Tag Archives: Bratz Rock Angelz 2021

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.

Bratzrockangelz.com 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

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