired COSTUME (notice they said costume) is a white dress decorated with Indian artwork”.

Damn. She doesn’t even come with a name. She’s just “Native American Barbie doll”.

And there’s no specific tribe or ethnic group tied to this look. Just an overall “Indian” look with some random “Indian artwork”.

This is another good one: “Dressed in a festive outfit for ceremonial events, Native American Barbie doll looks authentic from head to toe.” They had to make sure they stated that she looks authentic. Because this doesn’t mean she is authentic.

While it’s great to see companies attempt to diversify their line in any way, this doesn’t make companies less harmfully stereotypical in their depictions, and it doesn’t absolve them of the responsibility to make sure that the dolls they create are authentic and/or true to the people they are attempting to represent.

That’s like trying to make a doll based off of Queen Elizabeth II, and you depict her in a crop top and some hot pants…Imagine how many panties would be in a bunch.

How you represent a group of people is just as important as representation itself. It leaves a message to people purchasing the doll about the people the doll is trying to represent. And honestly, can you truly say you have representation if the people you’re claiming to represent can’t relate to or even recognize whatever you just threw together and released at them? What is it truly representing then?

For a lot of these companies, they believe they deserve a pat on the back just for attempting to create one Indigenous-looking character, especially because, for them, they’d rather avoid attempting the effort and the risk that making dolls of color could bring to them in the first place. Obviously, companies fear backlash, from people of color, for their crap dolls. So, these companies think we should be grateful we see Indigenous characters at all.

After all, none of them really wants to hire Indigenous people onboard to help with the design of these dolls. They don’t want to have to speak to the people of these various distinct tribes and ethnic groups to make sure the dolls and characters are authentic. No. That would be…putting in too much money and effort. And their goal is to stay rich, above actually making sure little children have toys that represent them…

I would say American Girl, now another part of Mattel, possibly the side of the company that puts forth more effort, has actually been the best at designing an authentic character from an Indigenous tribe and/or ethnic group. Their Historical character, Kaya, was designed with special permission from the Nez Perce tribe. They worked “with the author to make sure the story was told in an accurate and respectful way”. This is why Kaya doesn’t “bare her teeth” like the other dolls, as it was basically rude or a sign of aggression in her culture.

It’s ironic that I’ve had some almost-woke individuals try to explain to me how this is racist…not knowing that it has some cultural significance to the people of the actual culture…

That aside at least American Girl put their best foot forward with creating a Nez Perce doll. Not “Indian doll”, “Nez Perce” doll. It took them five years of extensive research to develop her. That’s some dedication. Of course, this is why the doll is so expensive, yet it is a quality doll worthy of respect.

For most doll companies, they really shouldn’t have to spend that much money or go to that great of lengths to create an authentic Indigenous character. They can just, ya know, hire more Indigenous people to come work for them or bring some on as consultants. I guess that makes too much sense.

They could also opt for more modern depictions as opposed to the more expensive and difficult historical interpretations. Somehow, that seems to go way over these companies’ heads.

That being said, while American Girl did create a very well-crafted historical doll, there’s a lot to be said about American Girl’s failure to include more dolls of color in their contemporary lines, such as Girl of the Year and World By Us (a line they claimed would have more diversity), and that includes dolls from an Indigenous group. Truly Me really doesn’t count because they are largely customizable…

Yet, I still would have liked a contemporary Indigenous doll for their Holiday line-up.

On that note, there’s the fact that companies just love to keep Indigenous people tied to the past, as if they aren’t modern groups of people living, thriving, and surviving in modern times.

Even when they do make them semi-modern, like in Zodiac Girlz’s case, they have to have some stereotypical “Indian” accessory to highlight the fact that they are Indigenous.

We as consumers have to also get out of the mindset that an Indigenous character has to look like a stereotype, and that we’d only buy her if she (or he) were a stereotype, coming with some of our favorite “Indian” items like buckskin dresses and teepees. We kind of have to hold ourselves accountable, too.

That can be difficult when most companies, along with their consumers, forget that Indigenous people still exist outside of history books. Ultimately, all parties end up associating modern Indigenous characters with other people of color as a result…

And that brings me to…

Racebending, Ethnic-bending, and Ethnic-Cleansing

When companies are too afraid to “stereotype” Indigenous characters, their next resort is to bend the ethnicity or “cleanse” it to fit the majority’s tastes.

It’s no secret that dolls of color sell less than White dolls. Studies have shown this.

So, many companies do not often want to invest in creating dolls of color primarily. Some countries don’t want them sold in their nation at all. Basically, there are risks due to worldwide racism against characters that aren’t of the dominant and preferred race.

You’d get all of this if you understand that racism means to believe one race is superior or one whole race is inferior. Ya’ll understand that right? In a nutshell?

Yet, many companies know that they have to have some diversity in order to appeal to the masses. So, what do they do? They draw up a racially ambigous character that can pass for all minority groups.

With that being said, some companies may find that there’s no benefit to really making a specific Indigenous character. For starters, most people around the world don’t even know who Indigenous people are, so companies don’t often know how to market a character like this on a global scale. Second, most people confuse them for being Black, Hispanic, and/or Asian, especially if those people don’t live in a colonized nation.

It doesn’t help that some people of color are guilty of this, even those from a colonized nation. I think that’s kind of how Pocahontas got popular. Many Black people in the 1990s were starved of representation, and saw themselves in Pocahontas, one of the few characters of color to come out of Disney…There were too many girls in my class trying to straighten their hair to look like her. Some of them really thought Pocahontas was really black…

In Japan, there’s even the Pocahontas Joshi (I hope I’m saying this right). It’s basically a slang term meant to criticize Japanese women who want to be westerners, with many people claiming they want to “wear their hair long” and “wear heavy make-up”, making them look like “Pocahontas”.

My cousin is Afro-Latina, and as a gift, one of my relatives bought her an American Girl Nanea doll, a bi-racial, Half Native Hawaiian doll. This was because that relative stated the doll “looked like her.” This idea was flourished even more after my cousin dressed up as Moana for Halloween.

Overall, companies would just rather make a neutral racially ambiguous character that can cover many different ethnic groups, allowing that doll to sell to more people, and increasing profits, rather than taking the time to develop an Indigenous backstory for Indigenous people and their children, just to reach the smaller minority. Largely, this leads to Indigenous people getting left out of the consciousness of consumers and fans of toy brands, and ultimately out of the consciousness of the greater social and political world, too.

Even when a company does create an Indigenous character, they will opt out of making other minority groups, thinking that an Indigenous character would cover all basis, and vice versa. It’s quite common to find companies making one or the other. For example, they’ll design an Indigenous character instead of an Asian character, as they did with Native Hawaiian Nanea (instead of making that Japanese American character everybody wanted for WWII). To some execs, a doll like Nanea looks Asian enough to pass for Asian, so there’s no point in actually creating an “Asian” historical character…

It was the same with Mattel Barbie’s Kira…She was coded as Native Hawaiian, but passes as Asian American, too…Though, granted Hawaii is such a mixed place now, that it’s not uncommon to find many Hawaiians mixed with Asian ancestry. Then, there’s the debate of whether those of Polynesian ancestry are technically Asians… Eh…

The worst of the companies, though, often design Indigenous characters, but later completely bend the race or cleanse the ethnicity from the Indigenous characters entirely, White-washing them, or worse, making them a whole new race or ethnic group, preferably the more profitable one at the moment.

The first sign I saw this happening was with The Magic Attic Club’s Rose Hopkins. Rose was one of the rarest. She was actually a pretty well-developed Indigenous character, one of Cheyenne heritage, and she was actually modern. In fact, her personal collection showed her displaying a variety of interests. Yes, she did have one traditional-ish Cheyenne dress. However, she also had a collection that showed her in a beautiful ball gown playing a saxophone, a soccer collection, and had camping gear, too. Her interests were playing soccer and utilizing the computer (back when computers were a novelty).

Yet, when Marie Osmond and her ex-husband Brian got a hold of The Magic Attic Club dolls, Rose was transformed into a Hispanic character…

Allegedly, they felt that since Rose had a larger Hispanic fanbase, she would sell even better if she related to the larger minority group, the one that would get them more profit. Ultimately, her heritage was erased, and the representation she provided went with it.

This also recently happened with Bratz’s Kiana. Though MGA Entertainment claimed in the past that they didn’t want the characters tied to any particular race, they didn’t hesitate when it came to borrowing significant cultural staples.

Just like Kumi was advertised with a Kimono, reflecting coded Japanese heritage, Kiana was definitely coded Indigenous. Sure, she wore stereotypical buckskin, was largely present in a Wild Western line, and had hints of turquoise in her collection (which I’ve already mentioned in another video how that is significant among Native American tribes). But however stereotypical, she was still a form of representation for Indigenous children and fans of the doll brand.

Instead of developing her into a more nuanced Indigenous character, with a strong Indigenous backstory, those recently running social media decided to just change her to Black, especially because the G. Floyd tragedy brought attention to Black people. They knew this would be more profitable and make the company appear as if they had all these “Black” characters. Honestly, it just feels like they unknowingly confused Kiana for being Black because of her “deep brown skin”, and obviously had no Indigenous people in their conciousness.

And few Black people spoke out about it because, even to some of us, Indigenous people are not in our consciousness, either.

It seems like it’s just so much easier for companies to refer to the minorities that have an influence on the entertainment industry, rather than developing for those lesser known folks.

For many minorities, if it doesn’t effect us, and if it’s some type of representation for someone, we often ignore Racebending or Ethnicbending. But actually, this is not okay, and it robs people of the representation they need and deserve, while also leaning into cultural appropriation.

But this is only getting started when it comes to Bratz…There’s the White-washing of coded Black characters, the mix-up between Russians and Morrocans, and the Chinese name given to Japanese characters…So why be surprised that they erased their only Indigenous representation?

I think the worst offender of this, though, is Hasbro.

This is their Blonde “Indian” doll and White-Washed Pocahontas…

What is this Hasbro? Why? Just why?

I think if most companies could, they would have most of their White dolls play “American Indian” for a day, at least as a costume. Then, they could sell more blonde dolls.

All of this does bring me to my last point…


The final effort these companies make towards including Indigenous characters is by avoiding making one at all. You might think this is the best option for companies. I mean, if you can’t make them right, and if everybody’s going to complain, why make them at all? Right? Right?

This behavior is cowardice. It shows a company’s lack of ability to take risks and challenge themselves. It reveals a company that lacks innovation. Lastly, it reveals what the company really thinks about Indigenous people, their potential consumers. Ultimately, to that company, Indigenous people don’t exist.

As a Teen Vogue article pointed out, “Invisibility is the Modern Form of Racism Against Native Americans“, and this is true of all Indigenous people, and of all people of color, really.

The article points out that Native Americans live in a country that consistently pretends like they don’t exist.

The then 15-year-old Peyton Boyd remembered her teachers showing videos about diversity “where all the races of the world came together and held hands, [but one race was always missing].” You can guess which group of people were missing. Really, Indigenous people are missing from media in general. The article challenged us, the reader, by asking if any of us can name any famous Native people who were born after 1950. Can you?

Why do doll companies participate in this erasure? Well, as mentioned before, it’s just easier to avoid controversy by not stepping their toes in the water at all. If they don’t try, they can’t fail.

Second, since many of the doll companies are owned by White people, there’s this discomfort with addressing Indigenous people because of the ugly history. Some of those with European ancestry living in colonized lands want to see themselves as natives of that land, and having to face Indigenous people is a reminder that they are just like the immigrants many of them so often despise. It’s a reminder that they brought diversity into a land that was once homogenous. To address their lack of Indigenous characters, they would have to face history head-on.

Third, some of these doll companies are run by people who are not from colonized nations, but from other foreign countries. Therefore, they don’t know anything about Indigenous people, and may not refer to their original people as such.

The average consumer, the average doll fan, also doesn’t think too much about Indigenous people. So, the Indigenous group gets left in the dust.

The final problem is that even when a company attempts to create Indigenous characters, once the company folds, the Indigenous representation goes with them, as in the Global Friends’ case. This is why we need the bigger and more prosperous companies to try developing proper Indigenous representation.


While you all digest your turkey, I want ya’ll to marinate on these thoughts about Indigenous representation, and maybe, by next year, we can get these doll companies to come up with better Indigenous representation in time for next year’s Thanksgiving. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!

Ciao, Peace!

While you’re at it, learn how to Decolonize your Thanksgiving next year!

8 Ways to Decolonize Your Thanksgiving

Bratz Dolls’ “Comeback” Is a Mess (New Bratz Dolls, Talking Bratz Tik Tok Series, and All)

31 Oct

Hello, GenNext readers! It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

Today, I finally want to talk about Bratz again. To watch the video, skip to the bottom.

I know that I promised earlier this year that I would be posting more to promote the Bratz’s 20th Year Anniversary. The last project I did to promote it was Ranking the Worst to Best Bratz Movies article and video. During that time, amidst work, life and career changes, as well as battling sicknesses, I have been working on that Bratz project I’ve been telling everyone about (the Bratzpack wiki or fandom page, as it’s now called).

Like the stubborn Sun in Taurus and obsessive Moon in Scorpio that I am, I’m still dedicated to it. If you were to go to the website now, it might not seem like I’ve initiated much. That’s because I’m waiting until I gather everything, all of the information I could possibly find on this brand, before officially fleshing the place out. Because of my goal of making it a huge database for all Bratz information, it has been costly and time-consuming, both of which this poor Black-American doesn’t have.

However, that’s only been partially my reason for delaying the process of posting more videos and articles about the Bratz, though. I know that if I really felt motivated and compelled, I would have stopped everything I was doing to push forward with promoting my “Girls with a Passion for Fashion”.

Yet, here I am, not feeling that sense of motivation. I purposefully set aside making content so that I wouldn’t jump to conclusions about the Bratz’s 20th Year Anniversary. I told myself that I would wait it out this time and see how I felt about everything.

In years prior, I would give commentary on my articles or in my videos about the Bratz dolls’ comebacks, and so often I felt there was something I was missing. This time, I told myself I would wait until I saw most of what was being produced to celebrate the Bratz’s long reign in the doll industry before forming a conclusion.

And as someone who has been into the Bratz for 21 years, yes, 21 years (I think I’ve over-stated how I discovered Bratz when the website was under construction in the year 2000), I can honestly say…that the Bratz’s 20th year anniversary has the face of nostalgia, but is really missing the heart, the soul, of what the brand really was back then. For me, this has been a very superficial re-launch. Honestly, and truthfully, I feel disappointed with the Bratz’s 20th Anniversary.

The great majority of Bratz fans may not agree with me nor understand why I’m not geeked-up for the Bratz this year. I’m accustomed to being a Bratz fan outsider. If you’ve been into the brand as long as I have, you’ve seen the faces of Bratz fans change all the time.

For those interested, I’m going to share what’s been bothering me about the Bratz’s anniversary. And maybe not just this year, but what’s been bothering me since the brief hiatus after the release of the 2018 Collector Dolls. I felt certain events after that release led to this point.

Lack of Investment

To be quite frank, it is becoming pretty obvious that MGA Entertainment isn’t investing in the Bratz brand the way they used to.

It’s possible they see the brand as risky since all of the reboots haven’t had the same success the brand had in the 2000s, the dolls are pretty controversial, and the brand has been subjected to so much legal trouble in the past. It might not feel worth the risk. There’s a possibility Bratz or the company is surrounding current legal trouble or will surround future legal trouble if launched. I’ll talk more on this a little later…

Or maybe MGA just can’t find the same strong team they had back in the day. I mean, if you look at some of those reviews from job sites, such as Indeed and Glassdoor, the designers and other teammates who worked with MGA…Woooo. The reviews they have left are savage, for lack of a better word. I will really go into this later. However, for now I can just say the current and former employees don’t have many nice things to say about working with the company. The best thing they have said is that they have “learned a lot”. I compared MGA Entertainment’s reviews with some of their competitors, and…it’s just not the same.

With that in mind, it’s possible MGA can’t find a strong solid team for the brand. I know that with most start-up or creative businesses like this one, the turn-over rates tend to be high. But in comparison to other doll companies, MGA’s reviews were nasty. The company has been through ups and downs, so maybe that plays a role in why the company has been like a revolving door the last couple of years. I don’t really work for the company to speak on its character. However, I do know that this maybe gives some clue(s) as to why they can’t seem to find a solid team to help re-launch the Bratz brand.

It doesn’t help that the doll industry isn’t as strong as it was back in the day and that the tween market has largely been demolished. Companies have given up on appealing to tweens, even in television. Honestly, I heard Disney Channel is folding and moving online. The UK’s Disney Channel already shut down for good. There’s a very good video floating around Youtube on the subject of the end of the tween era and there’s another good one focusing on Disney Channel’s demise.

The tween market was once a very good market back in the day because it made content both innocent and youthful, but something adults could get away with liking as well. Nowadays, content is usually for young children, teenagers and/or young adults, or older adults. Parents don’t feel that “Tween” content is passable anymore, and “Tweens” are actually now often watching more young adult content now.

Still, MGA could try harder to appeal to their current demographic (Millennials and Gen Z) in a more powerful way than they have in the last 10 years if they really backed up and really dove deep into what made the brand so successful in the past, as they’ve been promising they would for the last decade.

Remember this statement? From 2014?

So, here’s the deal with Bratz. We finally got the go-ahead to give it the time and backing to make it awesome. We want to really dig in to the direction of Bratz, what makes the brand awesome, and bring that back full force! In order to do that, and to have the epic come back that the brand really deserves, we are taking a year off. We are giving ourselves and the buyers a chance to cleanse palates of expectations so we can come back in 2015 and deliver something cutting edge, disruptive and awesome.

It’s like they’re almost there every time, in 2010, 2015, 2018, 2021, but seem to be missing something every time as well. The reason they keep meeting a brick wall is because they really need to invest time and money into re-building this brand from every angle, and it doesn’t feel like they are willing to do that. They may not have the time or resources. MGA Entertainment seems more focused on their newer more immediately profitable products such as L.O.L. Surprise and Rainbow High. I really don’t blame them, especially post-pandemic.

Still, it’s obvious the Bratz isn’t their focus anymore. They may have some people fooled, but I can see it. There are many signs that the company isn’t really invested in Bratz anymore. It’s pretty clear the 20th Anniversary was thrown together as a result.

Let me just run down how I could tell they aren’t investing anymore.

There Are Too Many Issues With The Dolls

First off, the “20th Yearz” Anniversary was off to a rocky start when they “asked fans” what dolls we wanted to be re-released this year. When did they ask that question? NOVEMBER 2020. That means they hadn’t been planning this launch for very long. It didn’t become a thought until the END OF LAST YEAR.

Honestly, this launch should have been planned shortly after the 2018 Collector dolls were released because fans were asking for 20th Anniversary releases since then. They should not have waited until the end of last year to focus on re-setting the Bratz brand for 2021.

Normally, a solid release at least takes a year, even two years, to prepare for. For every doll brand that I’ve studied, a solid launch (and re-launch) has normally taken two years of development. For all of you who have worked on a doll team, correct me if I’m wrong on this. I know I’ve had several developers and creators comment, so I would love your input regarding this.

From what I know, a strong launch takes time. This is especially the case when a brand has been stagnant for years and is re-launching as if this is their debut. MGA Entertainment isn’t treating this like a serious re-launch if they asked fans no more than six months before the anniversary what lines they want re-launched.

It’s no surprise that when the 1st Edition 20 Yearz dolls first launched at Hot Topic, with only a few weeks’ notice, they appeared a little “wonky”, with quality control issues, and they also SOLD OUT within an hour, which to me means they didn’t prepare for the dolls to be so high in-demand. We had Mar the Cantos (who is now the confirmed social media content creator, which I suspected since last year) scrambling to reassure people that the dolls were mass-produced and were going to be launched more widely soon.

The dolls were eventually released more widely, and appeared on toy shelves at Walmart and Target, but they still had the same quality control issues and sold out too quickly in many areas, with few replacements on the shelves. Some people simply couldn’t find them at their local Walmart and Target, (and I’ll talk more about my theories as to why later in this content). The truth is Walmart and Target are stores that cater to moms, and the vast majority of moms don’t like Bratz that much. Some Walmarts and Targets haven’t approved of having the dolls on their shelves.

Even worse is no one stopped to think that maybe Walmart and Target don’t exist around the world, so if an individual lives in a different country or in a location that doesn’t have these stores, they’d still have to buy them online, like they would have had to for the collectors’ exclusive dolls. The whole point of fans asking for the dolls to be in stores was so they could see them on shelves, so they wouldn’t have to use banking info to buy them, wouldn’t have to convert coinage (if from a different country), wouldn’t have to pay delivery fees along with expensive ass dolls, wouldn’t have to crack a code to get into an American website if their country doesn’t allow them to get in, and so those under the age of 18 would have access. While I know the pandemic has basically placed everything online, many people aren’t comfortable with online shopping. Some people don’t like buying everything online. Some people want to see these dolls on their own shelves, where they can pay in person, possibly with cash.

Apparently, this was not a planned worldwide launch, where people in their own parts of the world could find the dolls sitting comfortably at their own local stores. If the company was really invested, they would have made sure they were prepared for a worldwide launch. There is another interesting video out on Youtube going into detail on how MGA used to prepare for worldwide launches back in the past called “Livin’ in a Bratz World: The International Distribution of MGA’s Bratz Dolls”. Honestly, I don’t know any company that only launches stateside when they have a globally popular brand.

If MGA was still interested in really investing, they should have also had some brand new collector dolls ready for launch shortly after the 1st Edition Bratz dolls re-launched. Some MGA customer care worker supposedly stated that new collector dolls were supposed to be released August 2021, along with the 1st Edition dolls. Well, the 1st Edition dolls released in May, and we are now in October. What happened to the collector dolls that were supposed to come out?

Yes, we all know the pandemic has pushed things back and changed things around, including the production of products. However, if they’d been planning this since 2019, the pandemic should not have been an excuse. Within the timeframe of the lock-down in 2020, MGA managed to launch sister brand Rainbow High solidly. The pandemic didn’t prevent that launch from being pretty solid; it should not have prevented a solid Bratz launch, either. They should have had a solid team ready for this launch, especially because they had quite a bit of time to plan for it.

Yet, all the confirmations we’ve gotten from social media, customer care workers, and listings have all been conflicting. It seems like we aren’t receiving definite answers about releases. Unfortunately, I feel like everything that was planned for this “20th Yearz” Anniversary was either rushed or scrapped.

Last I heard, MGA had a Pride collector doll and Holiday Felicia listed (initially Holiday Trinity was going to be re-produced).

I’m excited to have a Pride doll, especially since, as ya’ll know, I am queer myself. I’m also happy to have more Felicia, especially as a Holiday edition, since no dark-skinned dolls really had that honor before. However, due to the poor quality of the 1st Edition re-produced dolls, I’m afraid of how Felicia will look. I’m even more afraid that she will just arrive in Trinity’s old outfit instead of having a one-of-a-kind Holiday dress designed for her. Honestly, a few months ago, the listing stated Trinity was being released. Now, shortly before she’s supposed to arrive, it’s been changed to Felicia? To me, that’s suspect.

What nearly confirms my fears is the Rock Angelz re-release. Rock Angelz is also being re-launched and it appears they will be suffering from the same quality-control issues the 1st Edition dolls had. When I saw the leaks, Roxxi and Sasha didn’t look too good. I’m very happy I already have my old dolls. I feel sorry for all of you who are getting what’s new.

I did hear that they delayed the release of Roxxi and Sasha because of the backlash, so hopefully, people get better-looking dolls. Still, I don’t see them looking better than they did in the 2000s. It’s also really bad to have them delayed, considering I’m sure they will be the rarest regardless, since many communities, along with their retailers, still do not largely accept dolls of color or those who identify as queer.

Maybe it’s too soon to ask for Collector dolls. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if I want the new dolls to look the way they’ve been looking. With the strange eye coordination, and the plastic skin that looks too oiled down with Vaseline, I just can’t get with it.

Beyond the look of the dolls is the problem that we fans are mostly getting re-releases in the first place. I feel like the re-releases only offer something to new fans or fans who were not able to purchase Bratz dolls in the past. Unfortunately, these new dolls don’t offer anything to old-time fans. Why would I buy 20 Yearz Anniversary dolls when I have the old dolls? Even if these dolls did look as good as the originals, what would they offer old-timers?

I guess I really shouldn’t have much to say, considering the 1st Edition dolls did sell out, so maybe many fans wanted these re-releases. Maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about. I don’t know if the dolls sold out because of the new fans or old fans, but MGA follows the money, so whoever is buying it is who they will cater to. I’m probably alone in the pool.

The only way I can visualize old fans buying these dolls is if I conclude that there are some old-time fans that have to have every Bratz item ever invented in their collection, the good, bad, and the ugly. I’ve come to develop this mindset myself, so I understand it. Some of my viewers have helped to open my mind about certain dolls, like the 2015 dolls for example, which I wasn’t initially a fan of. I admit, I’m a skeptic and I can be stubborn. My Mercury in Taurus is very rooted. I also have Saturn in the 3rd house, which doesn’t help. Maybe some old-time fans don’t mind having two versions of the same doll.

I personally would rather have something new.

The other old-timers might buy them just to do videos on Youtube about them. I’m not beyond that either, when and if I get some more money.

But what other value do the dolls really bring to a collector?

I felt that if they wanted to re-release the dolls for older fans, they should have included something new, something that would get us excited for the re-releases. Instead they gave us the same old thing, but with wonky screenings. I don’t really make a whole lot of money to be throwing it out to just any old dolls. I love doll collecting, but as ya’ll can see, those who follow me on Youtube and visit me on my blog, I am interested in some very high-quality and expensive doll brands. In my case, if I had to decide between a “20 Yearz” Anniversary re-produced doll, and an older doll collection on Ebay, I’d be saving up for the latter. I’d rather invest in finding the older releases than in investing in MGA’s newer Bratz re-releases right now. Unless they give me a really good reason to buy these dolls, I don’t even feel compelled to prioritize it.

If we compare Bratz to their competitor, Barbie, her dolls have been released with the same amount of quality it has had for 10 years. She hasn’t improved, but she hasn’t worsened either. In some ways, the design is better. The sculpts are more detailed, Barbie has more body types than ever before, and with each release, it is clear when the dolls will launch. And when they happen, they happen on time.

Many of you might be wondering why I’m comparing Bratz to Barbie. Do you know the saying, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”? If you want to see where a brand stands, you can compare them to other dolls on the market to see where this brand can improve on their level or even past them. When Barbie releases an old collector doll, it’s a doll that has been in the archives for 30 to 40 years, been created by an expert designer, or it’s a doll that is super detailed and well-crafted. Often times, the dolls are re-released with something extra special for old-time fans who have the dolls, or they are usually so rare, no current major fans have them. Right now, on this level, Bratz isn’t leveling up past Barbie.

The Promotional Media Is Messy, Rushed, and Not Updated in Unison

Other signs that MGA Entertainment is not investing in the Bratz brand are seen through how they are handling Bratz through their promotional media.

Let’s compare this launch with Hayden Williams’s 2018 Collector dolls launch. Say what you will about his dolls, they might not have been everybody’s taste, and yes, there were quality control issues with that launch, too, but mostly everything was well-prepared for the release, especially the promotional media.

First off, the website. When Hayden Williams’s dolls launched, the website was updated to include his dolls, the characters’ bios, and even sources showing where to find and buy the dolls. It was a centralized location for all the latest Bratz information, even allowing fans to find all the social media websites connected with Bratz.

Second, EVERY SINGLE form of social media was on the same level of promotion. They were all in formation. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube all had posts promoting the launch. Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook all had the same posts as one another. Youtube had a video to promote the launch.

Third, they didn’t rush into a series before building the brand back up. If you follow me, you know how I felt about the original series, despite the fact so many fans seem to be in-love with that damn thing. If you want to know directly how I feel, please investigate Ranking Worst to Best Bratz Movies From a HUGE Bratz Fan’s Perspective (In-Depth Analysis).

The only thing that held the Hayden Williams’ 2018 Collector dolls launch back was the dolls themselves, and that’s pretty crucial, considering Bratz is primarily a doll brand (NOT A TELEVISION SERIES, though some fans tend to think that’s the heart of this brand). For me, the dolls weren’t that bad, but I admit that a lot of people didn’t like the style and there were issues with quality-control even then.

But let’s just compare then to now, shall we?

While, in recent times, the Bratz seem to be superficially “paying homage” to the old days, why does the website still say “Coming Soon”? If MGA Entertainment was really invested in this launch, wouldn’t they have prepared an official website?

And before anybody tells me, “No one goes to websites anymore, anyway”, consider the fact that they didn’t hesitate to launch a Rainbow High website when they were released last year. Notice how they still update L.O.L. Surprise.

Websites still have use when it comes to centering all Bratz products, information, and social media connections in one location. It’s still an extra extension of promotion. A main website can have “Shop” information showing where or what stores people can find the dolls, especially online, for each country.

At minimum, it would have been a great way to pay homage to the 2K era, to really play up that nostalgia, for the 20th Anniversary. It was a missed opportunity.

Now, they did try to organize all of the releases with a “tree” on Instagram, and they managed to put together a “Rock Angelz website” for those of you who bought those ugly ass new dolls, used the QR codes, and found the website. But that’s just on Instagram and if you are interested in one release from the new re-produced Bratz Rock Angelz line. apparently

Again, what I’m finding when it comes to social media and their websites is, this time around, they are not all in formation. Twitter posts certain things that you won’t find on Instagram. Instagram has things you won’t find on Tik Tok. Tik Tok has things you won’t find on Facebook. And I don’t even know the last time there was anything posted to Facebook and Youtube, really.

I have literally run into fans on Tik Tok who didn’t even know Bratz had an Instagram, fans on Twitter who didn’t even know Bratz had a Tik Tok, fans on Youtube who didn’t know Bratz had a Twitter…

And they all had different stories when it came to what they knew about the Bratz’s so-called “comeback”. I’ve discovered that the people with Tik Tok knew little about the posts found on Instagram. I mentioned an Instagram post about Nevra to someone on Tik Tok and they stated “That never happened on Tik Tok, so I don’t know about it”.

Someone who watches Youtube, maybe specifically my Youtube Channel, has stated they couldn’t find any new releases from Bratz and were asking me where I heard this information. Some of them tried to go to the main website but it looked like it did above (“Coming Soon”).

The bulk of Bratz promotion and content is coming from Instagram, which everyone doesn’t have access to nor likes to use.

Even on Instagram, they have delayed posting updates on products, with many fans finding out about releases from retailers themselves or off-brand fan sites. Bratz Rock Angelz was said by Walmart and Target to have released October 11, 2021. Did any of you all see any posts about it? Because I haven’t.

None of the social media pages have updated any information prior to the release of this long-asked-for line. Maybe because they saw how the fans were reacting to the leaks…Still, there should be some sort of information about these dolls that retailers are telling people about.

Fans are running around like chickens with their heads cut-off, trying to figure out what’s happening. All of this could have been resolved by leading them to one simple central website. We need a free website, that doesn’t require a sign-in, and is accessible to people of all ages, countries, and backgrounds. The website should be listing all of the available products coming out of MGA Entertainment at this time.

But that didn’t happen for this 20th Anniversary. I know the year isn’t over yet, but we have two more months to go, which still means they didn’t invest in this launch very much at all.

Now, Bratz did get a little series on Tik Tok for promotion. I want to talk about Talking Bratz. Someone from my Youtube channel did ask me what I thought about the Bratz series Talking Bratz.

I will now give my thoughts on that.

First, on a positive note, I want to say that I believe Talking Bratz has the potential to be better than the original series. As I’ve stated, I am not a fan of the original series, and I’ve stated why in Bratz 2018: Please Don’t! and I’ve stated it in Ranking Worst to Best Bratz Movies. I’ve been into Bratz too long, and know the brand and characters too well, to enjoy the TV series fully, especially because I was a bit older than the target demographic when the series launched.

Talking Bratz fixed two major things: Dylan and Felicia. As most hard-core Bratz fans know, Dylan was heavily “Black-coded” as early as 2004. He wore box-braids in many of his earlier releases, such as in Wild Life Safari and Wintertime Wonderland. He was darkened in many of his illustrations to fit his heritage more, such as in the book Xtreme Outdoors, and some of his dolls followed suit, such as Play Sportz Dylan and his Kidz doll.

Yet, for some reason, the original Bratz TV series, Rock Angelz, and that live action movie decided to white-wash him.

I talked about this and went in on it already. Whoever is in charge of Talking Bratz seems very aware of this, took notice, and updated accordingly, which means someone is doing a bit of research over there. Thank goodness for that.

They’ve also given some of the lesser known Bratz pack members, particularly Felicia, screen-time, which I feel is very exciting and could really serve to boost all of the main Bratz pack characters in the future, if they plan on giving all of them a chance to shine.

I like that they attempted to bring back some of the old cast, which obviously connects with the fans of the series. To me, this means they are trying to unite the universes, fixing what was wrong with the original series and bringing back what was right.

Despite this, though, considering the people who are being put in charge of the brand, and considering the way things are being promoted lately, I’m not sure just how deep the developers, animators, and writers are willing to go into the brand to really create the ideal TV series that I’m looking for. My standards are YAY-High.

I’ve been working on writing a series for Bratz. I’m still working on it. But as someone who is passionate about the brand and sees its potential, I would never just launch a series flimsily, and to me, I feel like Talking Bratz was launched a bit too soon and carelessly.

This fandom wiki project that I’m working on regarding the Bratz has done more than help me build a one-stop database. It’s also helping me understand the brand, in-and-out. I’m learning about the characters, their universes, their lives, what the fans enjoyed about the different series, movies, and books, what they didn’t, what I enjoyed, what I didn’t, the dolls, the fashion, everything. I’m analyzing everything. That’s the kind of dedication I want to see from a TV series developer and producer. I just don’t know if they really are that dedicated right now. It’s too early to tell.

My own work may never get green-lit, read, or fully visualized. I still want to write it because I believe there needs to be a stronger universe for the Bratz brand. I like that I get to take my time with it and really do the homework. If I make a film or series, I want it to be a production that truly leans into the brand, like what I’ve seen from the directors and producers who made Harry Potter. I want it to be almost like the original source material. In Bratz’s case, they have many source materials, even sources some fans may not have even heard of.

What really disappointed me already about Talking Bratz was the fact that Jade and Sasha’s segments were “scrapped”.

I was very disappointed. I’ve talked about the “Closmin” issue before in my Bratz 2018: Please don’t! content. I don’t want to see Yasmin and Cloe getting all the shine while Jade and Sasha get side-lined. Yet, this is what is happening again. And we were not given any real reason as to why this happened. But again, if MGA was really investing in this comeback, they would have had this series prepared way before this year, just like Rainbow High’s series was prepared. Nothing would have had to be “scrapped”.

MGA must have forgotten why the 2010 10th Anniversary dolls failed. Those dolls also failed because MGA, admittedly, rushed to put the dolls on the shelves, which created issues with quality. It caused them to go on a hiatus. Why haven’t they learned from that?

I don’t think they anticipated the demand would be so high for the Bratz right now. If they were really interested in investing in Bratz, they wouldn’t have waited for people to be interested. They would have been STRATEGIZING to GET people interested, making moves BEFORE the demand swarmed in. They would have been analyzing how fans were responding to the brand over the years, and would have taken notes on what fans were looking for and expecting. They should not have just looked on social media, either.

Instead, they put little effort towards the brand over the last couple of years, and only rushed to invest when they saw the success of the 1st Edition 20 Yearz re-release (which was a surprise to me, considering how wonky they looked).

Of course, we are in a different time and era. No brands can be as successful as they were in the 2000s, before internet and social media popped off. There’s just so much that can catch our attention nowadays. But if the brand was strategic, they could have managed to maintain a loyal fan base and could have gained way more new followers, at the very least.

If you compare them to their competitor Barbie, though her sales have declined, she’s managed to maintain a loyal fanbase and has kept her hold on the fashion doll market for over 50 years. On all of Barbie’s socials, she has managed to maintain millions of followers. The only place Barbie is emptier than Bratz is on Tik Tok, and this is only because it doesn’t have content yet. And yet, YET, she still has a few hundred followers and tons of Tik Tok fans that hold her name, those same people having millions of followers. All of this, without dropping content.

How? Barbie never forgets her “Hedgehog” concept (Review Jim Collins’s business book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t to learn more about that concept). Barbie tries to keep up with what’s new while never losing what Barbie is. The fact is the company actually dove deep to find out who Barbie has been and who she is now. They’ve found a way to merge all of her universes, too, through Barbie in the Dreamhouse, or at least they’re trying. I’ve seen some guest appearances of her old friends from her early days on there.

I’ve mentioned this before. Everybody knows that Barbie’s world will always be centered around her. She’s white, blonde, middle-to-upper class, pretty, and forever young (technically). She’s been developed to become anything to anybody. Yet, she’s found a way to maintain one solid identity, no matter how much she evolves.

In order to meet the demand for diversity, instead of changing who she is, they just added that diversity to her universe. Since 2016, she’s added newer skin tones, gender expressions, and body types to her universe. The company knows Barbie herself can never be everything to everybody, and they aren’t trying to make her that. They’ve tried that several times in the past and it failed. It would never work, because of Barbie’s reputation. Barbie is Barbie now.

What they decided to work with in the present, though, is working in Barbie’s favor, even if it’s silently behind the scenes, focused on her surrounding friends instead of her. Nowadays, most people have little negative to say about the brand. It certainly isn’t worse than what critics are saying of Bratz.

While meeting customer demand and maintaining Barbie’s identity, she’s able to make enough money to have new lines and new movies every year. It’s now a tradition to watch a Barbie movie for many generations of Barbie fans.

Like I said, MGA should “keep their enemies closer”. Barbie isn’t my enemy, but she’s Bratz’s number one rival. If they expect to get back on top, they should observe how she’s managed to last this long.

But that would only be if MGA is even still interested in Bratz like that anymore…which it clearly appears they’re not.

MGA’s official company website doesn’t even include Bratz as one of their “featured brands” anymore, and it is listed at the very bottom among all of their brands towards the bottom of the page.

Fans Are Investing In Bratz More Than The Company

To be honest, the main one really adding to the universe and building the brand is Mar the Cantos, the social media content creator. Mar the Cantos started off as a fan photographer. I believe she was a designer in New York. She hated it there, and when she returned back home, she found her doll collection and decided to post pictures of them.

Well, from those photos, Mar helped the Bratz go viral back around 2017(?)-2019(?). A few years later, Mar the Cantos was brought on to be the primary social media content creator. Mar the Cantos has been primarily responsible for all the photos we see on social media, from the Roxxi and Nevra “coming out” photos, to the celebrity photos we constantly see on social media, to the little throwbacks here and there from video games and commercials. Mar the Cantos is even the one highlighting other Bratz community fan photos from House.of.plastics and Monstorlool, among others.

An article titled “A Brief Investigation Into the Complicated History of Bratz” has stated that Jasmin Larian, CEO Isaac Larian’s daughter, seems to be working with the brand more lately, and has prioritized collaborating with Bratz “community leaders” and digital creators. That’s what, and who, is driving the brand now. Really, mostly fans.

From my experience, fans have always had a certain power over the Bratz brand. It’s both a blessing and a curse.

Back in 2003, I felt this fan power when they used to make the official MGA business email accessible to us. I used the email address a lot. In fact, I was one of the earlier fans to ask for Bratz to have a world-wide release for their music albums, since at the time they only had Show Me What You Got, which was only released in Japan and was hard to access online. Two years later came Bratz Rock Angelz.

Back during the 10th Anniversary and 2015 doll releases, other Bratz “community leaders” like Berry Bread and Alex B. were brought on to promote the Bratz brand.

Alex B. was around since the early days of the Yahoo fan group Bratz World. I do remember when Alex first joined, back when Snowflakebebe was the admin. However, I believe Alex really started to have more influence after connecting with MGA more intimately, possibly through a working relationship.

I’ve heard Hayden Williams was a big part of the Bratz community since 2001, too, before being brought on to design his own dolls. He was recognized in one of the earlier editions of Bratz magazine.

MGA is a company that has utilized the power of the fans to drive their brands, and it does wonders in their favor.

It’s partially what makes the Bratz community so exciting. We all feel apart of this brand, like we are all designers and developers right alongside those actually working at the main office.

However, it seems that the fans are the ones really putting in all the time, effort, and money to keep the brand afloat nowadays, even more so than in the past, where fans would be invited as consultants or interns within the company to work alongside the full-time hired-on employees.

Right now, it feels like with the social media, the merchandise, promotion, websites, videos, the fans are the ones making it happen now, not really official employees, and it shows. Most of the releases for the anniversary have been collaborations, supported by outsiders. From Make-Up Revolution to No Name Mexico, this year, they have relied on others to support the continuation of Bratz.

On a side note, I really loved No Name Mexico’s collection out of all of the collaborators. I enjoyed the fashion show immensely, and love their style. They are really cutting-edge, and, to me, represent what the Bratz stand for.

Overall, though, MGA isn’t lifting much of a finger in that direction. Maybe they are putting out some funds towards it, but they aren’t investing what they used to. To my knowledge, they probably can’t (and won’t) because there are other brands that are a priority within the company.

Mostly, all of the people working on Bratz have been independent contractors, freelance, ambassadors, collaborators, or public relations promoters of some kind. None have been officially signed on as permanent employees. I don’t know if Mar the Cantos has, but most have been working independently. This means they aren’t getting paid a solid salary with paid benefits from the company. They are putting their own passion and personal talents into the brand. At any time, they can pull the plug and say they don’t want their products associated with this brand anymore, and that would be it.

With that being said, with fans driving the brand, it’s hard to know what’s an official release and what’s not, what’s canon and what’s not, who is in charge and who’s not, who has insider knowledge and who doesn’t…It has created quite a bit of confusion.

There have been quite a bit of fan photos that people have confused for official releases, especially news outlets that aren’t too familiar with the brand. When the Roxxi and Nevra “coming out” story was posted on Insta, the lesbian news outlet AfterEllen thought it was an official launch of new “lesbian” and “bi” dolls. It really was just a viral photo that got a lot of attention. However, MGA just let everybody run with that idea, an idea they had no intention of following through with.

And honestly, that’s basically how MGA has handled Bratz. They just gave up all the power. The brand is like a run-away train now. They are letting any fans who can sensationalize Bratz do their thing.

While that might not be a bad thing in some cases, it can get bad when the fans have different levels, and even different years, of investment in the brand. Every Bratz fan is different. There are some Bratz fans that have been into the brand since debut, some fans that have been into the brand since 2005 when the TV show was launched, some fans that have come into the brand in 2010 or 2015, and some fans who became hardcore after the 2018 dolls were released or after Bratz went viral on social media. To quote my sibling, since they put it so eloquently, “every Bratz fan has their own life span” when dealing with this brand.

As a result, depending on when the fans got into the Bratz, those fans are going to have different, often conflicting, expectations from other fans. Those who have been with Bratz since debut are going to have a certain attachment to the things that they fell in love with at DEBUT, and may be more averse to changes. Newer fans would be more open to change. If you were there when the brand started, you’re going to have different expectations from those who came in with the TV series, and especially from those who are just now getting into the brand hard-core. We’re all going to have very different experiences with the Bratz.

Trying to appease these different types of fans requires a certain sensitivity, which can’t just come from one type of fan. It needs to come from a solid marketing team or a team of fans, from all different life spans. It’s not easy, but unfortunately, it is necessary, even in this largely inconsistent brand. This brand has had several evolutions over the years, and it needs to be analyzed and rectified. This will help create lasting power because they can hone in on the things fans will always find familiar about this brand, while finding what gets us excited, by putting many different minds together.

There especially needs to be some Board of Directors, some team or experts, that can review what’s posted on social media, the source of the Bratz dolls’ current development.

I say this because I’ve found that some of the “Bratz community leaders” brought on to support Bratz’s social media appear to be relatively newer hard-core fans who haven’t really invested in the brand for the last 20 years, and so the content they offer appears to conflict with what hard-core fans know about the brand. They might have had a few Bratz dolls back in the day or liked the dolls, but they weren’t INVESTED in the brand, meaning a part of the communities, analyzing the lines, observing the characters, watching all the movies, reading all the books, etc. In many cases, it has appeared that way to fans.

I first noticed this when a “Blind Date” post went up, and it listed Dylan’s Zodiac sign as a Sagittarius. Now, some people might find this to be a little petty post, relatively meaningless. However, fans still had opinions about this post. I saw comments like, “Isn’t Dylan a Leo?” and “Not this saying Dylan is a Sagittarius when there’s multiple evidence he is a LEO!”

I don’t know who made this post and who allowed it to get up there like that, but it was not met with the best reception. Again, while that little post might seem meaningless, it’s the little posts that can make or break people’s loyalty to the brand. If long-time fans, who know this brand in-and-out, can sense a change in values, management, even in story-telling, it can make them write everything off in the brand as “fake” or not worthy of any respect any more. They would get the feeling that someone “doesn’t know what they’re doing”. People often have those kinds of thoughts worming into the minds, even if they don’t say it out loud. Consistent universes allow companies to draw out relatable elements of a story or character to draw in and connect with fans. There’s a reason why brands like to create a universe for their dolls. The universes give the dolls identity, and identity sells. If things get too confusing, people tend to lose interest. There’s no point in using promotional media if it isn’t consistent, especially if you’re using it to tap into nostalgia.

The “Blind Date” incident was not the only time the social media posts created confusion. I will talk more on the other confusing posts in this same article later. For now, I will just say that if a company really was invested in this brand, they would encourage all on board to take the time to study the brand thoroughly before launching random posts.

I don’t want to sound elitist. I believe there should be room for all kinds of fans, and even new fans give the brand a fresh new perspective. To be honest, brands change and they do evolve.

However, when a “community leader” is put in charge of building the brand for the future, even if its just via social media, it becomes obvious when they don’t know much about the history of the brand, and it does ultimately isolate older fans. This can create not only fan tension, but it can also create a loss of respect for those in charge, to add a loss of faith in the brand. This weakens the brand.

It feels like those put in charge of social media are just posting anything, and I mean ANYTHING. Any company that is interested in investing in their brand would know to be careful of what is posted on social media because they would want to maintain the brand so that the dolls can get sold to the major demographic, ie. kids, particularly tweens. That’s not what’s been happening with Bratz.

Many fans were also taken off-guard when someone from the social media team re-posted the rapper Saweetie flipping her middle finger up in her Bratz robe.

Some fans called the social media team out on it, reminding them that they still had younger fans who visited the platform. It was only then that the “Bratz social media team” responded and said that they wanted to “cater Bratz towards their adult fans now”, which is apparently their new primary demographic. There was no warning of this beforehand, so it left many fans divided and confused. Some fans loved the openness; some fans felt it went too far. In any case, it wasn’t carefully thought-out, and no one prepared fans for the shift in focus. But it was a sign that Bratz was changing, for better or worse. It was also a sign that MGA had really let loose the reins of the brand.

People are also calling the Bratz social media a “stan account” now, since many posts, especially on Twitter, seem to have nothing to do with the Bratz. There was a recent post about Player 067, and most of the comments were about how “unprofessional” the account was getting and how desperately MGA needs a new social media team.

Most companies really interested in investing in a brand would stick to photos about their products, like MGA is doing for Rainbow High and L.O.L. Surprise.

Barbie may not get the same traction to each post made on Instagram, but there’s a reason she’s sitting on 1 Mil subscribers while Bratz is barely maintaining 700K.

Some people say if you’re a true fan, you should be a fan of everything. I don’t believe that’s realistic. To be honest, if you fell in love with a brand for some things, and they scrap everything that you loved about the brand, it isn’t what you loved about it anymore. You can still be a fan of all of the old parts of the brand, without embracing every new thing that comes out. Newer things might be more difficult to adjust to overall. Ultimately, the way Bratz is being handled has made my passion for the brand simmer down a bit. I’m trying to adjust, I really am, but I’ve had to swim through disappointment.

These points about the direction of the brand brings me to the next few reasons why I’m not really happy with the Bratz’s 20th Yearz anniversary nor even excited for the future of Bratz. I’m going to get deeper into some of the points I made in the next few parts.

CURRENT Adult Direction

As stated before, the social media team has stated that Bratz is now catering to an adult audience. Being an adult, you would think I would be over-the-moon about my favorite brand growing up with me. But I’m not.

I know in the past I stated I hated the kid-friendly Bratz that were released in 2015. I did at one time think that Bratz should start catering to their adult fans. However, how I envisioned it and how its being executed is not exactly how it’s going down. I believed that catering to the adult fans meant giving them the same type of Bratz energy (the funky, fun, fashion-forward lines, a really strong Bratz series or media content, and the same Tween-Teen formula) that they gave us in 2K. I was looking for the Bratz to be the same brand I have loved for years. What I’ve come to learn is that brands do change, especially because times change. Ultimately, this new “direction” just makes me feel old and more nostalgic for the old stuff that made me feel young.

Personally, I hate a lot of reboots for that reason. They just make me feel old. I also hate when companies try to make a product more “grown-up” by taking away anything that made the brand light-hearted and fun, as if being an adult means being grittier, darker, grimier, and more risqué. Many adult fans were hoping to share their love of Bratz with their offspring, passing the brand down to their kids. Now, many adult fans aren’t comfortable with that.

Recent Instagram post @Bratz

I felt the Bratz took enough calculated risks in the past without going overboard, which made them likeable. They felt young, free, wild, but good-natured overall, as Carter Bryant intended them to be.

Carter Bryant once told me that he enjoyed finding out what would get children excited about the Bratz. He wanted the fashions to be detailed, thought-out, and mixed and matched within one product. He wanted them to go beyond the “nostalgia regurgitation treatment”, bringing it into the future.

That’s some forward-thinking there. To be honest, how long can Bratz last if it’s just going to appeal to Millennials and Gen Z? What about Alpha? Sure, we can buy our kids the toys we loved, but that doesn’t mean it will have the same impact on them. It doesn’t mean they will like them enough to ask for them. What parent would buy a toy their child doesn’t show interest in?

Dolls like Barbie and American Girl have lasted for generations because they transcend time and have been catering to many new generations. They have managed to adapt well. Bratz has the ability to do the same, but no one is willing to put in enough power behind the brand, despite Bratz’s strong loyal following.

What does a brand give up when they start to cater to adults? For starters, the brand gives up playlines ultimately, the main thing most fans are asking for. This is not to say the Bratz won’t be able to release a few, like they were able to with the 20 Yearz Anniversary dolls, but it won’t be at the level it used to be. Investing in Bratz is probably already seen as a financial risk, since the brand hasn’t produced the same level of success they had in the past. But a company can’t make a fortune off of adult doll collectors alone, that’s for sure. And they need the money to really push this brand forward.

Though we’ve seen the 1st Edition dolls on the Walmart and Target shelves, many of you may also have discovered you can’t find it at every local Walmart and Target store, and certainly can’t find the dolls in stores outside of the USA. Why? Because retailers, who follow parents, decide what is appropriate to sell to kids. I’ve mentioned more about this in my video What Happened to the Bratz?. Bratz struggled enough to be seen as a proper toy for kids in the past; with their current online reputation, it’s even harder for the Bratz to be deemed appropriate enough to sit on toy aisles next to kids’ toys. I don’t think the average parent wants their kids exposed to all of what the Bratz has going on lately. It’s probably the reason most of the dolls landing on shelves are re-releases and why they aren’t being replenished as quickly.

The final issue that comes with catering to adults is the demand for high quality. Yes, I know we all think even kids deserve high quality, but kids don’t demand it. With inflation and the doll industry on decline, many dolls are made cheaper now, with a lot less accessories and playsets. Kids don’t typically mind. Adult fans tend to want their money’s worth. This means the dolls will end up being more expensive.

That won’t appeal to moms buying toys for their children post-pandemic. That doesn’t appeal to young college students who are on a budget. That doesn’t appeal to someone working two jobs struggling to make ends meet.

Unless all of the future dolls are old re-releases, the stuff that appeals to nostalgia, for any new dolls, the bar will be set very high.

These demands can only be met if they continuously release collectors’ exclusives, possibly only online, which means very few playlines found in actual stores.

And since the same old team from the 2000s is no longer with MGA Entertainment, we may have to settle with new designers and artists that may be incapable of meeting the demand for the Bratz dolls to look on par with 2K dolls.

Many fans have been speaking out about their lack of support for this new direction, but instead of taking fan feedback and re-evaluating the direction of Bratz, the “social media team” is dismissive. Recently, they posted this:

It’s clear they will not listen to fans’ constructive criticism until it’s too late.

Ret-Con Universe AND RE-TELLINGS

Retroactive continuity (or Ret-Con for short) is a piece of new information that imposes a different interpretation on previously described events, typically used to facilitate a dramatic plot shift or account for an inconsistency. It’s a revision of fictional work, in which established diegetic facts in the plot of a fictional work are adjusted, ignored, or contradicted by a subsequently published work which breaks continuity with the former. 

Basically, it means changing the core of the character(s) or altering the story to the point it contradicts itself.

A re-telling is simply to tell a story again, from a completely new angle. Bratz, as a brand, is guilty of both.

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Bratz brand, and really most of MGAE’s brands, is the universe-building aspect. Sister brands Rainbow High and Project Mc2 had the strongest universes of all of the MGA brands. Unfortunately, only one of the two is currently and consistently getting product releases.

Bratz is one of the weakest when it comes to the universe. To be honest, there is no canon Bratz universe (though you can’t tell fans of the Bratz TV series and Rock Angelz this, because that’s the only thing they know of Bratz). There have been too many series, books, movies, video games, electronic games, dolls, toys, all with different stories, different moments, and conflicting messages, many of them designed and produced before the Bratz TV series even aired. Bratz is like the Marvel universe.

It got like this because the brand debuted early in 2K, before the universe-building thing really got popular with fashion doll brands, and it scrambled to compete with dolls that were ahead of trend in this regard, like Myscene, which developed their universe online through webisodes, blogs, and movies way back in 2002.

The Bratz couldn’t catch up, so they ended up with a bunch of media that conflicted with each other while trying to land with producers and writers that would stick with fans. Now, it’s just all a mess. However, the universes can be united if those in charge of adding to the story recognized the Bratz’s vast universe and sought to bring some form of unity to the stories.

Some of you might ask why this is important for a brand like Bratz. At one time, this didn’t matter, because fans liked Bratz for its ambiguity. In the past, the more ambiguous a doll, the more fun they could be. But this was when we were dealing with Generation Next and older Millennial doll collectors (as well as Millennial Tweens) back in the early 2000s. Older generations didn’t get engaged with doll products based on the media associated. Jem dolls tried that in the 1980s, but it never transcended beyond that decade. Kids were more mesmerized by the functions of the toys or the vast array of items toys came with. They only needed to see them on toy shelves, in commercials, or in catalogues to get interested. The price to create these very detailed doll universes wasn’t as high, either, so dolls had very large mini worlds to play with, creating even more interest.

Somewhere, in the 2000s, as Tweens were losing interest in toys, many toy companies lost money, causing doll lines to be reduced, and the novelty of just owning a doll with amazing accessories or interesting functions, like hair color changes and talking dolls, fizzled out. Companies found a way to gain the interest of Tweens again by aligning their toys with engaging shows or online content, creating identities for the characters.

Now, the newer generations can’t even get into a brand unless there’s some universe-building media attached to it, whether it’s social media or other. Dolls have to have identity.

We’re dealing with younger Millennials and Gen Z, and I’ve noticed that most of them only remember the more popular movies and shows that attempted to create some universe(s) for the Bratz. In the 2000s, several different stories were pitched to see which ones would stick, and the Rock Angelz movie and TV series stuck the most.

As a result, those universes are currently influencing what kind of dolls are in demand right now, and what ultimately gets designed and released for the Bratz. That’s mostly re-releases, whether it’s some of the best of Bratz’s lines or some of the mediocre (which I’ve always found Rock Angelz as a line to be, considering the official doll releases, even back in 2005, only came with one pair of shoes and poorly matched outfits in comparison to, say, Girls Nite Out or Sun-Kissed Summer, but OKAY).

As we all age and comb deeper through the Bratz catalogue, many of us are discovering how much the Bratz universe clashed with itself.

What is needed for Bratz is someone who understands all of the universes very well, and for that individual to take charge in masterfully linking them up one-by-one. Unfortunately, though, lately those being put in charge of driving the story of Bratz were hand-picked just based on social media finesse. None were added based on long-term investment in the brand (financial, time, energy, or otherwise) nor on the level of knowledge about the product. Without someone who has a strong understanding of this brand, you are going to find those in charge clashing with the larger fandom all the time, which has been happening.

And worse, you’ll end up with the situation of having “Bratz community leaders” adding more confusion to the Bratz story, which frustrates Bratz fans of all life spans.

Lately, the main one who has been in charge of creating the modern-day “story” of Bratz is the social media content creator Mar the Cantos. I don’t know much about Mar the Cantos’s background, but I’ve read in the article mentioned earlier, “A Brief Cultural History of Bratz”, a bit about her past before the Bratz and how she became an influential “Bratz Community Leader”. From what I read, it appears that Mar the Cantos was quite young when the Bratz debuted, and honestly didn’t seem to really have much passion for the brand until her photos went viral a few years back.

In the article, I found it a bit intriguing that Mar stated “As a child in Ecuador…[she] was too young to truly appreciate [the Bratz dolls’] passion for fashion through the plastic encasement…”. She only saw their diversity.

However, it’s that very lack of understanding of the brand in the past that creates a disconnect from long-time fans today. Bratz is and has always been about the fashion, even more than the diversity. That is very key, hence their slogan. The diversity is a plus. Their passion for fashion is the basics of this brand.

It became apparent from this statement, along with an alright score of 15/20 from the Bratz 20 Questions Quiz posted on Instagram’s IGTV, that Mar the Cantos is quite a newcomer to the deeper fandom.

I sound so elitist, forgive me. I’m not trying to say that she, and others like her, can’t sit at the table because of it. However, it is what many hard-core fans pay attention to when watching those in charge of the development.

In fact, most of the questions she got wrong were from the TV series, and many fans consider that to be surface-level knowledge of Bratz. Many Bratz fans like when the brand pays homage to the TV series, but if you don’t know much about it, fans will pick up on it.

During the 20 Questions Quiz, Mar the Cantos admitted that she hasn’t watched the series in years, and that leaves many fans wondering why she wasn’t made to catch up with the series before being hired to post.

Unfortunately, so many posts have been made in-between that have really deviated from the “infamous” TV series (along with the posts deviating from certain commercials, Bratz songs, books, among other media, too) that now it’s hard to track what is canon or not.

I hate to bring up the 20 Questions Quiz, especially because I can’t say I know every single thing about the Bratz myself. Sure, I answered all of the 20 Questions Quiz questions they gave to Mar right, and created my own Ultimate Bratz Quiz, but even I am still learning about this brand, especially because it is an inconsistent brand with too much media content. I can only imagine how hard it is to be the content creator at this time, and can’t profess to do a better job.

I don’t want to act like newcomers aren’t welcome and can’t drive the brand in whatever new directions are possible. I’m not the gatekeeper or the one who can tell anyone who gets to be a Bratz influencer. The company can hire whoever they want to.

But, in truth, would many old-time fans continue to respect a newcomer, who appears to have had vague memories of the brand growing up, and doesn’t seem to have really gone deeply through the brand, even to watch every episode of the basic TV series, as a “developer” or “lead creator”? Fans are really passionate about this product, and they do expect a high level of knowledge from those working with these dolls and their media, at least on par with their memories of the brand. Their memories of the brand are what’s driving its popularity right now. If fans are spending money, that’s what they almost require.

My level of knowledge goes beyond the series, so for me, much is forgivable. What form of media hasn’t conflicted with one another in the Bratz universe? I’m there mostly for the dolls, and have basically given up on caring too much about the media.

However, for other fans, the media is all the Bratz is to them.

This is why the “Blind Date” post was considered such an outrage. Everybody knows Dylan has constantly stated he’s a “Leo”, not a Sagittarius.

Yet, we have social media posting him as a Sagittarius.

Nowadays, the social media posts have been twisting the story more and more, and this is largely because the Bratz universe isn’t being considered or isn’t being analyzed closely.

Personally, there have been a few posts that have bothered me more than the “Blind Date” one. I want to talk about the “Indigenous-Wiping” of Kiana.

I dislike when companies and creators take a character that appears to be another race, ethnic group, culture, and color, and “Blacken” them to add more diversity, without thinking about the deeper nuances that go into creating an authentic Black character, as if our experiences are easily written into another body. It’s worse when you take representation from one group just to pretend like you had all this representation for another group.

Now, it was very obvious to ANY HARD-CORE Bratz fan that Kiana was coded Indigenous/First Nations/Native American. On Ebay and/or Worthpoint, whenever anyone tried to sell her off, she was listed as “Native American”, showing the ethnic group she was strongly linked to by fans.

Her connections with the west (from being in the Wild Wild West collection), her pseudo-buckskin dress, and hints of turquoise (which shows a strong connection to the Southwest Native American tribes) were all indicators of Indigenous heritage. Sure, you can call them all stereotypes, but so were Kumi’s and Tiana’s traditional Japanese Kimonos. There are certain obvious cultural factors that are connected with a certain group of people.

Tokyo A Go-Go Kumi Prototype

But, of course, I’ve realized that some people don’t seem to remember that Indigenous people exist, even people of color. They associate anyone with a darker skin tone with being Black, and that’s just not always the case.

This representation was very important, and still is. Can you list any Indigenous characters designed for a doll brand? You can probably count them with one hand, possibly with only a few fingers.

Bratz was revolutionary for actually introducing a modern TEEN Indigenous-Coded character.

Unfortunately, lately, social media has been interpreting her as “Black”. Granted, Kiana being Indigenous doesn’t mean she can’t also be Black. Kiana can be mixed. Yet, I don’t remember one single post of Kiana during Indigenous People’s day. Not last year or this year.

Ever since the G. Floyd tragedy last year, MGA has been over-trying to pretend like they’ve had all of these Black characters they’ve developed. Don’t get me wrong. They’ve had more than other doll brands, but most of them were developed after the 2000s because of the obvious lack of them.

In the 2000s, there was Sasha, Felicia, Dylan, Zada, and Deavon who were obviously Black. Nevra was obviously meant to be Turkish (due to that name being considered more popular in Turkey at the time of Nevra’s release), but we can pass her as Afro-Turkish.

In the 2010s, Lydia, Myra, and Brigitte were introduced, adding a little more to the Afro-American mix. So, we don’t need to pretend dolls of other heritages were Black.

How many of the new 2010 dolls were definitely considered First Nations or Indigenous? None.

This kind of modern interpretation of Kiana is actually a major annoyance of mine. I’m very disappointed because the only other doll brands that had modern Indigenous characters were The Magic Attic Club, Zodiac Girlz, and The Global Friends, and they have been out of production for 20 years or more.

Secondly, I am still not fond of the Roxxi and Nevra pairing. I am queer, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept every bit of representation I get. I’m looking for proper representation, and after doing deeper research into the brand, I’m even less fond of the pairing. Being Black, I know all too well how things can go haywire when you aren’t represented properly as a minority. For many queer people, they are just starting to see themselves in media, so they are just happy to be recognized. Well, Black people have been there, done that, from the 1930s to the 2000s. What we slowly came to realize is that just seeing ourselves on television wasn’t good enough. In fact, the depictions gave people even worse ideas about who we were. This is why I’m also careful not to just dive into supporting a queer couple just because it exists.

First off, I felt the timing of the “coming out” story was bad because it was amidst controversy over Amina Mucciolo, a queer Black creative, who wanted royalties after she felt her likeness was copied by MGA Entertainment. Shortly after, some comments were made by Isaac Larian, the CEO, that didn’t go over very well. I believe he was just trying to protect his company and his workers, who are mostly people of color, but it back-fired. I really felt like that should have been settled first before the announcement because it left me feeling all kinds of mixed emotions, like they were using the couple to cover something up…

Ultimately, when I think of the two of them, I think of the incident. It ain’t cute.

Second, I feel like Roxxi was Bi-erased. On Youtube, my sibling VenusLove, as well as Jessi Gender and verilybitchie, really go into talking about this.

My sibling is very passionate about this topic, and they got me thinking more about this, too.

It has become a problem in media lately, where a character shows obvious attraction to both girls and boys, but is written off as “Lesbian”, “Gay”, or “Straight” to appease Monosexuals. Mostly, I feel like Roxxi was stereotyped as being “Lesbian” because she’s a rock star, and for some reason female rock stars are always associated with Lesbianism. But when you really get into her past, she has shown heavy attraction to boys. This is a part of the “ret-con” problem.

The Treasures! commercial has her flirting with some random boy on a party island.

In the Bratz TV series episode, “New Kid In Town”, she was flirting with Cameron the whole episode, and even had lunch with him at the end of the episode. She DATED Shane, along with all the other Bratz pack members, in the same episode.

She asked Dylan out in the “Miss Fortune” episode of the Bratz TV series (even though maybe that was just a part of the episode’s amulet curse, but I’ve noticed that the characters affected by the curse still had agency throughout the episode, despite the magic of the amulet).

Roxxi has a whole song, “I Don’t Care”, from the Rock Angelz album, about some other love interest that was “more than a crush”, and this song was not describing Nevra because “her friends think this person is weird” and “their hair is a mess”. That’s definitely not Nevra. After listening closely, I’ve come to realize this person from the song isn’t even one of Roxxi’s friends apparently, either.

Largely, I don’t think any of this was considered. Again, Mar has admitted she hasn’t watched the series in years. It’s possible she hasn’t really listened to full albums, or read any of the album booklets they used to come with, either.

Sure, we can have conversations about comp-het and heteronormativity, though I personally think, if used inappropriately, the terms can come off Pan-phobic and Bi-phobic.

Regardless, when taking that energy to characters in media, we have to consider it in context, how the visual media outlines the characters’ personal experiences, and how that impacts others’ views of the characters in relation to others and themselves. The newer visual media has to be detailed enough to explain Roxxi’s new-found Lesbianism and how she went from A-to-B. Yet, it just feels like all the events that happened in the Bratz TV series are being treated as if they never happened.

Further, I don’t understand why companies, or rather “influencers”, feel they have to change the complete development of a character just to make them Queer in the first place. It’s like they don’t think being Pan or Bi is “queer enough”, which is a part of Biphobia honestly. It’s also ridiculous that many developers believe two Bi individuals can’t be in the same relationship, that one of them has to be Lesbian, in order for the relationship to be “stable”. I see it happen all the time, and it’s honestly annoying.

There are a plethora of Bratz characters who have shown more interest in the same gender and don’t even have a heterosexual past at all. Wouldn’t it have been more advantageous to tap into those characters for a Queer story arc? I would prefer a character that hasn’t shown attraction to boys at all to come out as Lesbian than someone who has been actively seeking attention from the opposite gender only to come out without context. Roxxi’s sister Phoebe is probably more likely Lesbian than she is, but because she’s not a walking stereotype, no one tapped into that.

As a result, the announcement came off as either an obvious lack of understanding of the brand, Queer-bait, pandering, and/or Bi-Pan-erasure for the sake of “superficial diversity”, anything that would make the Bratz go viral, because anything Queer is guaranteed to garner thousands of likes on social media nowadays.

When handling visual media, the imagery impacts people and the way others are seen, and this kind of writing off of her past relationships makes it all feel like it was just a “phase”, which mirrors the way people see Bi-sexuals and Pan-sexuals in relationships. This actually damages the way sexually fluid people are treated in society, both in heterosexual and Queer spaces. It contributes to Bi-phobia, even if the character has never been designed to be Bi. It’s very disappointing.

When this relationship was announced, people were wondering, “When did this happen?” It was so random, lacked so much development, lacked so much nuance, that no one could even understand what these two even had in common to even bring them into close proximity. They’ve never appeared in a line together, never in a show together, and Nevra mentioned Roxxi only briefly in a book. And now, we’re supposed to believe they’re lovers? I’ve never been a fan of love-at-first-sight narratives, and being Queer doesn’t redeem that narrative.

Anytime I call out the poor development of Queer couples coming out of companies, I’m shut down by other LGBTQ+ members who will accept anything, as long as they are represented. Hey, everyone is entitled to like what they like. Still, I do wonder, does anyone care about how we’re represented? It’s not self-hating or homophobic to set your standards for how you want to be represented in media.

If anyone had been doing their homework really deep into the brand, they would have realized that Nevra’s real romantic lover should have been Meygan. Nevra has only appeared in six main lines in the past, but in THREE of them, including Secret Date, Meygan has appeared. They partied in Wild Life Safari together, kicked butt in Dynamite, and they even kind of flirted in Starrin’ & Stylin while getting ready to take prom pictures together.

Nevra has appeared in more books with Meygan than with Roxxi. Further, Meygan has often been seen flirting with the girls while all of her friends were with the boys, like in the Lil’ Bratz Spring Break Blitz commercial.

My ship has sailed with Nevra and Meygan. All of you who follow me on Instagram already know, so don’t come over here with that Roxxi and Nevra bullshit. Maybe I’m in my feelings because they’ve always been my preference since 2004. I’m probably just biased, but I was hoping for them to be acknowledged as the first LGBTQ+ couple.

Instead of looking into the brand at characters who actually have had development with one another and the right chemistry, they just threw two dolls together and said, “Happy Pride Month!”.

I’ll tell you why Roxxi and Nevra were chosen, for real. They were probably two of the only dolls that those on the “social media team” had in their collection. Someone designed some Pride outfits for them, they got attention on social media, and voila! Official couple was born! They gave Bratz attention. That’s the only reason they are being recognized as official. In truth, they were not planned at all. It’s obvious they weren’t. And that’s pretty much summing up how Bratz is being developed nowadays. Everything is just being pushed together, without any conversation, development, or deep dives into the brand. This is why no official dolls have been released with the two of them.

I’ve seen some companies really plan a Queer couple, with deep research, nuance, interesting descriptions and all. American Girl has done it the best for me with Kira Bailey’s aunts.

American Girl Kira Bailey’s aunts

We can make the argument that maybe Roxxi is Lesbian in the “reboot”. But if this was such a reboot or re-imagining, why have they recently re-released the Bratz TV series for streaming on Kabillion? The same series where her “attraction to boys” plays out? If they really wanted to transform Roxxi’s character, why are they still promoting the old show?

They are also promoting Rock Angelz, knowing good-and-well she has a whole song on the Rock Angelz album dedicated to somebody she fell in love with that’s NOT Nevra. None of Roxxi’s friends ever mentioned that “Nevra is weird” and that her “hair is a mess”. One of Nevra’s assets is her hair.

The biggest issue here, when we all put it together, is that the brand is currently giving us superficial forms of diversity, a bunch of woke clichés that don’t go deeper than that, all while ignoring the real thing the fans want: nostalgia.

I’m not a fan of Cloe and Cameron at all, but at least more development was put into that than what came out of Nevra and Roxxi.

Now, lately, it appears social media is scrambling to come up with stories for them. But even as they do that, none of their real personalities seem to be shining throughout it all. Nevra is hella bossy, and Roxxi is a free spirit. These opposites should be clashing. Where is the development? Even the app game failed to capture their spirits.

I don’t tend to bond well with “canon couples” that haven’t been developed well. Watching Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura growing up gave me high standards for what a queer couple should look like. My ideals are Seiya and Usagi (lead Starlight and Sailor Moon), Haruka and Michiru (Sailor Uranus and Neptune), and Yue/Yukito and Touya. Don’t play with me. I need something more.

It’s no secret I’ve never been a fan of any of the Bratz official couples. In my Bratz 2018: Please Don’t! video and accompanying article, I requested that they get rid of the official couples. However, instead, they seem to be adding more, which annoys me.

Once the official couples started rolling in, that ruined lines like Secret Date. It made lines like that impossible to recreate. The mix-and-match potential, so uncommon in other doll lines, was gone. It ruined the fun.

I also absolutely hate Cameron and Cloe. I mentioned one reason why in Ranking Worst to Best Bratz movies. If you’ve watched that, you know the first reason is because I feel like Cameron was always more into Cloe than she was him. She had way too many crushes throughout the series, the books, and the online blogs. I felt Cameron should’ve moved on.

Second, back in 2002, when the first Bratz Boyz commercial aired, I was very much impacted by Cameron attempting (and failing) to kiss Sasha. Now, back in the day, the Bratz commercials told a story all their own. This visual imagery impacted me. Back in the 2000s, you just didn’t see many interracial couples in media, and you certainly didn’t see it shown visually among doll brands. It was a bold statement. Whenever Barbie had a boyfriend, he was White. Her Black best friend Christie had a Black boyfriend.

It had never occurred to me that many different races of people could be attracted to Black women. Studies have shown that the world considers Black women to be the least desirable, and I internalized that as a child. When I saw Cameron flirting with Sasha back then, I knew this was not going to be a brand like Barbie…

And then Cloe and Cameron happened, and Cameron got Ken-dolled.

I was hoping that maybe some social media experts and new Bratz team members would bring Cloe and Cameron back to their independent days, when they were both single, flirty, and ready-to-mingle. However, as I’ve deeply come to realize, those working with Bratz now don’t know the brand well enough to bring it to a point they don’t remember.

With no consistency in sight, the story is getting so convoluted, it’s giving me whiplash. It really stops me from looking forward to the future of the brand, especially as far as media goes.

FanBase Divide

Ever since the release of Hayden Williams’s 2018 dolls, there has been a big fan divide.

Maybe I’m exaggerating here, but it appears that some of the old-timers that used to frequent the Bratz social media platforms and the ones that used to be heavy promoters of the Bratz brand have gone ghost.

It started with a little back-and-forth in the Bratz World community back in 2018. Eventually, it spilled over onto Instagram. The old-time fans didn’t feel that Hayden Williams’s dolls were good enough. They didn’t like the outfits nor the facial screenings. When they gave their criticism, some of them weren’t too polite about it, and Hayden Williams wasn’t too polite back. Well, it ended up causing a huge rift in the community.

Those old-timers were more supportive of all the other Bratz dolls up until that point, even the 2015 Bratz dolls. Heck, some of them even had a hand in the development of those dolls.

Well, those who supported Hayden Williams have given away their 2015 dolls and have boycotted any dolls from that era, and those who were against the 2018 dolls have boycotted Hayden Williams’s dolls and anything associated with him, even any future support of the brand.

This is all possibly just a feeling I have, but it appears that way because I haven’t seen a few certain Bratz fans around in awhile. I’ve also read comments of both sides stating they’ve “sold off” certain dolls.

During the Bratz’s 20th Anniversary week countdown back in May, social media was not hesitant to post some snark towards the 2015 era.

Unfortunately, even I feel I haven’t done enough to keep the Bratz fanbase together, and have regrets for participating in the divide. At one point, I seemed to side with one party over another rather than trying to be more diplomatic and understanding in my approach. Now, I understand many of the fans I once struggled to understand, at least to some degree.

When I really think about it, the fandom divide is actually hurting this brand. Division allows other brands to conquer. It lowers the amount of money that can go into a brand, too, even if no one realizes it. If one group of fans support one thing, they will pay for it, but if the others don’t, they will boycott.

It’s probably why Bratz is staying at 700K followers on Instagram instead of climbing into the millions, which I believe is the brand’s highest potential.

I really felt the throw towards the 2015 dolls broke the camel’s back. Believe it or not, there are fans who got into the brand through the 2015 dolls.

Heck, there are fans who entered through the 2010 Anniversary, too. I ran into one person who is personally more of a fan of those dolls than the ones in the 2000s, if you can believe that.

Even though they may seem like a minority, if we know anything about minority groups, they actually have more power than we realize. The minority group could potentially add to the majority.

Rather than writing off the old eras, acting like they didn’t exist, or down-playing what happened in the past, the solution is to integrate. Barbie and American Girl (both by Mattel) have slowly but surely learned this.

Bratz needs to bring the best of their weakest eras back and update it to fit with their best eras. For example, instead of acting like Raya, Lydia, or other newer dolls didn’t exist, they need to re-release them with the 2000s-style face molds and updated fashion. They also need to fix what was the weakest parts of their best eras (such as their Ret-Con universe).

However, without a strong team to analyze the Bratz brand’s past failures and successes, they can’t move forward. The brand feels like it’s in limbo.

And with the way the facial screenings have been looking lately, it also appears like even if they did bring the old-new dolls back, they’d still look pretty bad to the general public.

While Bratz is gaining many new fans, they are also losing their old fans.

The problem with this is that the fans all want different things now, which makes it difficult for fans to unite for a single purpose. Many of them want new dolls, but others want a new show and video games. Some of those working on Bratz have been trying to update to keep up with the dolls, such as Talking Bratz trying to rightfully design Dylan Black, as he’d been interpreted as a doll. However, there were fans on Tik Tok, fans who only watched the movies and TV series, who accused them of “Black-facing” Dylan. This kind of divide occurs when the fans of the series or movies don’t realize Bratz was a DOLL brand first, and have never really analyzed the dolls well enough to understand Dylan’s interpretation. If all the fans aren’t on the same page, and there’s no one seeking to unite the universes, this kind of confusion will continue to happen, dividing the fanbase even more.


I’ve been wrestling with back-and-forth feelings about whether I should continue to support this brand or even the company any more. I still absolutely love the dolls coming out of MGA Entertainment, and I feel the visions are so next-gen. I’m Gen Next, as ya’ll know. I like to find what’s advancing into the future. MGA Entertainment has always been filled with visionaries. It’s also always been a company that’s inclusive and has always hired more diverse groups of people than any other company, long before their competitors saw the advantage of that.

However, there are some things that have been weighing on me. I don’t have all the knowledge about what’s happening behind-the-scenes, but I have fingers, keypad, and internet. I’ve been seeing and hearing some things that have made me feel uncomfortable. Until it’s settled, I don’t really know if I feel right investing my all into MGA’s products.

The first incident with Amina Mucciolo last year jarred me a little. Just to give you all a little history on that again, there was an influencer named Amina who claimed that MGA Entertainment appropriated her likeness without her permission when creating an L.O.L. Surprise character. She wasn’t being paid any royalties. Isaac Larian then went onto social media to rant about how she was a scam artist and a “disgrace to black people”. He had to shut down his social media after that because last year was a very sensitive time, especially regarding race issues.

However, I was able to see both sides of the coin, even if it wasn’t popular to do so. Still, I was caught between understanding Amina, someone that I really could see myself in, and understanding a businessman like Isaac Larian, who was protecting his business and his employees. After all, a Black woman worked on the doll that was being called into question.

But then…other things came to mind and came out.

I ran into a Saatchi Art page created by Carter Bryant. This is what I read:
“Hi I’m Carter Bryant. I’m the creator of Bratz and co creator of Pinkie Cooper and the Jet Set Pets and Sugar Planet. I continue to invent toy concepts, but I am now also adding painting and writing and illustrating children’s books to my resume. I currently only have 2 works up but I have several paintings in the works. Much of my work was taken hostage from me during the Mattel/MGA court battle years ago and I still have not been able to retrieve it, so much of my back catalogue is unavailable for me to share. No mind, tho, I have thousands of drawings that I will begin sharing soon. I’m currently super busy with a couple very intense concepts, but once I wrap them up, I will start to post more of my work. As far as painting goes, I’m exorcising a lot of demons from the past 16 years or so, but probably better said as most of my nearly 50 years here. I’ve experienced and been a witness and a subject to many things that most people would not want to experience or be witness to. But my work isn’t relegated to the past; my work-in-progress speaks to a socio-political climate that reverberates with me daily. A person of a very brittle religious upbringing, my coming out as a gay man has been fraught with tension and loss. I look back in my current work with much sorrow. I’m afraid my journey into painting is not terribly optimistic. I’m also working to explore issues that confound and confuse me, but also things that I am not above or apart of; guns (my partner loves them, go figure!) religion, sexuality, social isolation, PTSD, culture shock, addiction, abuses of power, to name a few. As an observer of American culture, mostly, I have succeeded in the past to bring to light the fact that ours is a completely fascinating, beautiful, diverse, wild, hopeful land, littered with so much tragedy and pain. The characters I create in my toys are almost always full of joy and optimism, and through them I get to escape into a world of pure bliss. The characters in my paintings however, fill my need to express my deepest thoughts about things that I can’t always verbalize in any sort of eloquent way otherwise. I look forward to getting to show you what I mean.”

Carter Bryant also left some comments on my blog back in 2015, about six years ago. I don’t know if any of these things have been resolved, and I even doubt they have. Carter stated he would not work with MGA again, and it had nothing to do with the lawsuits, but simply “the way [he] was treated over the years by the leader of that company”. In regards to royalities, he also confirmed that he wasn’t getting paid anything for the Bratz, though they were his babies.

Personally, it doesn’t seem like the company wanted to put in any more fight for Carter Bryant to maintain some ownership of the brand, or to even get paid any royalties. They didn’t have his back.

Really, this is a reminder of how companies AND our justice system treats minorities, like Amina and Carter Bryant, who are Black and Queer. We don’t have the money, connections, or legal knowledge, and so often get taken advantage of in this system, even by our own.

Carter Bryant’s comments mirror the same reviews left about the company on career websites like Indeed and Glassdoor.

On Indeed, one designer left a review titled “Roller Coaster Ride not for the faint of heart” in 2019 stating,
“There are many super talented and dedicated people here. I learned a lot.
But I have to agree with what several reviews have to say about the leader and have more to add……

  • too involved in day to day activities
  • passionate= good . angry, berating=bad
  • unethical, dishonest, shady
  • [long-term] vision and direction was [non-existent]
  • created an environment of stress and insecurity leading to distrust and in-fighting, competition between employees to try to survive.
    Brainstorming, talented employees, bagels, flexible hours
    Endless rounds of lay-offs, vendors left unpaid, stressful and insecure often”

On Glassdoor, one former employee left a review titled “The most miserably toxic workplace in the business”.
They stated:
The pay is decent so they can draw you in. Isaac (Owner/CEO) is probably a genius and seems to be finally working on himself. Their HQ is a very modern and nice space.
Far and away this is the most toxic organization I have ever worked for. The entire place is fueled by fear and stuffing more money into a billionaire’s pockets. It’s not exactly motivating. Very few stay for more than a year or two.

All of those toy awards they collect? They make every employee vote for MGA toys. If you haven’t voted, they will SIGN INTO YOU EMAIL ACCOUNT to vote in your name. Assistants have spent entire weekends doing this.

The reviews here are the same. Every positive review you may see here is entirely forced. They make people write positive reviews to balance the authentic reviews because they know they haven’t earned them on their own merits.

Back stabbing, lying, throwing co-workers under the bus, all of it is not just tolerated but encouraged. Screaming at teams is a-ok with them too.

NOBODY there is happy. Even the handful of loyalists say “I can’t believe I’ve been here this long.” It’s a miserable place to work. Avoid at all costs.

Advice to Management: Maybe try treating your employees with some respect and decency for a change of pace. You know you have ridiculous turn-over rates. Do something about it.”

Another post on Glassdoor was called “Do not work here, RUN!”.
This is what they stated:
None. The one and only perk of this job was 2pm release “Summer Fridays”, and those were taken away from employees without them ever being told from leadership.
Where to start? I’m am writing this review to give future employees an insight to the day-to-day culture of MGA Entertainment. Something I wish I was given before [accepting] a role here. This company offers ZERO flexibility. You want to work from home? Forget it. This type of work is not allowed, period. The CEO lacks the humility or foresight to allow his employees to work anywhere but in the office. If you aren’t at work, then “you’re stealing from him.” You want to see inside the psyche of the CEO? Follow him on Linkedin. His attitude is one of a bully, who shows a complete lack of empathy for others.

Anyone who has worked here will tell you that he/she lived in fear while working for MGA. Fear of the CEO, fear of the head of HR, fear of leadership in general. The positive reviews posted on glassdoor are fake. The CEO demands that employees log on to glassdoor and instructs them to leave positive reviews in order to increase his and the overall company rating. If you don’t follow orders, you get fired. Do not believe any of the positive ratings. Educate yourself before you ever think about taking a role at MGA. Ask former employees and they will provide you the honest information about the culture and work/life balance (which there is none).

Overall, there is absolutely no compassion for employees and their families. The leadership at MGA will own you 24/7.

Advice to Management: Absolutely nothing. They will not listen and they do not care. Not worth wasting your breath.”

Another one was titled “Shithole”.
The paycheck is the only perk
-management, owner, HR, work environments are all garbage.
Advice to Management: [MGAE] does not care about their employees. This year we got a $50 amazon card holiday bonus and the company made BILLIONS! The company is top heavy with not nearly enough people that actually do any work. This company is all style-no substance, exactly like their products. The owner doesn’t even talk directly to the employees anymore, he sends out LinkedIn links-SMH! This place is worse than …..(Covid)-avoid at all costs.”

Another was titled “MGA is a mixed bag”, which had a very nuanced and balanced review. They stated:
Reviews on Glassdoor are highly polarized for good reason. MGA has a lot to offer but falls short in so many areas. I will go over the shortcomings in the next section, but MGA isn’t as bad as the worst reviews on here paint it to be.

The best thing about being a creative at MGA is the lack of excessive layers of management interfering with design. [If] your manager likes your ideas, you can easily realize your vision with some exceptions.

Management knows how to sell [products] in a challenging market filled with stiff competition. MGA stuffs the channel every year with more [products] and new brand launches.

Honestly, if you’re looking for good experience and need to fill your resume and portfolio, MGA isn’t a bad place. If you are looking for more salary, benefits and promotions, look elsewhere.

Isaac Larian is a whip-smart business leader but he is not a kind man. He is impatient, out of touch, and conflates intense pressure with good leadership.

He has built his company from nothing to the fourth largest toy company in the world and he owns it outright. Far be it for me to criticize him in that respect—he knows how to survive and thrive.

His company can be better though…

MGA tries to be organized, every couple of years they introduce some new system or process. Ultimately, however, no training, or enforcement, ever accompanies these directives and they fail or litter our workflow with unused or misunderstood technology, and steps that only serve as pitfalls to efficiency. Hong Kong counterparts are overworked and designers have little support or guidance unless their manager knows how to do what they need.

Some divisions lack project managers to help everyone keep to schedules set by planning—instead they rely too heavily on their designers to track everything themselves. In general many items and details get missed, making for an extremely sloppy process that is burdened by constant last minute fixes and running changes. Inexperienced designers have to learn quickly how to project manage several items quickly or fail utterly. The pressure can be crushing designers and the reason many choose to leave or are fired.

Salary and benefits are mediocre and raises…are anemic at best. I have never received so woefully inadequate a raise as I have at MGA. Some people are lucky to receive one in 3 years—when they do…it could be 3%.

Inflation is at an alarming 5% in 2021 and the highest merit raise MGA offered its staff (without a promotion) was 3 pitiful percentage points.

To add to the lamentable compensation package, the health insurance is mediocre by even US standards (or lack thereof). The 401k is rather weak and laden with fees. There is some match but nothing compared to Mattel.

Remote work:
It seems like the CEO is personally opposed to remote work—he built this campus to encourage communication and productivity (the last offices were a dump). He is not a trusting sort by any means. While they did allow workers to work remotely during the pandemic, there is pressure to return to the office that many workers are not yet comfortable with. To be sure, when the pandemic is over, there will be little discussion or remote days for employees.

Lately, many talented people have chosen to leave. For many and varying reasons. I suspect the top three reasons will be lack of adequate pay/raises, lack of promotion opportunities and last, the intense pressure to succeed or else culture.

The biggest reason to NOT work at MGA:
Some companies in the toy industry will not hire you straight out of MGA over fears of lawsuits. Working at MGA, despite its amazing success is something of a scarlet letter for other HRs. MGA needs to rectify that situation so people aren’t scared off from taking a job here because they worry they will be untouchable elsewhere.

Advice to Management: There are significant, real-world good reasons MGA can’t fill important positions and why there is such high turnover. It does seem like MGA is starting to look at salaries and benefits due to the great difficulty they have filling higher level positions but a lot remains to be done.

Pay your people!
MGA has a new campus and that’s great. Its time to build a compensation package that matches the caliber of the company we work for. Salaries vary wildly but raises are pathetic across the board. Promotions are rare, often end up being either meaningless or attached with a meager increase in pay.

MGA should at least match inflation if sales are so great. Its incredibly disappointing to receive a 3% raise after going a year without one at all. Considering 2021 has 5% inflation…

The pandemic has proven some people can work as well or better from home. It has also proved that some people can’t function at home either and need to be in the office.

For toy designers, MGA is not usually anyone’s first choice. Some of MGA’s best people were laid off from other toy companies and took this job for security, many more are young up-and-comers recently out of school with no real experience anywhere else. Give people reasons [to] want to leave Mattel, Hasbro and others to come work for MGA.

Industry Status:
Last, please fix MGA relations with the larger Toy industry. Traditionally, the toy industry has always been fairly incestuous with great talent leaving one to go to another and then back again. Many HR managers and Headhunters won’t touch MGA over the history and rampant threat of litigation from MGA. Stop using litigation as competitive strategy—it hurts employees’ chances to work anywhere else.

Work is about passion, challenge and pursuit of success. However, it is not a charity. We trade services for money, benefits, and security. It’s also important to people that the skills and experience they gain at one company make them more attractive to work elsewhere in the future.”

Another one is titled: “You have been warned”.
Sell your dignity, respect, health and happiness for life for money.
Isaac Larian is an evil man. He’s a tyrant who lies consistently to his employees. He’s destroyed and continues to destroy many people’s lives. The company is very unprofessional and supports this tyranny. It’s shocking that people like this exist. He has an inspiring story but just uses it to destroy more. The company is a reflection of the poison in this world and his henchman support his lies and illegal behavior for a small paycheck. His design team is also severely underpaid. VERY UNDERPAID.
Advice to Management: Stop selling your integrity, heart and health to be apart of such horrible organization. I don’t know how you all look at your selves in the mirrors or sleep at night. Do your self and the world a favor and leave. Take a stand for justice for your self and other loved ones around you. Also, you can get paid more by working somewhere else. Good luck!”

Finally, and this was the real spill here. This one was titled: “A Culture of fear!”
None. This place was toxic and not an environment that I would ever refer anyone I know (friend or enemy) to work.
The CEO is the worst part of this company. He is a #Fraud. Though he will tell you different, this guy could care less about his workers and only about his bottom line and proof of this is in his actions. He’s a corporate bully who finally broke on social media and showed his true colors outside of the MGA walls. Search MGA CEO and #BLM if you’re not familiar. Nothing that is done here is innovative or ground-breaking. The ideas and products coming out of MGA are mostly stolen and everything is done to make it look like MGA is a “think factory.” Hardly. Hopefully, the latest act by this complete and utter spoiled, [narcissist] will doom his company for good and truly have [a] negative effect on his profits.

There were some good people that I worked with, while serving my time. The majority of them were fearful for their jobs and were basically robots to serve one purpose, make the CEO money. Have you ever worked somewhere that requires you to post on Glassdoor or social media? Well, it happens here and your posts need to be positive. Yet, another example of the hierarchy of MGA trying to paint a picture of something that truly doesn’t exist. #Fraud. The final piece of the culture to be aware of is nepotism. During your time, you’re sure to have exposure to the CEO’s kids.

Like with any job, take your time and do your research. Find your place that respects not only time, but also your values. If these things matter to you, don’t ever apply to a role at MGA.

Advice to Management: Go public and have the CEO step down.”

One positive review did state in 2019, under “MGA is fast-paced, nimble, and a great place to grow“.
MGA embraces out of the box thinkers and innovators. They push you to the limits of your capabilities so you are sure to grow and develop. They have quick turnarounds and embrace new ideas. Minorities make up the majority throughout their organization and specifically the executive table – VERY refreshing to see. No old boys club. Women are equal at all levels. The culture is like a start up and they are constantly innovating and striving to raise the bar. They are successful for a reason!!! You have to work here to understand why they will always deliver the next hottest thing – there is a formula to their incredible success! The teams are amazing and everyone is helpful, kind and very smart. Free snacks all day, special afternoon snack put out for the team, coffee, tea, and candy bar. Summer hours, on site gym, daycare. The facility is gorgeous, new and trendy. I have not had a problem with work life balance.

Resources are stretched but that means you can learn and do a lot if you have the ambition to do it.
Advice to Management: “More reward and recognition initiatives.”

One employee with a positive review stated, under “Great Company to work for! Cutting Edge creativity! Amazing People!”
Management wants you to learn and supports your growth. Constantly new innovation which is very exciting and keeps MGA growing and succeeding. Departments work great together as we all share the same goal and support each other in order to reach our goals. President/CEO, Isaac Larian is very involved in the company. He truly cares about MGA and its employees.
MGA is very fast-paced which could be a con to some but I have never learned so quickly anywhere else, which is a plus!”

Even with some positive reviews, there’s an overwhelming amount of negative reviews, tipping the scales, giving MGA a rating of 2.7 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor. MGA’s most positive traits were being cutting-edge and having a diverse work environment. At first, I thought maybe this is just the nature of the creative business, especially in the toy industry, where it is high-pressure. Isaac Larian started from nothing in comparison to other toy companies. And it’s normal for people who are let go from a company to be bitter. You would think it would all make sense, right?

But then I compared it to Mattel’s Glassdoor, and their rating was 3.8 out of 5 stars. That’s a little closer to 4 out of 5 stars. Mattel’s weaknesses were a lack of diversity, very little innovative thinking, some bad management practices, particularly from HR and other management besides the CEO, such as workers being belittled in front of others or a lack of clear communication, there was no growth path, and that the leaders are “bone-heads” who don’t really know what’s going on. However, despite the bad points, no one was literally pushing for the CEO to step down, no one stated they were shady, no one stated they felt ideas were stolen, and no one has lost their ideas to the company. More importantly, they had more good reviews than bad.

I also looked at Walt Disney Company, a company many people have said is shady, and even their rating was a solid 4.0 out of 5 stars. Both Mattel and Disney had a 70% satisfaction rate with their CEOs. Isaac Larian was at 45%, which is a little less than half. Hasbro has 3.7 out of 5 stars, with the CEO satisfaction rate being 89%!

MGA had several people stating they were forced to make good reviews, so we don’t know what’s real and what’s not, even as it stands. We don’t even know if the positive reviews count.

What is the point of having all of this diversity when you, allegedly, don’t treat the diverse individuals under your company well? Even if none of these reviews are true, it definitely makes the company look bad.

I swear, according to these reviews, Isaac Larian fits the description of a less evolved Sun in Aries leader. Ya’ll should read up on Sun in Aries on my “Your Sun Sign” article when you get a chance. A video of that may be coming soon. All of us have the potential to express less-evolved behavior, and when we don’t recognize it soon, it will come to bite us in the ass eventually. I remind myself of that every day. I know if I ever become a boss, my Sun Sign can have some horrible ways that can spill out. Unfortunately, it is tearing MGA Entertainment apart, and it’s starting to be noticeable to hard-core fans like myself.

With these kind of reviews, what kind of skilled, professional team can this company build for the Bratz brand? If we are questioning why there are issues with quality control regarding the dolls, look no further than this. Probably everybody working on this line of dolls are new to the business, and feel the pressure to rush and create for the brand with little to no training or experience. All of the experienced individuals are gone. They are also confused as to what brands they should be prioritizing right now.

I even hate to post all of this negativity because I worry about the workers still around losing their jobs if this goes viral or gets any traction. I feel very caught and guilty, either way. I feel I should mention this, and that’s why I’m doing it. But I don’t know the consequences of this. This company has really given minority groups opportunities, and I don’t want to see that taken away from them. As I’ve said in videos prior, I support the designers, developers, producers, the CREATIVE teams who worked to make the brands at the company possible. There isn’t only one genius behind the Bratz brand, and it’s not fair that so many people have lost creative rights or have felt belittled, despite their contributions. This really isn’t just a problem of companies, but of our justice system, too.

As I’ve stated time and time again, I don’t get paid by MGA Entertainment to promote the Bratz. When I promoted Bratz back in 2010, 2015, and 2018, it was because I WANTED TO. It was because I loved the concept of the Bratz. It was the most innovative doll brand I’ve ever encountered. The brand itself taught me so much about the toy industry and business in general. I have a certain attachment and fondness for the brand, having been a loyal supporter for 21 years since the Bratz were being developed. I have typed up statements on how to make the brand better and sent it by mail to MGA Entertainment. I’ve been involved in Bratz communities, poured as much money as I’ve had supporting releases and media, and I’ve always spoken fondly about all products coming out of this company.

It is tough and heartbreaking to see Bratz go down this hill like this.

A part of me wants to keep fighting for this brand, but a part of me just doesn’t know if I should keep supporting it. Where do I see Bratz in the future? So many things can go into the success of a product, and when those things are neglected, I just don’t see a strong future unless these issues are rectified.

If I could have launched the Bratz’s 20th Anniversary…

I’ve been pondering what I feel would have made this 20th Anniversary extra spectacular. Here’s what I would have done if I were at the helm of this re-launch of the Bratz brand:

1) I Would Have Focused on a General Demographic, with Different Portions (Lightly)

I would’ve shifted the focus from the adult demographic, and focused on trying to reach a general audience, giving a little bit of something of the brand to everyone. I would re-release Bratz Babyz and Bratz Kidz for a younger audience, the primary Bratz brand for older kids and tweens, and adult collector dolls and content for the older crowd. Neither would lean out too far, making them all likeable for all age groups.

2) I Would Have Created A Standard Play-Line Formula

I would’ve RE-RELEASED old lines with NEW fashions as SECOND or THIRD waves, like they attempted in 2010, but with better quality and high-fashion. It would be a way to pay homage to the old while pushing the brand forward into NOW. If the dolls and outfits are well-received, this could become a tradition every 5 or 10 years, where the outfits are re-vamped or re-launched constantly for a new crowd. It’s a formula I’ve seen other really successful brands pull off. Some brands find one successful formula and they utilize it annually, bi-annually, or every decade. It keeps money consistent and stable.

American Girl’s Girl of the Year has become that way, and it brings attention and attraction to the brand every year. If we analyze that kind of formula, but do it differently with Bratz, Bratz could have their own traditions, where fans look forward to new updated fashion through a familiar line, and can save up in anticipation for it. The newer waves could be used as ways to show improvement from the last release as well.

If I’d planned on releasing replicas of old lines, I would have come up with something extra special to add to the release, like maybe a new extra outfit, accessories, or playset ideas, to make it more appealing to both newcomers who want to complete their collections and old-time fans that may have gotten the dolls already.

Of course, it’s also important to have the same materials that made up the original dolls so fans who didn’t have them can complete their collections. I would want the new dolls to look identical to the original dolls, and I would consult with a random sample of fans for their input before release, having them sign a non-disclosure agreement promising not to reveal before launch, just to make sure the dolls looked ready to be sold.

3) Adult Collectors Would Be Utilized ONLY for Formerly Unreleased Lines and Characters

For this 20th Anniversary launch, I would have planned a release of all of the UNRELEASED DOLL LINES from 2K for the adult collectors, like the original Fashion Pixiez dolls. It is clear that many fans wanted some of those unreleased lines. Instead of releasing the unreleased artwork out of the closet, which they did on Instagram, I would have released those dolls out of the closet. It would have been the perfect way to appease adult fans. Since lines like the original Fashion Pixiez weren’t acceptable enough for Walmart and Target back in the day, those are the kinds of lines that could have been released as collectors’ editions. In fact, I would have released all of the prototypes as official collectors’ editions.

4) I Would Have Created Brand New Lines For 2021

Someone created dolls out of Hayden Williams’s artwork for the Bratzpack’s 18th Anniversary. I love them!

If I’d re-launched Bratz this year, I would have conceptualized a few new lines to make this brand fresh and exciting again, outside of re-releases and revamps of old lines. I would possibly do a throw-back to Cyberpunk, Steampunk, more Vintage lines, possibly Dark Academia, Soft Girls, E-Girls, Instagram Baddie, androgynous-inspired, Kpop, and/or more cultural lines, especially for Black History month. I think I agree with Hayden Williams when he posted that we need to see more “black icons”.

He may have just been referring to the VMA posts being made on socials, but it’s also true of the brand. We need to see more cultural lines, and more lines celebrating the diversity present in the Bratz brand. World Destination lines are always fun. Cultural lines could add to the fun, and it could be empowering, too. I’ve pitched some of these types of ideas to MGA Entertainment back in 2014, but it doesn’t seem like anyone listened.

5) I Would Have Spear-Headed A Fresh New Series Paying Homage To the Old One But Uniting the Universes

If I were to write or animate a series for Bratz, I would do a deep dive into the brand and try to unite all of the universes. I would give a fresh story, clearing up what past shows and movies didn’t, while also tapping into stories from back in the past that went over well with fans. It would focus on the “true story” of the Bratz with a nod to the older shows.

Many characters that were ignored or underdeveloped would get screen time, making old die-hard fans excited, while also giving new fans or fans who only watched the original TV series and movies new characters to explore. I would attempt to try to bring back some of the old voice actors. However, that can’t always be controlled. At minimum, I would go for voices that match book descriptions of the characters’ voices, such as Jade being described as having a “raspy” voice in the Bratz: Keepin’ It Real book.

I really enjoy when a producer, screenwriter, and animator really takes the time to understand the source material.

The problem nowadays with the people writing the narratives surrounding Bratz is they haven’t really watched all the old movies, the TV shows and web series, the commercials, or the books with Bratz in it. I personally wouldn’t have the gall to tackle writing anything for the Bratz without considering the universe from all of those perspectives. Prettier animation isn’t enough for me.

This would take some time, so it wouldn’t come right away. It wouldn’t be rushed. It would have been developed in the two years before this year’s anniversary. I would make sure the series had 13 solid episodes prepared before launch. This would ensure that Jade and Sasha’s segments aren’t “cut”.

6) I Would Aim to Re-release and Re-produce all Characters and Line Concepts from 2010 and 2015

This may seem like a crazy idea to many fans, but it’s actually a good way to bring the fanbase together. Instead of scrapping everything from 2010 and 2015, I would have brought back what worked and left behind what didn’t.

What worked was some of the new characters and line concepts. In 2010, the 10 new dolls brought a wave of diversity to the Bratz brand. For the 20th Anniversary, I would have worked on re-releasing all of those characters with older-style screenings, within new lines, with new outfits, and some screen time in a new show. Dolls like Lydia and Nadine deserve more love. I would even bring back Raya and possibly Vee Filez with a new updated look.

Lines like Study Abroad could be brought back and updated to fit the original Bratz formula, especially because Sasha never got her Pretty N’ Punk London look until that line. The concept was still a great one and should be brought back, it just needed some tweaking at the time.

The brand should be focused on uniting fans and giving everybody something they can love.

7) I Would Ensure That All Social Media Platforms Are Consistent and that the Website is Updated

Promotion should be consistent on all platforms. If I were to launch the Bratz again in 2021, I would have built anticipation on all social media platforms at the same time, including on Youtube. The official website would be ready for launch, at least as a throwback to 2K. I would put where to shop for all new dolls, where to find all social media content, and I would have profiles set up for all 160+ Bratz pack members. The website would pay homage to websites from 2001 to 2015, with fans being able to select any one they want.

At minimum, at least launch a page to promote the 20th Anniversary releases.

8) I Would Have Released the Characters from their Relationship Bondage

It might be too late for this, because the damage is done, but I would have released all of the characters from being “Ken-dolled” or basically in settled relationships, returning it to what it was in 2001 and 2002. Bratz should be young and free, independent and not settled, with mix-and-match potential. They ain’t like Barbie, who couldn’t seem to shake Ken for the last 60 years of her life. She broke up with him, came out as bi, and still had to stick with him because fans couldn’t see her with anyone else. She’s stuck with him…and that’s not very fun.

When characters are too settled, the characters often lose their identity, especially if they were underdeveloped to begin with. That’s what’s happening to Nevra. Most TV series and Rock Angelz movie fans only know Nevra as Roxxi’s girlfriend. It would have been nice to know Nevra first, to introduce her as a character to the more casual fans, before sticking her with Roxxi, so she could be identified on her own. Otherwise, they just become “relationship” dolls, co-dependent, dolls that only sell if with their partner. It happened with boy dolls in the past, and now, with more queer representation, it’s happening with the girls. It really needs to end for both. “Ken-dolling” kills a character in the long run. It’s what really killed half of the Monster High boy dolls, but that’s a topic for another day…

If we release the characters of these settled relationships, lines like Secret Date can be revived, giving many different date night play options, maybe even mixing the girls and boys up in that one line with the same original characters, just with updated fashions.

9) I Would Have Settled All Legal squabbles and Paid Royalties

This is probably easier said than done, but I would have resolved this year to try to pay royalties to those who contributed to the brand, would try to settle all legal disputes, and finalize any loose ends that would prevent the brand from going forward. I would analyze why my company can’t maintain strong hands on deck, what needs to be improved, and what needs to be kept. I would seek to employ skilled designers and sculptors who can capture the magic of the 2K Bratz so there are no quality control issues.

I would try to make good with all of my old team members, try to get them back together or create some sort of reunion, swallowing all ego, and at least keep them on as consultants or trainers to train the new blood. We need people on board who understand what the Bratz should look like and have long-time experience. Only some of the old-timers can help with that.


I know all of this sounds so negative, and I’m sorry. I’ve been feeling some kind of way for a long time, and it’s just spilling out.

I still love the Bratz concept. I respect the developers, designers, and other creators that have put their blood, sweat, and tears into this. I’m still going to finish my fandom page and update it with all that I know and have gathered.

However, I’m going to be just as honest on my fandom page as I am on all my platforms. I will speak my truth, but I do it out of love for the brand. I still see potential in this brand, but if they don’t turn it around soon, they will lose their most loyal following and the brand will crash.

Let me know what ya’ll think in the comments section below. Do you think the Bratz is better than it’s ever been? Or do you think the Bratz are tumbling downhill? Let’s discuss!

Ciao, peace!

Here’s the video, at “the bottom”, if you would rather watch it than read.

The Bottom

Kira Bailey, American Girl’s Girl of the Year 2021, Tackles Australian Wildfires and LGBTQ Relationships

4 Feb

Greetings readers!

American Girl has released their newest Girl of the Year 2021, Kira Bailey. When Kira gets the chance to care for animals at her aunts’ wildlife park in Australia, it’s a dream come true—and the koalas, wombats, and kangaroos need all the help they can get!

Below are the books’ summaries:

Kira Down Under: Book 1: Kira Bailey is living her dream: Cuddling koalas and bottle-feeding baby kangaroos. Kira and her mom are spending the summer at a wildlife sanctuary in Australia helping her aunt Mamie, a veterinarian, care for the animals. When Kira falls in love with an orphaned koala joey, her joy is complete—until a health emergency pulls Aunt Mamie away. Suddenly Kira can’t seem to do anything right. She’s put the wombats and her beloved koala joey in danger, and now her new friend Alexis won’t talk to her. Can Kira find a way to catch a roving predator—along with a few wayward wombats—and earn back everyone’s trust?

Kira’s Animal Rescue: Book 2: In this second book of her series, Kira teams up with a student at the animal sanctuary to track down the paradise parrot—a bird thought to be extinct—and prove that it still exists. While they’re trying to observe the elusive bird, bushfires threaten to wipe out the sanctuary and the parrot’s habitat. There’s no choice but to evacuate all the animals, which is a huge task even without trying to track down a missing baby wallaby. As the bushfires rage out of control, Kira makes a disturbing discovery. Should she keep her mouth shut—or tell a painful truth? 

Here’s a peek at her collection:


Kira Bailey tackles more important events than any Girl of the Year characters have in the last decade. She’s truly a sign of the times, and that’s what many fans expect of American Girl. While many could argue that American Girl glosses over deeper truths, many do recognize American Girl’s ability to tackle hard subjects head-on in teachable and family-friendly stories directed at children, as well as being from a young woman’s perspective.

Kira Bailey’s stories first tackle the Australian wildfires, something very real and important, especially before Covid-19 struck. Wildfires also relate to many Californian residents who recently experienced the same issue.

Tack on a world destination theme, along with cute furry animals, and you have the makings of both an exciting, cute, and an important story.

I am also connected with Bailey because, just like her, I lost my father at about 9 years old. Just like her, I’m still afraid of going to hospitals. Those moments resonated with me, and at times, I felt like reaching inside the story and giving a fictional character a hug.

Kira Bailey’s stories go a step further by introducing two married aunts named Lynette and Maime. American Girl has often come under fire for racism and homophobia. Now, at least a bit of that can be tempered, since they are at least attempting to include diverse families. While it isn’t the center of the story, just having that representation means a lot to people.

Of course, just like when American Girl attempted to align with Girls, Inc. in 2005 and published a story about a Black American Girl adopted by two White American dads in 2015, the largely conservative fanbase was in an uproar. The reviews on Amazon are so brutal, I just don’t even want to link it here.

The conservative fanbase has actually been in an uproar since February 2020, when American Girl released their “Commitment to Racial Equality” on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In that commitment, they outlined their plans to include more Black characters with authentic storylines in their brand. They stated they planned on releasing a new contemporary line, due to be released Fall 2021, to align with that initiative. Though I have reservations about that initiative, as most of American Girl’s contemporary lines have not done well and are mostly too expensive for most Black families at this time, the backlash was instead directed more towards the idea that American Girl even wants to include Black stories. One responder on Facebook stated, “I don’t want American Girl to change.” Many of them threatened to pull their support and boycott the brand, stating that American Girl was aligning themselves with “terrorist groups” (Black Lives Matter, to be exact). As if American Girl has never had Black characters before. As if American Girl topics haven’t already aligned with the values of Black Lives Matter. The idea of police brutality and racism aren’t new. It’s also not as if Black characters will take over, and even if more were made, aren’t there plenty of white characters to choose from? It’s obvious the real fear is of the hard stories the fan base would have to face, the harsh realities a girl of color would force them to face.

I don’t understand how anyone who becomes a fan of American Girl expects them to skate around relevant issues. It has always been a brand that taught children how to handle and address real things going on in the world. Just because parents want to protect their children from the world doesn’t mean they will be sheltered forever. They will meet different people in the real world, people who will eventually live in the same neighborhoods and work with them. Shielding them from the subjects isn’t helpful. American Girl is a good wholesome brand that approaches these difficult subjects in a gentle way.

In Kira Bailey’s case, the mention of the couple was not done in a forceful way, like many of these doll companies have tried just to pander to any minority group they can for money. In fact, Kira isn’t even advertised as a character that’s addressing LGBTQ+ subjects. Why? Because it is normalized in the story, just like all the other parents and couples in the American Girl franchise. The lead characters don’t have crushes or date at all, which I am thankful for. Why should girls think they are only valuable if they have a partner, queer or not? Why should every story centering on girls feature romance?

Still, real people have diverse families, and American Girl makes stories that teach children about the worlds of others outside of our own. That’s the gem of the stories. The Girl of the Year stories reveal what modern girls face, and like the Historical Collection, will all become a part of history one day. Why shouldn’t a Girl of the Year character address gay rights when that is very relevant to what’s happening today, whether controversial or not?

On Amazon, parents have called this “sexualizing” or introducing “sexual topics” to children. To be honest, wouldn’t that mean all of the couples in the American Girls’ stories introduce the topic of relationships and sexuality? I mean, think about the number of pregnant mothers prevalent throughout American Girls’ stories. Wouldn’t that count as introducing children to “sexuality”, “pregnancy”, and hardships of “childbirth”?

From what I’ve read in these reviews, parents don’t want to have to explain in detail what diverse families are and what they look like in others’ homes. They barely want to explain what racism is to their children. Basically, they want their children to remain ignorant. I would argue, why buy educational products at all? Stick to fantasy.

Many of the parents think American Girl should have “trigger warnings” because they’re not ready to have certain conversations with their children and don’t want a book to teach it to their children before they do. Unlike with the Black characters, where the “trigger” is their skin itself, and where the stories have clearly been outlined as tackling “racial” topics, Kira’s stories kind of slip it in. Because the couple is not obviously visible, more conservative parents couldn’t avoid it like they usually do the characters of color.

For the past two years, I’ve had new respect for Girl of the Year. Staring with Joss, I’m starting to see that American Girl isn’t afraid to make Girl of the Year just as meaningful as they’ve made their Historical Collection. I used to see that part of the brand as the “light, fluffy, and shallower” cousin. To a certain extent, it’s still more saturated than what you would find in the Historical storytelling. However, it’s refreshing to know that American Girl isn’t afraid to tackle timely subjects in modern times and can do so when given the right opportunity.

However, because American Girl is an expensive brand, and has to be, as I’ve mentioned in one of my videos regarding Luciana Vega, Girl of the Year 2018, the people who can mostly afford American Girl are the rich, white demographic, and in America, they are mostly conservative. American Girl really took a risk releasing this character, knowing that she might not make a dime. With the pandemic still in full swing, more people are out of work and even I wouldn’t blame them if they went the safe route. Then again, companies are seeing there’s more benefit in including diverse audiences nowadays. Regardless, it was a risk either way, and yet they made it, knowing they could risk being cancelled.

Possibly this is the reason why Kira is the generic blonde, white character. Knowing they were tapping into something controversial, it’s likely they made Kira’s appearance “typical” so that even the most conservative parents would think she’s “cute” and “pretty”. She gives a safe image, really hiding the deeper moves that her stories are making behind the scenes. That creates the perfect balance.

Even though I haven’t been fond of the latest American Girl dolls as dolls, I can’t argue that their stories and themes have market value. American Girl really is aware of what’s going to sell, and it’s evident.

American Girl is also showing their willingness to expand the brand by having their characters travel to countries outside of the USA, possibly to connect to fans who actually aren’t American. Every few years, they choose a new destination theme, which shows American Girl’s wide-range appeal.


If you haven’t noticed, it took me literally a month to even give a perspective on Kira. Outside of the social impact her stories make, she’s honestly boring in my opinion.

I will admit that I took her at face value. When I first heard a blonde character with American Girl Julie’s face mold was going to be released, I was very disappointed. To add, I feel like Girl of the Year seems to talk a lot about wildlife and animals in a lot of their content, especially in the “destination” themes.

When her collection was released, I just didn’t find one item worth the price. The tent and the clinic with the desktop computer were the only items I was on the fence with, but everything else felt like they belonged to another character from a distant past. There has to be more to girls today than the same old stories. We have children in band, playing chess, playing football, a lot more than rescuing animals.

American Girl can create whatever diverse storylines they want to, but if you do so behind a character that’s as bland and generic as Kira, that message is totally lost. American Girl is expensive, that’s the reality, so if I do buy an American Girl doll she has to be well worth the wait.

So far, Kira’s stories are more interesting than the doll itself. I always end up buying the books, but I’m very selective about the dolls and collection. With Kira, I think I just might stick to the books.

Let me know what you all think in the comments’ section. What do you all think about her stories? How do you feel about the doll? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

You can also watch Kira Bailey’s stop-motion series based on her book series!

Bratz Coming Out 2020…I’m Mad About It…Here’s Why

1 Jul Message home

American Girl Luciana Vega Gets Sued For Appropriation!

18 May

American Girl’s Newest Girl of the Year 2020, Joss Kendrick, Flies Above Stereotypes

1 Jan

American Girl kicks in the new year and decade with Joss Kendrick, Girl of the Year 2020, who dares to surf and take cheerleading chances…despite having a personal disability!

Book Synopsis

Book 1Joss: In this first book of her series, catching waves on her board, Joss is all in, 100%. When the surf’s up, she pops out her hearing aid, hops on her board, and paddles into the waves. Joss is stoked to enter a surfing video contest with her surf sister Sofia and Murph the surfing bulldog. If she can master a killer aerial like the frontside air and get her brother Dylan to catch it on video, maybe she’d even have a shot at winning. But Dylan throws her a curve: he dares her to try out for the cheer team. No way—Joss can’t see herself as a cheerleader. (What’s with those ginormous hairbows, anyway?) She’s 100% surfer girl, and Dylan knows it! Still, if she takes him up on his dare, then maybe he’ll help her with her video—it’s worth a try, right? 152 pages. 

Book 2Joss: Touch the Sky: In the second book in her series: Joss Kendrick is always looking for new ways to soar. So when her cheer team needs a new flyer, she can’t wait to step up (literally). Her high-flying skills on her surfboard and skateboard make her a natural for the role. But when her skateboarding act at the talent show turns into a total catastrophe—make that a dogtastrophe—Joss loses her confidence all around, even at the cheer gym. The cheer competition is coming up fast, though, and her team is depending on her to nail a tricky stunt. The problem is, Joss doesn’t trust them not to drop her. She wants to do an easier stunt, but if she plays it safe, can her team still win? And if they don’t, will her team ever forgive her? 144 pages.

The author is Erin Falligant.

Her Collection:

American Girl states, “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.”

What American Girl might mean by “stereotypes” could be more than just the character Joss re-thinking her stereotypes regarding cheerleaders or about cheerleaders overcoming their prejudices about surfer girls.

Good Morning America stated,

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.

In general, American Girl may have seen that among the hearing-impaired, or those with hearing loss of any kind, it’s a struggle to find diverse characters. Yes, American Girl’s Julie’s stories touch on such a disability from a friend’s perspective, but the character is what you would expect of an “underdog” character with a disability: kind of shy, timid, sad, and overtly bullied. This is actually a common depiction of kids with disabilities in literature, especially literature directed to children.

Well, in 1976, that may have been the real case, as people didn’t have the proper education or knowledge to truly understand people with differences. Even if they did, prejudice was normalized.

In 2020, people are making strides to show more confident and self-reliant characters, despite their disabilities, and are seeking to re-educate the public’s perception on America’s minority groups.

What is so empowering about these stories and the character Joss is that she’s not so absorbed in her disability the majority of the story. She has other things on her mind, other things to do, like surf and cheer. Like the average child today, she doesn’t appear ashamed of who she is and doesn’t let her disability set her back from achieving. As a collector, I tend to lean more towards the cocky, confident characters than to the shy and overtly well-behaved (which I never resonated with as a child and still can’t connect to as well). She’s also got that tomboy thing going on, and you all know how much of a tomboy I am. Joss is well-liked in this house.

However, by not really focusing on this character’s disability, it proves to be a double-edged sword, so I’m conflicted. On the one hand, the stories definitely capture this particular challenge as a minor inconvenience, not something to pity, and it is delivered to show that Joss is still a normal girl, no different from any other Girl of the Year.

But that’s just the thing. If we didn’t notice this character had a hearing aid, she would literally be just like any other Girl of the Year we’ve had before: white surfer living off of the California beach. In fact, the collection and concept is just like Kailey’s from the year 2004.

Before you go off saying, “That was over 10 years ago,” I moseyed on over to Youtube, just to see what the little chil’ren were saying about her. The most common comment is “Her collection is okay. Didn’t we have a surfer already before?” With the internet just at their fingertips and fandom pages around to give the most enthusiastic fan all the American Girl information they need, kids today don’t see the past the way we used to as children, before we had internet (I’m showin’ my age). They know what you did, and they are seeking to find that character you created on the secondary market.

Second, Joss is your typical brunette with an average collection. The only unique aspect to her collection is the cheer-leading portion (thank goodness). I felt this collection could’ve survived without the surfing aspect tied in, but hey, they had to rise above stereotypes in some way, I guess. Still, how many characters can you create with a bathing suit theme? I can run down the list of characters over the last decade that had bathing suits tied in, but there’s too many of them, so I don’t feel like putting forth the effort.

Honestly, if Joss’s story had touched more deeply on her challenges, it would have resonated more with with me. The depth that the historical characters have is still my standard, and for some reason I haven’t let that standard go. A part of me yearns for a modern story that shows both struggle and victory, but maybe I just get off on depressing story-telling. Hey, history isn’t all rainbows, and that’s the gritty truth.

And no, it’s not like the historical characters go way deep or anything, but they go much deeper than their contemporary cousins, that’s for sure.

Despite that little quirk, I’m loving Joss as a character and interested in her cheerleading adventures. Luciana, Girl of the Year 2018, is still my favorite from the last decade, but Joss is a great start to a new era and, in my opinion, a lot more interesting than last year’s Girl of the Year, Blaire Wilson. I can’t wait to see what else American Girl has in store in the 2020s.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you all think about Joss Kendrick!

Blaire Wilson, Girl of the Year 2019, Is Trying to Balance Life on Pleasant View Farm!

18 Jan

I wonder if Pleasant View is a nod to the original American Girl company Pleasant Company?

Greetings Gen Next readers!

If you folks don’t know about “Girl of the Year”, let me explain. Girl of the Year is a line from the popular American Girl doll brand that’s known for its historical-based dolls and contemporary collection that focuses on what girls are experiencing today. Girl of the Year is one of those contemporary lines.

I’m creating this article because someone brought to my attention that I forgot to create an article for Girl of the Year 2019. Every year, whether I’ve loved the Girl of the Year or have been indifferent, I’ve created an article about the character.

Trust me, I knew about Blaire Wilson last year, but to put it bluntly, though she’s a beautiful doll and I love her accessories, I felt less inspired by her character than last year’s based on the leaks I saw. And that’s just the honest-to-goodness truth. So, writing any sort of article for her “slipped my mind”.

And it’s bad enough I care less for Girl of the Year than the historical characters.

I’ve also wanted to really get my hands on her books and collection before making any real judgments.

Surprisingly, Blaire has more than meets the eye.

I’ve been less than pleased with what’s been coming out of American Girl lately (Due to my last gripe with the 1920s character, you might think I’ve had a string of rants going American Girl’s way). But while she isn’t as captivating as Luciana, Blaire does have some interesting elements to her, too. I would say not to judge a book by its cover. In Blaire’s case, literally, because the cover of her books almost turned me away.

Unfortunately, Luciana set the bar, and she will be hard for Blaire to live up to. Even when I attended the American Girl Musical back in December, Luciana’s segment stole the show… 

I couldn’t imagine how things would’ve gone if Blaire’s segment was in the show. I don’t think it would’ve gone over as well.

Let me just share her story and collection with you all.

Blaire’s Character and Story

Blaire Wilson’s slogan is “connect to your creativity and watch relationships bloom”. Her stories are written by Jennifer Castle, and are advertised as centering on Blaire trying to balance “social media and her everyday real relationships”.

Blaire is considered a socialite. She is good at bringing people together and dispersing her energies in any area she can be of use. She is quite creative. Her hobbies include decorating, cooking, and gardening. Throughout her stories, Blaire tries to stay connected with everyone, both online and off, while managing her various projects and battling being lactose intolerant.

Blaire lives on a farm connected to a Bed-and-Breakfast in New York’s Hudson Valley.

American Girl’s Guide states this: “Like many girls today, Blaire’s learning to manage friendships, screen time, and even a food sensitivity. Life on Pleasant View Farm teaches Blaire, and all girls, the importance of balance, self-expression, and meaningful relationships.”

The first story’s synopsis goes like this: “Chef. Decorator. Chicken wrangler. Blaire does it all at her family’s restaurant, inn, and farm. In this first book in her series, her recent food sensitivity has made her time in the kitchen—and time with friends—a little tough. But now she has the perfect distraction: a wedding to plan! With her BFF by her side, and a million creative ideas saved on her tablet, Blaire is sure she can make the farm’s first wedding an epic celebration. But between dress disasters, texting mix-ups, and more than one incident with a mischievous goat, Blaire soon learns that wedding planning is a tricky business…and that balancing friendships is even trickier. Can Blaire find a way to make things right, or will this wedding, and her friendship, turn into epic fails?”

The second story’s synopsis:  A goat that does tricks. A lamb in pajamas. A celebrity designer who offers Blaire the decorating opportunity of a lifetime. Things are never boring in Blaire’s world. School gets interesting, too. Blaire’s determined to find a BIG idea for the Community Service Challenge. Her project becomes personal when she befriends a young girl at the local food pantry. With a love of cooking and a farm full of fresh ingredients, Blaire soon has a plan for making a difference. But it’s going to take help from her whole class—including a mysterious new kid—to keep Blaire’s creativity from becoming a catastrophe. 

My Thoughts on the Story

It’s actually not a bad story. The Bed-and-Breakfast setting adds some zing to it. I’ve never stayed at a bed-and-breakfast, so it brought the experience to life for me. I might just visit one some time in the future. I also appreciate that Blaire is more of a “normal” everyday girl than Luciana (I mean Space Camp is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Luciana has some serious leadership abilities, but that’s not every girl’s experience today).

However, I wasn’t blown away by the stories either. Luciana’s made me, an adult, learn something. Possibly the only people who can understand what goes on in a Space Camp are people who have been. I haven’t, so it was eye-opening. Blaire’s was rather charming, but there wasn’t too much for me to grasp my mind around. I really can’t learn too much from Blaire’s story. Maybe some kids could pull some information from this story, but the adult fans would find it lacking. I can’t clearly see the message American Girl is trying to send either.

I’m not sure if Blaire is set to get more books this year, but honestly I’m satisfied with just two. While the Bed-and-Breakfast setting was interesting, the story around it wasn’t that unique or different. I did want to know what was coming next, but there were a few days I wouldn’t even pick up the book. The setting was so interesting, but I kept thinking of millions of ways to make this story even more interesting. For instance, perhaps some cantankerous guests could actually rate the place low. Or perhaps there could be some mystery surrounding the place.

Maybe American Girl spoiled me with last year’s Luciana. I don’t know. The story and setting for Luciana were so unique, that GOTY 2019 is turning into the “epic fail”. Compared to a STEM-based Space camp, a girl of color from a Latin-American immigrant family, and a collection that is unlike any in the Girl of the Year line or Beforever line for that matter, Blaire just doesn’t measure up. After Luciana, I know American Girl can do better.

First off, why can’t we have more girls of color? Ya’ll are going to hate me for bringing it up because some of you might think race is a topic everywhere. But the issue won’t go away just because it makes some of you uncomfortable. It’s nothing personal, but to the company, out of 18 characters, only 6 were dolls of color. Yes, white people dominate in the USA, but SO WHAT? Different is good. Different is interesting. Let’s expand this brand. The world statistics show that there are far more Black people and East Asians out there, so why can’t the dominating race in the USA, start to peer into other people’s lives for once, like everyone else is forced to do?

I mean, I’m not against White or Caucasian Girl of the Year characters, don’t get me wrong. In fact, I have always felt American Girl was weak in the red-head combination department. However, GOTY is even weaker when it comes to characters of color. Of course, American Girl can’t create a character for EVERY LITTLE SITUATION, but it’s not too much to ask for at least one or two characters that represent other races and ethnic groups.

Not only is American Girl lacking enough characters to represent MILLIONS of Americans (because 13% of black people and 6% of Asian Americans still represent MILLIONS of people in the USA, which is equivalent to many smaller countries), but the Girl of the Year characters that were of color were either thrown together or “whitered down”.

Gabriela (2017), Kanani (2011), and Jess (2005) all proved to be disappointing in many ways. Gabriela was clearly thrown together with a recycled face mold and rehashed dancing theme (not to mention how stereotypical it was). Jess and Kanani were both “mixed”. I mean, Biracial is a start for Girl of the Year, but American Girl’s only fully Asian character was an accessory “Best Friend doll” to a white character in the 1970s. With only two other decent girls of “color” (Marisol and Luciana) in comparison to the vast majority of the other Girl of the Year characters, Blaire was not needed at this time. The need is greater for Girls of color.

By the way, I don’t consider Sonali to be a Girl of the Year character as she was an “accessory” to Chrissa. She doesn’t pass. She was also a bully. I just couldn’t gel with her.

However, a character like Sonali would’ve been more compelling as a lead this year than Blaire Wilson.

Maybe it’s just me. I’m sorry. I know a lot of fans are excited for Blaire. The Facebook feed was flooded with support. I don’t want to take your joy from you. But if you want to know why I’m not overjoyed, I can only be honest. I have no interest in a thriving farm-girl foodie, with too much time on her hands, from the “Hudson Valley”. Sure, I love to blog, too, but I think a more powerful character could adapt blogging as a center part of their story-line. Blogging could be used as a vehicle for change, not just showing off your “affluent” farm. I know it keeps the family in business, and I think it’s great a kid is willing to take on that responsibility, but I just think other girls have more serious stories to tell. It completely takes a stomp on all the things truly affecting children in 2019. We couldn’t find a better story to tell this year?

I think the modern My Journey characters have far more interesting stories. Why couldn’t American Girl borrow from them?

My second issue with this story is the fact that her farm is “thriving”. The second farm crisis almost hit the US in 2018, and her story barely hits that point (other than talking about the closing of a nearby farm). Instead, she’s “obsessed with screen time”. I’m not against blogging junkies okay (I am one), but they could’ve made this story more centered on the struggles farmers are facing today rather than her planning some “epic” wedding that turns into a disaster. I mean, who hasn’t heard a story like that before?

Blaire’s story is a bit unrealistic all around…How a child can help plan a wedding, make and cancel plans without speaking to an adult, among other things is beyond me…

After reading both stories, I feel that Blaire’s world wants to send too many different messages at once. Though American Girl says that Blaire learns to balance her “screen time” with her personal life, that’s only relevant to the first book. I’m trying to understand the true educational message of the overall series, but I can’t seem to find it.

My other issue deals with this book cover. I didn’t like it with Luciana, but with a less-captivating story like Blaire’s, the cover makes it worse. It’s almost telling me that nothing in this story relates to a real girl in 2019. I just don’t like it. I can’t bring myself to fall in love with it. At least Luciana had the interesting character and situation. Blaire is just blah. I’m all for the normal girls, but I like my characters to have substance, too.

That’s it. I don’t think it’s the story or the setting. I think I have an issue with Blaire as a character. Her interests are kind of boring. She enjoys cooking and gardening. I feel like we’ve had past characters in this line with the same interests. Lanie, GOTY 2010 gave me all the gardening feelings I needed. Grace, Girl of the Year 2015, gave me all of my baking feelings. Why do I care that Blaire is in the kitchen, too? Why do I care that she has her own garden and a lamb? Especially while Melody, Beforever character from 1963, is deprived of all of her gardening materials?

Last, while I understand balancing social media and the personal life is a problem for everyone today, I don’t think this story tackled it in a way that would actually show kids the benefit of putting down their phones and tablets. Perhaps American Girl didn’t want to send a message like “technology is bad”, but that it needs to be used in moderation. That’s cool and everything.

However, I think many children’s authors fail to go in a little deeper when it comes to social media and why kids use it. Kids are more “sophisticated” today, as American Girl has emphasized time and again, right? I’m sure kids would appreciate a story that’s deeper, even more nuanced. Does anyone ask why kids consume themselves with phones and tablets? What are they looking for while navigating online that they feel they can’t find in the real world? Why don’t kids WANT to spend time with their family and friends? Understanding those problems first will lead to other solutions surrounding the “internet obsession”. This story really could’ve helped kids unravel those inner worries and concerns and desires that cause them to get hooked on to technology in the first place.

Instead, this book focuses on trying to balance life with online through party-planning mishaps and poor texting, but fails to tackle the reasons why someone would be so connected in the first place. Yes, kids hear all the time that they will lose their real friendships and connections with family if they spend so much time on “the social media”. However, no one is there helping kids navigate their minds as to why they do so they can break the habit. No one is wondering what kids are running away from in the real world. This book series could have been the one.

I’ve come up with several theories as to why kids consume their lives with internet.  I knew I began to consume my life with it as soon as I received a computer in 2000. I couldn’t stand my family. I felt a loss of control over my life. The internet was the only space I could be myself, control my environment without grown-ups telling me what to do, and escape my outer world. When I couldn’t fit in with kids around me or share interests with anyone around me, online I could find a community to share any weird obsessions or quirks I had. There might be other kids out there like this.

Blaire’s story barely glosses over kids’ connections to the internet beyond making her create inspiration boards for her food recipes. It doesn’t even begin to tackle the issues around it. It could’ve been that teaching tool, but it wasn’t.

I mean, that’s okay too, but it would’ve been better if it had actually focused on what kids experience online and why.

And is the “food sensitivity” bit supposed to be American Girl’s response to the lack of disabled and handicapped characters in their GOTY lineup? Was that announced to draw in people with real life-threatening allergies to the brand? Initially, American Girl said Blaire had a “food allergy”. There was a bit of backlash about that. SPOILER: Blaire is Lactose Intolerant. It would’ve been more interesting if the story actually focused on an allergy! As someone who has dealt with both, it’s far more life-threatening than lactose intolerance.

I’ve got an idea. How about a character struggling with a real noticeable disability who also has a food allergy? Would have made for an even more educational story-line for kids than Blaire, I promise you that.

The story tries to be relevant to girls today, but it’s far more out-of-touch than the last two characters. I mean, really, read the synopsis for these books. Who uses the word “epic” anymore? I don’t think anyone has used that word in 4 to 5 years. Maybe this book series was written 5 years ago. I don’t know. It seems like it would’ve been a really relevant book back in 2013. It’s not so current now.

Blaire’s stories were definitely written to sell pretty farming merchandise rather than really teach kids about life. She isn’t the first Girl of the Year with that problem, and won’t be the last.

Speaking of merchandise, that brings me to the next topic.

Blaire Wilson’s Doll and Merchandise

Blaire Wilson has curly red hair and bright green eyes. She adopted the “Josefina” face mold (the mold that originated with American Girl’s 1824 Mexican character). It must be popular with the kids because it’s used quite a bit. However, I don’t think it has been used on a red-haired character before, so that makes her pretty unique.

I really love my red-heads, so I can’t say I’m entirely disappointed about getting one this year. However, my desire has been stronger for a girl of color, particularly for an Asian American character or modern Native American or indigenous girl.

She is a pretty doll overall, but I just can’t get myself into her. I think she should’ve come with a different eye color. We have all seen the red hair-green eyes combination before. It’s not the only eye color for red hair. What about dark brown eyes? What about deep blue? American Girl seems to shy away from the deeper and darker shades. Light eyes don’t always make a doll prettier.

Perhaps a haircut would’ve given her something different.

But maybe Blaire’s look will appeal more to kids. I’m not a kid, so I don’t count.

Blaire Wilson’s merchandise focuses on farm-based attire and accessories. I love her accessories way more than her outfits.

Her “Meet outfit” is a white “bumblebee” print springtime dress. She comes with purple sandals, too. Her dress is rather simple, but cute. It gives me “Gwen” vibes (the best friend to Chrissa, Girl of the Year 2009). The purple sandals are cute, but don’t match anything in the dress. Eh. I guess it could pass.

I think the bandanna bracelet is adorable and character-focused, which I love.

Blaire is trying to manage her time between online and her personal life, so she comes with different tools that help her manage things. Her tablet, a clipboard, pen, party planning book, and postcard are really great accessories for any character. There aren’t too many Girl of the Year characters released with technology (surprisingly), so this is a welcome difference. The tote bag has a bouquet.

Beyond her accessories though, I’m disappointed in the gardening/farm theme. We’ve had a character focused on gardening (Lanie 2010) and Chrissa lived on a Llama farm. Wellie Wishers has the garden playset, and then there’s Melody. I feel like these items could have been in Melody’s collection and were set to the side for this Girl of the Year. American Girl seems to be overusing the farm and gardening element, which doesn’t interest me anymore. Whatever.

I like the wedding items. Again, I love the accessories best of all. The clothing doesn’t “wow” me, but at least nothing is ugly.

I prefer Lanie’s gardening outfit to Blaire’s. This is another one I don’t need. When you’ve been collecting American Girl since 1997, you just can’t do repeats. Newer fans could appreciate this because they probably weren’t around when Lanie was in the picture. I can’t appreciate it.

The apron and gloves are so cute though! I would purchase this for Melody (since she’s in desperate need of gardening materials).

Beforever Felicity’s lamb makes a return, but this time not with Felicity.

The “Bed and Breakfast” is nice. However, I’ve found more interest in other playsets for lower the price ($300 for this). I heard there’s a real copper stock pot and metal silverware, though. The quality doesn’t sound too bad.

Overall, though, I hate to say it, especially because she’s one of the few red-heads, I’m a little bored with Blaire. I was already more focused on the Beforever line (considering I prefer the historical lines, characters, and stories), but this confirms what I was already feeling: Modern American Girl characters are too flimsy for my tastes. This isn’t just as far as the collection goes. The stories are often shallow, the collections are often rehashed, the themes are often generic, and the educational value isn’t usually there. I don’t necessarily need educational toys all the time, I just prefer them.

This isn’t to say there haven’t been any Girl of the Year dolls that have gotten me interested. The fact that Girl of the Year actually produced the first Jewish and Bi-racial character was enough to get me interested in the beginning, but the lack of attention to what’s going on in the world makes it fall far behind its Beforever sister line. Blaire Wilson is the character that gives me that vibe. Luciana gave me hope, Blaire brought me back to reality.

I’m going to go ahead and give American Girl the benefit of the doubt right now because I’m a fan. Maybe with all the money they poured into Luciana last year, they just didn’t have the funds for something as big. Girl of the Year doesn’t necessarily have to take us into space and beyond to be great, but she could at least tell us a meaningful story, one that really impacts girls today. I think American Girl should start talking to girls about things that are impacting their daily lives. I think they can pull interesting stories out of the responses.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about Blaire. Do you love her or hate her? Do you feel she represents the girls of  2019? Let’s get the discussion rolling!

7 Dolls I Played With As A Kid That Shaped My Life As An Adult

23 Oct

Greetings Gen Next readers!

People often say that dolls can influence the children playing with them. As a huge doll enthusiast, I can agree with this to a certain extent. It’s amazing how a plastic item can make such an impact on a child. I’ve had dolls that really shaped my view of the world and I’ve seen dolls shape other children around me.

With that being said, I understand why parents, particularly mothers, are so concerned with how dolls influence or shape the lives of their children.

However, I can honestly say that kids view things from a different perspective than adults. While mothers might think a doll brand will influence their child in one way, the child may pick up a completely different message depending on the other surrounding things going on in their lives.

I can honestly say that has been the case for me. Growing up in the 1990s and early 2K, we didn’t have the technology these little kiddies have. We had TOYS! And in the 1990s, toy aisles had anything a kid could ever want to play with. They were filled to the brim.

My parents encouraged me to play at a young age. I was a shy anti-social kid who didn’t like playing too much with the neighbor’s kids. Toys were my escape. My mother, along with other family members, always tried to find the best toys for me. My family always considered how each toy would impact my life, but they never knew exactly how that would occur.

Toys became an integral part of my life. Being raised a girl, my parents and grandparents always saw it fitting for me to play with dolls. Early on, my mother encouraged me to be feminine. She would encourage me to play with the most pro-girl and pro-feminine dolls she could find. She was that way. Little did she know I would grow into a tomboy who loves androgynous fashion!

My other family members, like my grandparents, also tried to find dolls that instilled values.

With my family members encouraging me to play, you can imagine I had a lot of toys, especially dolls, growing up.

Still, you might be wondering, “How did those dolls influence you to the point they impacted or shaped your life right now, as an adult?” Well, let me run down SEVEN dolls I played with as a child that shaped my life today as an adult. When I mention how they influenced me, you might understand more…

I will do a countdown style.

If you hate reading, skip down…Skip


7. Kenya

Created by Tyco, Kenya was a doll that promoted the beauty of African American girls’ hair. Her slogan was literally “the beautiful hairstyling doll”. You could style her hair just like you do yours African American girls!

This was probably one of the first pro-black dolls I saw on TV. Seriously, all of the dolls that came out of the Kenya brand were images of black girls.

When I first saw Kenya in the commercials, the thing that stood out to me, as a kid, was how her hair could be styled to look just like mine. To me, she looked like my vision of a “real girl”. A “real girl”, in my mind, was someone who looked like me! It’s kind of how I feel about American Girl’s Melody now. Kenya was the “Melody” of the 1990s. She was more of a modern girl that encouraged me to love myself. And I could feel that message as a kid. She was actually one of the first black dolls I was exposed to and I loved that doll. I played with her everyday. I even tried to draw my own tattoos on her…Which didn’t turn out too good, but at least she was loved.

I think having a doll like Kenya did something to me. For starters, It exposed me to the country of Kenya. In school, when we were studying countries, I never forgot about the country of Kenya because the Kenya doll had the same name. Every time the teacher would ask us to name one country in Africa, I would always remember Kenya. And I still remember that country to this day. I paid a lot of attention to that lesson and now I know so much about the country.

Then, Kenya helped me love being black with thick hair and made me desire more black dolls. I think after seeing Kenya, the generic white Barbie wasn’t satisfying enough. I began looking for more diverse brands with dolls that looked like me. Kenya made me aware of the underrepresentation present in the media because I couldn’t find any other dolls like Kenya. I always wanted to braid my dolls’ hair and put beads in my dolls’ hair. There were few dolls that offered that.

Seeing Kenya take that spotlight helped me see the beauty in being African American. I think that’s why I push for representation and equality to this day.

The only thing I never loved about this doll was the commercial. It was basic and cheesy then, and it still is. XD

I heard Kenya made a comeback some time in 2012. She came with more modern clothes and more diverse skin tones. I heard she even came with a 12″ Barbie looking type. Kenya is still making waves with trying to push representation…


6. Global Friends

I’m sure most of you guys know nothing about this 18″ doll brand. It didn’t even come with a commercial or anything fancy (though they had a website back in the 1990s, which was a big deal back then, but I didn’t have a very good computer in the 1990s and the internet was dial-up). If you grew up in the 1990s, maybe you got one of their catalogues.

Created by the company of the same name, Global Friends Company, inc, it spawned a brand of around 12 to 13 dolls, all from different parts of the world. Their collections and accessories centered on their cultures and their friendship through the Global Friends pen pal service set up online. At that time, the computer was just becoming a household item, and the internet was the newest advancement. With the internet age, people were able to connect with other people from all over the world. I remember when I was in 4th grade, I got my first online pen pal. She came from a different world. That was so amazing to me at the time.

This brand was trying to encourage girls to connect with girls of different cultures and backgrounds. It was a brand trying to expand the minds of girls.

Like the other 18″ dolls of that time, they were apart of the “18”” doll trend (though they were technically around 14″), meant to look like real girls, and were sold only by “mail order catalogues”. That was the allure of these dolls. They were exclusive and expensive, yet educational and wholesome.

Unfortunately, I never got to buy a Global Friends doll until I was an adult. However, I always got their catalogues in the mail and would flip through them for hours.

Though the dolls may have highlighted mostly stereotypical forms of girls from around the world, they were the first dolls that got me interested in other cultures and traveling. The dolls looked so pretty to me and the outfits were bursting with color. The diversity was fulfilling. It filled my eyes up like I-candy.

Basically, these dolls at least exposed me or became a gateway to the world. The one thing I remember most about the dolls was their “greeting” printed next to them in the magazine. I literally learned how to say greetings in many different languages because of this brand. Gretchen from Germany was first, so I always remembered “Guten Tag” (which means “Good Day”). I always remembered “Jambo”, “Ni Hao”, “Oi”, “Ahllan”, “Dobree Dyen”, Bonjour”, “Konnichiwa”, among others! I may not have learned how to properly pronounce these greetings, but I learned OF them. It was an introductory exposure to other cultures. And it worked!

The brand expanded my worldview and got me thinking about how other people live outside of my existence. I think ever since I got into these dolls, I developed a desire to travel and meet people from so many different backgrounds. I still have that desire, and I want to take the greetings I learned with me.


5. Amazing Amy

Amazing Amy, the interactive doll by Playmates Toys, Inc, with over 10,000 phrases. This company had a lot of interactive dolls come out of it in the 1990s and early 2K era.

And oh no, I can’t forget about Amy. I still have the commercial jingle lodged in my head, “Amazing Amy! How does she know?” And she responds, “I just know!”

Of all the dolls I grew up with, this doll actually had quite a negative impact on me.

Maybe most of us have had a negative fear of dolls before, right? Especially fearing dolls that talk. I know people who have doll phobias. I’ve never really hated dolls neither have I been scared of them. Toy Story might have scared my friends, but it didn’t scare me…

But then came Amazing Amy.

Amazing Amy was battery-powered and mechanical, which was becoming a thing at the turn of the 21st Century. She had her own clock, which could be set to the player’s specifications. She came with lots of accessories. She was blonde and wore pink. I was told she had a black version, but I knew about the blonde one from the commercials.

Quite frankly, I’m glad I didn’t get the black doll. If any doll wanted to influence me to form self-hate tendencies, it would’ve been the black Amazing Amy.

This doll…was the most annoying piece of plastic ever to come into my life.

I first saw her in a commercial and thought it would be cool to have this cute doll that could talk to me. I thought it was appealing to be able to take care of my own daughter. Appealing…So I thought.

Amazing Amy came with some pretty cool accessories, too. She had a toothbrush, a partly chewed popsicle, a bottle of milk, hot dog, juice, pizza, a banana, a cookie, and a plate of disgusting-looking “mashed food”. She liked to play “Simon Says”, “Feed Me Something”, and her “Squeeze Games”, too. She had a dress, diaper, and pajamas.

Oh yes, Amazing Amy was going to be my daughter. It didn’t matter to me that she was white and blonde in comparison to her black mother. I was excited to have my very own daughter.

So how did this cute and interactive doll shape my life negatively?

Maybe it’s not all negative to everybody, but…I believe Amazing Amy is the reason I resolved in my heart, at a young age, that I never wanted kids. To this day, I not only take motherhood seriously but I have no desire to have a baby too soon. On the plus side, I think that’s why I avoided teen pregnancy.

When I got this doll at 8 years old, I was not ready to take care of a baby. Having Amy around and turned on was like taking care of a baby. Once you set her clock in the middle of her body and turned her on, her slogan took full effect: “She knows what she wants and how to ask for it!” At first, I enjoyed taking care of her needs and feeding her. Her sensors would glitch, which would be annoying, but overall I enjoyed giving her what she wanted.

Well, one night, I forgot to turn Amazing Amy off. All night, Amy kept asking for food, to play a game, to get her hair brushed. I was knocked out sleep. Well, Amy cried. She cried so loudly, it sounded like an alarm clock piercing through the night. She woke me up at 4:00 AM so that I could change her diaper, feed her, and play games with her. Then she glitched, so she started crying AGAIN! When I turned her around to turn her off, the button was stuck on “ON”! I tried taking out her batteries, but it was hard for my little hands to get the back open. So, she cried.

Eventually, frustrated, I snuck in the kitchen, picked out a fork, and pried out her batteries. Once those batteries were out, I never put them back in again.

The next day, I was so tired I couldn’t stay awake at school. My mother asked me why I was so tired. When I told her Amazing Amy kept me up all night crying, my mother laughed and said, “Imagine a real baby! But with your own, you can’t just take the batteries out!” That statement stuck with me.

So, now, every time I even think of having a kid, I think about how hard it was for me (at the time) to take care of that annoying, expensive little doll. Now, that I’m older, I’m wiser, but I still understand that taking care of a child is no glamorous or easy task. Amazing Amy definitely taught me that at a young age. Whenever my friends would say they wished they had a baby sister or a baby, my mind would flash back to this doll.

In some ways, I’m glad it taught me to take parenthood seriously. But when I’m interacting with others who really want children, I might not sound the most positive.


4. Barbie

Barbie has impacted thousands of girls the world over, including this girl.

Barbie is the world’s #1 fashion doll. Created by Ruth Handler while on vacation in Germany, and produced by the company Mattel, her husband’s company, Barbie was meant to be a challenge to the Baby doll industry and a response to the growing love of adult paper dolls. Ruth Handler wanted to create an actual plastic figure of famous comic and paper doll characters because she noticed her daughter preferred them to the baby dolls.

At the core, Barbie was meant to be a doll young girls could admire and dream of being one day. She fit the American ideal: white, blonde, beautiful, stylish, wealthy, glamorous, and forever young.

I grew up with her in the 1990s when she’d already had a huge empire and had expanded beyond the fashion world. Barbie could do and be anything by the 1990s! That’s the vision they sold us.

This blonde adult figure inspired a lot of playtime out of me growing up. I would always pretend she was my mother. She reminded me a lot of her. My doll was white and my mother was black, but they both were stylish, career-oriented, and could do things I couldn’t at my age.

Interestingly enough, Barbie’s fashion sense never appealed to me. I didn’t like her for her fashion. I liked her for all of the mini items she came with. For example, my Teacher Barbie came with a chalkboard, mini chalk, and desks. I always thought it was cool how I could create my own classroom in a mini-sized version.

So how did Barbie come to influence who I am today? How did she influence a messy tomboy like me?

It might shock you, but Barbie ushered me into the technology age. Yeah. She also expanded my interest in dolls. I have to give her credit for this.

When we first got a computer in my home, one of the first websites I knew about was from commercials. I can’t find that commercial anymore.

The jingle went like, “What can you be there, what can you see there? Now you can be there, uh-huh…” Something like that.

Anyway, Barbie encouraged me to navigate the internet. It was the first website for dolls I’d ever heard of.

Barbie also introduced me into video games. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I had always watched my young uncles and cousins play video games, but I didn’t have a system or games of my own. My mother and grandmothers didn’t think it was a suitable toy for “girls”. I would try to play games like Mortal Combat and NBA Sports at Arcades or at restaurants or laundromats.

But when I first got my playstation, the first game I played was Barbie Race and Ride. By playing this game, I learned the mechanics of the playstation system. Eventually, I moved on to more advanced games from there. I loved Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games, Tekken and Street Fighter, and eventually RPG games like Kingdom Hearts. It was because of Barbie that I fell in love with video gaming. I still love video games to this day.

I also used to play Barbie Super Sports (which was a little more challenging than Race and Ride) and Detective Barbie. The most fun Barbie video game I played was a PC/CD-Rom game called Secret Agent Barbie. That was my first PC game. I wish I could still play that game. It’s not compatible with anything nowadays.

In all honesty, Barbie made me into a gamer girl!

Barbie also got me interested in diverse and unique dolls. A lot of dolls have claimed to have been the first major diverse dolls out there, but Barbie has always had sister and spin-off brands that focused on a group of diverse dolls. Generation Girl was about 8 best friends from different backgrounds and cultures who attend International High. Diva Starz was also a diverse brand, and probably the first I saw with the big head and big feet design. Polly Pocket was innovative. Myscene was stylish and mature. Even to this day, Barbie’s sister brands Monster High and Ever After High continue to produce diversity. Going to Barbie’s website, I was able to get in touch with the other lovable brands.

Barbie’s mini world inspired me to look for more out of my collections. She pretty much set the bar for how far a doll line could expand. Barbie has had it all. I can only be impressed by how much this doll brand has accomplished for over 50 years. It’s amazing. The appeal of Barbie was that I could be in a lavish mini world I wouldn’t naturally be able to afford in real life. I could be anything when I had Barbie.

Barbie developed my interest in building a career, believe it or not. I always had working women around me. I didn’t have the privilege of a stay-at-home mom. My mother had to work. Barbie made that seem okay for me. Through Barbie, I could always pretend she was in a career. She had so many career options in the 1990s. I believe she inspired my ambitious nature.

Barbie may have had an influence on me, but she didn’t turn me into a materialistic and superficial broad. She may have done that to some kids, but not me.

Little did I know I would take this influence and drive it towards a rival brand…


3. Magic Attic Club

Oh, The Magic Attic Club. This club was like the Babysitters Club of the 1990s, only it dealt with magic and younger girls. But it was the club every girl wanted to be in. Magic Attic Club inspired me in many ways but also taught me valuable lessons. Let me explain.

Magic Attic Club was following that “18” doll” format. They were sold by mail order catalogue, were expensive, and exclusive. They were cheaper than American Girl though. Unlike American Girl, Magic Attic Club was a modern and more fantastical line. They came with a series of books that followed the characters’ adventures through a magic mirror that would allow the characters to explore their imagination. The adventures they would go on would also teach them how to deal with their everyday life (though the things they go through might seem minor).

Magic Attic Club dolls passed through the hands of many companies before retirement. They were first sold by Georgetown. They filled the gap American Girl didn’t fill at the time: They produced modern girls (while American Girl still primarily sold historical dolls). Eventually, Magic Attic Club went to Knickerbocker and last Marian (which was a company created by actress Marie Osmond and her husband Brian).

Magic Attic Club influenced my life in five ways.

First, Magic Attic Club got me interested in the fantasy genre. Magic Attic Club was able to be and do anything, at 10 years old. I was always excited about whatever adventure they would go on. And the outfits they came with! They were just bursting with color and luxury!

I think the mystery behind the Magic mirror was so intriguing that I longed for that mystery in other genres. To this day, my interest in the fantasy genre has expanded. I enjoy Harry Potter, Circle of Magic, Jewel Princesses…I got into a lot.

Second, Magic Attic Club made me realize indigenous people still EXIST, not as a foreigner but in my own country. Yes, I was an ignorant little child back then. I used to see indigenous groups as groups belonging to the past. I didn’t realize that there were still people from these groups, even little girls like me, living modern lives while trying to hold on to their ancestry. Rose Hopkins, the Cheyenne girl in the Magic Attic Club, taught me that. To this day, there are still very few doll lines that have a modern doll representing the indigenous groups of people. Ever since I was introduced to Rose, I have felt she was a rare gem, and I have looked for that kind of representation in every doll line. Rose is also one of the most gorgeous dolls in the brand.

Global Friends also had an indigenous doll, but at the time, it didn’t dawn on me that the character was “American”. Unfortunately.

Third, Magic Attic Club taught me to shut my mouth and stick with real friends. When I was younger, about 8 years old, that was the one time in my life I wanted to fit in with the other girls. I had so many popular girls in my class. They were kind of mean and stuck up to some of my friends. I used to be like a loser or an outcast because I would hang out with the underdogs.

But one day, I had been talking about the Magic Attic Club. All the “cool” girls liked Magic Attic Club because of how exclusive and pretty the dolls were. These girls found out I loved Magic Attic Club, knew a lot about the dolls, and let me be apart of their clique because of it. Me, being a fan of Magic Attic Club, would share fan info with these girls, insider knowledge. At that time, they were giving me some attention, and I liked it.

Eventually though, that died down. They started cooling off from me. I guess all they had in common with me were these dolls. So what did I do? I came up with the biggest and stupidest lie. I told them that my grandmother works for the company that makes Magic Attic Club dolls and that she could get them dolls for free.

After that, the girls came back around me.

But see, I had to keep up with this lie. The girls kept pressuring me and asking when they would get their free dolls. I had to keep pushing back the date to make it believable. Eventually, one of the lead girls got suspicious. She came up to me and said, “I don’t believe your grandma works for the company.” I tried to defend my lie. And I managed to defend this lie up until I was 10. I finally confessed that my grandmother didn’t work for Magic Attic Club and that my grandmother just happened to buy me two dolls and books. Obviously, this made me the bum of my elementary school days. I deserved it.

On the other hand, my real friends stayed by me and liked me for who I was. From that Magic Attic Club encounter, I learned that you can’t buy friendship and I learned to shut my mouth. If I can’t speak truth, I don’t need to speak. I learned not to lie about who I am.

The fourth way Magic Attic Club had an impact on me was it actually got me interested in doll fashion. The one thing Magic Attic Club had over all the other 18″ dolls of the time was they were girls my age that wore trendy and modern clothes. They were the first dolls that got me interested in the fashion aspect of doll brands. Beforehand, I just liked the stuff dolls came with. Magic Attic Club had an array of different outfits and clothes, but they were also on trend in my eyes. Barbie was fashionable, but she was an adult. The MAC were wearing clothes I could wear and WANTED to wear. My interest in their fashion expanded my interest in fashion dolls in general (even though they weren’t fashion dolls!).

Last, Magic Attic Club has influenced my summers. Magic Attic Club always reminded me of summers spent with my great-grandmother (who I would visit every summer). When I was younger, I couldn’t afford all of the Magic Attic Club books. However, during the summer, my great-grandmother would take me to the library and I could find all of the MAC books! I would check them all out. The librarian knew which books I would get every summer. Eventually, this turned into a tradition. Every summer, even up into high school, I would check out the Magic Attic Club books and read them.

Eventually, the library closed. I also couldn’t spend as much time with my grandmother. But I managed to buy all of the ones in print (still looking for Jane in a Land of Enchantment). I still read them every summer. Summer doesn’t begin for me unless I read these books. Having the dolls also remind me of those lovely summers.

Overall, the Magic Attic Club dolls have had a profound impact on my life.


2. American Girl Dolls

The American Girl dolls come from a brand focused on educating and inspiring girls through play. They come with a line of historical characters and modern characters fleshed out through dolls, accessories, and books. Through storytime, their characters help girls face the real world around them. Honestly, of all the 18″ dolls, American Girl was the first to do this and has always been the most effective at this.

American Girl was originally produced by Pleasant Rowland through Pleasant Company. It was designed to combat Barbie’s influence as an adult figure and bring back dolls that looked more like girls. It also bounced off the popularity of the Little House on the Prairie, which had been popular decades prior due to the TV series. The dolls were meant to help connect girls today with girls of the past, to bridge generations of girlhood, tell history from the female perspective, and inspire future leaders.

Ironically, Barbie’s parent company, Mattel, ended up buying American Girl. American Girl continues to educate and inspire girls.

This company definitely inspired me. I got into American Girl in 1995 with the books I would get from my school library. I received my first American Girl doll in 1997. At that time, the modern girls were just becoming a thing.

American Girl influenced me tremendously. First, this doll brand inspired my love of history. It was the gateway to learning the important events in my country. And as they say, if you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where you’re going. I think American Girl encouraged me to appreciate the place I live and even to appreciate the histories of other countries! American Girl made history come alive for me, and made history fun and appealing. In school, I always got As on my history tests. I would win history bees and competitions. American Girl didn’t have all the answers, but they were the only books telling history from an everyday perspective, not from one of those glamorized and over-dramatic perspectives. They would go over things about history I honestly never heard of, like what foods people ate and what clothes they wore. I literally got interested in how people live.

American Girl is the reason I have the job and career I have NOW. I was inspired to get into education. I was inspired to build up my own community of African American children and help them value education. Addy was my first American Girl and she made slavery and reconstruction even more real for me. I’ll never forget when she got her freedom and she still had to build her life. It wasn’t a walk in the park. The books were so real for me, not cheesy at all.

I currently work with black children and I try to get them into their own roots and history. I try to inspire them the way American Girl inspired me. I wanted to give back. American Girl showed me the importance of doing that.

American Girl instilled some really strong morals and character traits in me. I think the brand helped me develop courage, a spirit of adventure, open-mindedness, kindness, compassion, sacrifice, strength, and determination. Whenever I thought my life was hard, I would think about girls who came before me who had it harder. I try to live up to these qualities everyday. I think American Girl helped me see the importance of developing these qualities early in my life.

Having the dolls really made history real for me. I could pretend to be from a different time and place, a different race or culture, and through that playtime, I learned to understand people and I learned to understand life. I’ve learned how to cook foods and prepare them in ways different from my own. I’ve learned to study the way people dress and live. I’ve learned to melt my own prejudices when seeing someone different.

I definitely learned to transcend myself. Perhaps my favorite non-black characters are Kaya, Kit, Molly, and it doesn’t feel like American girl without Felicity. I’m still into the brand and have loved newer dolls like Melody and Julie. I do hope to have a 1920s character soon as well. That’s on my American Girl wishlist. Through these characters, I feel like I’ve lived several lives…

I feel like I’m recording a brand ad or something right now…

American Girl also helped me connect with my elders. By learning about times in the past, I knew about some things my grandmother and great-grandmother enjoyed. My great-grandmother always felt she could talk to me because when she did, I knew what she was talking about and showed interest. It helped me bond with my family. I was able to appreciate doing things with my grandparents and my mother, things a normal child wouldn’t find interest in. I think it helped me respect women of all ages and what they have done for me.

American Girl showed me that women can be strong leaders, and I take the lessons from the brand with me into my adulthood.


1. Bratz

Bratz is a brand of cutting-edge and fashion-forward dolls that arrived shortly after the 21st Century began. These dolls were meant to make the beginning of a new century, and they did that for me.

Just when I was losing interest in playing with dolls and was growing into a tween collector, out came the Bratz.

The Bratz were created by designer Carter Bryant (freelance designer on break from company Mattel) and produced by MGA Entertainment.

I got into the Bratz late 2000 when the website was under construction. Most of my followers know the story. I was actually looking for new dolls to get into. Something interesting. I had been looking for a particular doll when I accidently typed in Bratz. When I pressed the link and saw the website under construction, I thought it was going to be some kind of fashion cartoon (which I felt would’ve been awesome).

A few months later, the first Bratz commercial hit the scene and I was a different girl. The rest was history.

You might be wondering, “How can a line of fashion dolls top a girl-empowering line like American Girl?” I didn’t think that could happen either.

At the time I got into Bratz, I was what most people considered “too old” for dolls, especially during the surge of popularity Bratz received in 2004. I was a teenager by then.

The first thing Bratz taught me was that you’re never too old to like dolls. Bratz was set to target girls like me. I soon realized that. When I first heard Bratz was meant to target girls my age, I was shocked and excited. I knew that something different was brewing in the toy industry.

Bratz truly made me a COLLECTOR. I loved dolls before, but the clothing, items, and edge was so inspiring, I actually saved my money and bought even the hardest to find dolls if I could find them. Some items you couldn’t get anywhere.

Bratz exposed me to the toy industry in general. I’m not talking about as a toy but as a business. Bratz was on the rise during the computer age. MGA was one of the only doll companies FULLY open to suggestions back then. I remember I would email Mattel ideas of mine and would get one of those automated responses. I only got one real response and it was pretty rude.

MGA always responded in a very thoughtful and engaging way. And the things I asked for at my age…They delivered! I think after I heard Bratz was releasing a CD in Japan in 2003, I asked for MGA to get a CD created for worldwide release. Shortly after, Bratz’s “Who We Are” and “Bratz Rock Angelz” was released. When Bratz had a show released in Japan to tie in with the CD, I asked for the Bratz movies and shows and got it shortly after! I wouldn’t say my emails made a difference, but by seeing the results, it made me feel like my opinions mattered.

I realized my own fan power in shaping the success of my favorite brand and I brought this fandom power into many other fandoms.

I also realized harsh truths about the doll industry through the Bratz. I think the Bratz business is the only one I’ve followed closely. I’ve seen how a doll line could rival another doll line in sales. I saw how that impacted the direction of toy brands. All of this at age 11 to 17.

I began to see the difference in companies. When I was a kid, companies didn’t matter. I didn’t know Amazing Amy, American girl, and Barbie were even from different companies. They were just toys.

After getting into Bratz, I realized the difference.

I learned the legal system that works around toys as well, especially seeing the legal issues surrounding Carter Bryant, MGA, and Mattel. I learned that just because you created something doesn’t always mean you are allowed to have full rights over the product. That whole situation made me “business-smart”.

Bratz has taught me so many valuable lessons about toys in general.

While American girl inspired the career I’m in now, Bratz is inspiring my future goals. Everytime I see a Bratz doll, I feel inspired to get creative. The amount of detail and coolness that goes into Bratz draws out a lot of ideas in my mind.

Bratz has even inspired my sense of fashion and developed my social identity. I think I told followers that I was raised in a very super-feminine home. It was so suffocating, I couldn’t slouch, spill messes, or accidentally ruffle an ounce of my attire. I used to hate fashion and femininity because of how I was raised.

When I first saw the Bratz, and this may not be anyone else’s experience, I saw girls in baggy pants, beanies, bandanas, and sneakers. The dolls were wearing a diverse range of styles. They didn’t fit into one feminine box. Sure, some wore skirts. But they could throw on a denim jacket and sneakers in a heartbeat. That had an impression on me. I finally felt I found a doll brand that represented someone like me.

Later on, Bratz tried many outrageous styles, which helped me explore all possibilities in fashion and even other forms of art! I had developed an interest in cutting edge and avant-garde fashion. I really began taking a liking to androgynous fashion. As a youth, the Bratz produced an image that encouraged me to be my individual self. They helped me explore my identity.

Bratz has developed me into an adult that is willing to take risks, stand in my truth, and explore my options. I believe these were the last dolls that truly inspired me. Bratz has changed my whole world vision.

Bratz set the bar for this century. For all new dolls, I’m looking for a spirit of individuality, style, and innovation. I take that attitude with anything I do.

That’s my list of dolls that have had an impact on who I am today! Leave me a comment and let me know of any dolls or other toys that influenced you in your youth! What do you think of my list? Let’s get the discussion rolling!

If You Could Have a Bratz Series Again…

13 Oct

Hello, Generation Next readers!

I’ve noticed that the Bratz Youtube Channel has been posting all of the old episodes from the original Bratz series! I know many fans loved that series, especially Bratz fans from the U.K. and Canada.

I think I’ve shared with some of my other readers my secret dream: to write for the Bratz series, possibly even a new one! I’ve been having this idea for years. However, I’ve been losing my confidence for a minute, seeing how Hayden Williams was treated after working so hard on his dream. I also have been analyzing what fans want and I’m not sure my idea is what they might be interested in. I decided I would do a poll to better understand what fans want!

I’ve been writing a scripted series for Netflix/web/tv that is loosely based off of the actual Bratz dolls’ “life”. I really thought the old series was cute, but I would’ve liked to see some other characters get animated, like Felicia, and I would’ve liked some elements to be more true to the original design of the characters (back before release and in 2001). I haven’t pitched this script to anyone YET, but I would like to soon.

I’ve already created the pilot. I just can’t decide if it should be CGI, live action, or 2D…If it ever does get picked up…

Anyway, aside from this script, I wanted to personally ask fans: If you could bring the Bratz series back, what would it look like? Make your choice above!

Thanks if you can read and play the poll.

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