Friday, October 17, 2014

Live encounter with the Hispanic "Ariana" fashion dolls (named Nicole) from Kenya World

Earlier in the week, I'd gone straight from contemplating D7ana's remarkable list of Hispanic dolls to mindlessly wandering the Toys R Us web site, where I discovered the mysterious "Ariana" fashion doll, from the same makers as Kenya. I have now been to TRU and seen them in person, so can provide more details, lots of photos with box-cello glare, and a heaping tablespoonful of guilt and dithering over not actually buying one to unbox and review.

Let's start with the Everyday Fashion line, which currently retails for $9.99 and has articulated knees but not articulated elbows. I took pictures of every doll that TRU had (they had only one of each). I cannot explain why "Ariana" is actually named Nicole. If the face molds are not identical, the difference is too small for me to spot.

Delicioso, Diversion de Verona, and Sol de Medianoche
Energia, Flores, and Turquoise.

As you can see, there are three hair colors -- pinky-blond, brown, and brown with blond streaks -- and both light and medium skin tones.

There is also a Salsa line for $14.99, with fancier dresses and purses -- it's not on the TRU site but was in the store. The face-ups appear to be the same, and the elbows are still unarticulated. I photographed only a sample of these.

We start out very Rodeo Drive with Salsa Vallenato (named for a form of Colombian folk music).
A little bit Real Housewives of Scottsdale with Salsa Romantica...
So sweetly pretty that I didn't notice in person that the dress has a leopard under-dress (Salsa Sabor)...
Ke$ha goes to Las Vegas! Salsa Mambo!
Then there's the $24.99 Quinceañera line, in ball gowns, with more accessories (including a tiara for you!). The Quince dolls have elbow articulation! There were several different colors of dresses, but I photographed only one.

This one is called Cielo.
Nicole looks to me like she has a larger head than Barbie, so I took Turquoise over to the Barbie aisle for comparison with a denatured Teresa. If her head isn't bigger than Teresa's (and I still think it is), then she's wearing her facial features more spread out.

Chica, spring break in Cancun does not count as getting in touch with your heritage.
Here's where things got dithery. Since I've been complaining about how Teresa has been lightened and de-Hispanicized, I ought to be attracted to dark-skinned Flores. (The camera loves her.)

Mi flor favorita es la caléndula.
Or, since I liked the look of vintage Cipsa Valeries, maybe I should be attracted to dark-skinned Turquoise, who has the streaked hair. This close-up, though, also shows the very flat-looking paint job on the eyes, which is reminding me of why I never really feel Winx.

Valerie es mi tía abuela.
The one that "spoke" to me in the store is Energia, who kind of asks to be dressed as Ke$ha or possibly Lady Gaga. This is not a thing I really need to do, though.

Me despierto por la mañana, sintiéndose como P. Diddy.
The only Energia in the store had a wonky bit where her rooting meets her forehead, plus her lip paint didn't cover her lips. Paint that didn't match the lips was an issue for most of the Everyday Fashion dolls.

No deje, hace pop!
There's also the issue of having no elbow articulation. That's not surprising in a $10 basic doll -- getting decent knee articulation is actually a huge bonus -- but it's pretty close to a deal-breaker for me. That's especially true when dolls with elbow and knee articulation are being closed out a shelf away for $4.98.

Be a knock-off... or just look like one.
I didn't buy Tinker Bell, either, as Fairy Tale High has this odd thing with a flat, single shade of eye-shadow going all the way up to a high-placed eyebrows, and it annoys me.

My final ruling was that, through no fault of the Nicoles, I wasn't ready to buy at full price. I get my entertainment from digging up dolls at thrift stores and the swap meet and by burrowing like a badger through the shelves of retailers with poor inventory control... so what I'm used to paying $10 for is a better doll than can be sold with $10 as the original price. I am officially too cheap and erratic to review a new TRU doll.

At the same time, it's neat to see an Hispanic doll line on the store shelves, so I hope Nicole speaks to lots of people who aren't me.

Meanwhile, back in Barbie-land, the S.I.S. girls get a purple convertible. Later in the evening, I saw it at a Walgreen's other than my usual one, so these gals get a round-round-round.

No eyelash headlamps!


  1. I like a few of the outfits they are wearing and just about all of the bags -but no way I would pay full price for any of these. The head sculpts aren't doing a thing for me. While I certainly appreciate the effort, I would pass unless they were on sale. This post does make me want to see them all in person, so you never know, I might change my mind.

    1. *phew!* It's not just me. When I saw how pretty Flores looked on camera, I was wondering if I'd been too picky or missed something vital... They're fun to examine in person just because they launched with so. many. outfit variations.

      I went next door to Tuesday Morning, and large numbers of marked-down dolls didn't speak to me there, either.

  2. I like some of the outfits, too. Flores is my favorite of the bunch. None are coming home with me unless deeply discounted, though. I actually went looking for these ladies several weeks ago, and my TRU didn't have them yet. Oh and big brother bought Mara that SIS convertible for her birthday in June. It's worth about half that price in my opinion. The doll is cheap like the basic swim versions- she doesn't even have click knees.

    1. So my local stores are very slow to get SIS. I was hoping TRU would have some of the dolls -- I've never seen them locally except at K-Mart and marked down at Burlington -- but it's just the car here.

  3. Thanks for sharing these. I'm glad to see a full line of Hispanic dolls available. I like some of the clothes, too. I like Valeries. I'm not fond of the streaks, but I like the ponytail and the dress. I still don't get like not having a fully articulated doll. For me, I would rather have click knees and articulated arms.

  4. Cool review! Thanks for sharing and don't know how I missed before now ;-P

    I have not seen this line of the Kenya dolls yet in Philly. Will look though.

    I love the color, but the faces - like the Kenya dolls - are big and cartoony. Still exciting to see a new ethnic doll ;-)