There are some dolls I fall in love with on first sight; Samantha and a host of other AGs, the retired Carpatina girl dolls, the magic attic and Maru and Friends dolls to name a few.
There are also dolls I like, and after a while learn to love; Felicity, I always liked her but it wasn’t until I took her to Williamsburg that I fell in love with her.
Then, there are dolls I very much dislike; the Carpatina boy dolls (except for Stephan), the Springfield dolls, and a few Madame Alexander 18″ dolls.
There are just a few dolls I have a very neutral opinion of; Grace Thomas (her lips just bug me), Marisol and Julie (I think it’s just because I’m not a fan of the Josefina face mold, but I’m just not drawn to Julie at all).
And finally, there have been only two dolls so far that I started out very much disliking but changed my mind so completely that they not only made it into my collection, but became a top 10 favorite; Marie Grace and the doll this post is actually going to be about: Alexis Christine O’Shay. When Marie Grace first came out, I immediately took a liking to Cecile, but I couldn’t stand MG’s face mold. I thought it made her look like she had no neck and a pointy (witchy) chin, plus those bushy curls at the side of her face made her look even stranger. After she retired I guess I had gotten used to seeing her face more and thought maybe her face wasn’t so bad. A couple years later, I started looking at photos of Marie Grace on other people’s blogs and other places and discovered that I kind of liked her heart shaped face and thought her hair was so beautiful with those caramel highlights and different colored browns mixed in. After waiting a looong time I finally got my Mary Grace at a very good price on ebay and I’m so glad I got her. She looks great in so many different outfits and time periods. If you tuck her pin curls up, she makes a great modern doll, if you leave them showing she can be Colonial, Victorian, or her own time period, and like Elizabeth, she sparkles in certain outfits. This is a really bad picture of her, but she sparkled in this old AG ballerina outfit from 1995.
The next doll to completely change my mind was a doll I first saw on Doll Diaries in 2013 when she first came out (http://dolldiaries.com/alexis-from-via-e-has-arrived/). She was created by a woman named Ellen Callan who started her company called Via-E with Alexis, being the first doll produced. I had read many of Diana Gash’s doll diary reviews and it’s rare that she gives a doll such a low score and finds so many things wrong with her. At the time I was reading this review I was just completely turned off with her smile. It screamed Barbie at me. Yes, she had a different face, but that mouth with those teeth were just way too Barbie-ish for me and I knew for certain that that Via-E doll would never enter into my home.
Two years later, March 2015, I found out that Ellen Callen was in the process of creating a dollfriend for Alexis who would be African American. I felt I needed some racial variety in my doll collection and I had only one multi-jointed doll at the time and felt I could use another if the price was right. Tatiana Nayara Oliviera was being sold as a pre-order doll for only $68, but the price was going to go up as she advanced in her production. Compared to Alexis who is $115 I thought this might be a really good deal, but I had my doubts. At that time, all you could see of Tatiana was this:
I didn’t even know what her hair was going to look like! I hemmed and hawed about whether to order her or not for many days. I thought her face was different from Alexis and didn’t seem as Barbie like, at least in the little picture I could see. I finally decided to order her and take my chance. I do not have facebook, but every so often I would go on the Via e facebook page and read about how Ellen was developing Tatiana. It was SO interesting to learn all the 1000 steps it takes to make just one doll! I admire Ellen and her company so much. She wants her dolls to be as close to real people as possible which is why not only does Tatiana have a different face mold than Alexis, but she has a different body mold too! She’s just a totally different person from Alexis and Ellen wanted to show that. Just like little girls have different bodies and faces from one another. (Perhaps AG ought to take a page out of this book…) Tatiana is hopefully going to come sometime in late November. Right now, her hair is being machine sewn onto her head, then her feet and hands will get manicured and her face will get painted.
Of course, while I’m learning about Tatiana and checking the Via e facebook page, I’m also seeing more and more pictures of Alexis herself and starting to really like her. I reread Ali’s most beautiful review of Alexis on A Doll’s Picnic, http://adollspicnic.com/?p=632 and after discovering that Alexis was on sale with free shipping I decided that I wanted to get her and I wanted her before Tatiana arrived. She arrived in October, just before I published my Halloween post (see previous post). I thought her smile was cute and sweet seeing it in pictures, but I was not prepared to see her in real person. She seemed so real as soon as I took her out of the box. It was like she was really saying, “Hey! My name is Alexis Christine O’Shay. I would love to be friends with you. And I can’t wait to go on adventures together!” I could tell she was going to be a real talker! I’m sure you’re waiting for me to get done talking about her and show you some pictures so here they are.
Here she is right out of the box.
Her hair is REALLY shiny and oh so easy to style. It’s not too slippery or smooth. It’s just right! So far, there have not been ANY tangles at all, even right out of the box.
She’s taller than AG dolls, and slimmer too.
Her hair color is very similar to McKenna’s. It’s actually the exact same color as my sister’s. When my sister saw Alexis for the first time, she couldn’t stop complimenting Alexis and told me this was her favorite doll!
You’ve seen these before, but here she is in her Halloween costume (from WalMart).
I guess if I had to say anything bad about this doll it would be, that her arms, not her head or legs, seem very tight and I think it’s just my doll, but she has a really hard time balancing on her own. She has to have a doll stand or a wall at all times and even then, she and the doll stand tend to land on their backs a lot.
Maybe it’s because this is my very first open mouthed doll, but I have to say, every time I look at Alexis, she literally makes me smile!
Go check out the Via E website at : http://www.via-e.com/tatiana.html