A mother in Miami, Florida has taken it upon herself to change the doll market after hearing her daughter say she didn’t like her dark skin and kinky hair.
Angelica Sweeting, a 27-year-old mother of two girls, has created the Naturally Perfect Doll line to challenge mainstream media’s perception of beauty, after learning her then three-year-old daughter Sophia wanted to look different.
“She wanted to look like Barbie and she wanted hair like Elsa, long blond hair and white skin,” Sweeting told Today.com. “I was really, really sad that my daughter would think that at such a young age… I knew I had to do something about it.”
Sweeting and her husband, 34-year-old Jason, began reminding Sophia daily that she was beautiful and looked hard for a doll that looked like their daughter. When they couldn’t find one, Sweeting took it upon herself to create one.
With the help of her family, Sweeting created the “Naturally Perfect Angelica Doll,” an 18-inch doll that has dark skin, brown eyes and naturally kinky hair that can be washed and styled.
“The Angelica doll has facial features that are true to women of colour,” said Sweeting. “She is here to expand our spectrum of beauty and to give little girls more, so they’re able to see that beauty comes in different shades.”
While the Angelica Doll is based off of Sweeting, Sophia and two-year-old Sydney, the mom hopes to create more dolls in a range of dark skin tones and hair textures.
“We want to make this more mainstream and ensure young black girls have a positive reflection of them in store shelves or online,” said Sweeting. “I can understand why little black girls would pick a white doll. It’s because that’s all they see, the only image that’s being pushed to them on stores shelves and on TV.”
The dolls will also have a variety of careers, such as entrepreneur, engineers, journalists and software developers.
Sweeting, who left her career as a grants manager, took to Kickstarter to support the making of the first 1,000 Naturally Perfect Dolls. Since it’s start on May 19, the campaign has raised $72,000, more than triple the $25,000 goal and still has 13 days left. She hopes to have the dolls ready for shipping by the holiday season.
As for Sophia, her mother says that the four-year-old loves her doll and her looks.
“As a mom it makes me feel proud,” said Sweeting. “I love knowing my daughter loves herself and she’s proud of who she is and what she looks like.”