Image of a girl with short brown hair and brown eyes in a pink shirt sits on the floor with a doll with blond, curly hair and brown eyes in a blue shirt, purple shorts and a pink prosthetic arm on her lap.
What is your favorite memory/ moment that brought you lots of joy? When the Elliana dolls finally shipped in from China. At that time, I had been working on her development for over a year and a half and had the idea for Special Dolls for almost five, so getting the package and knowing that my vision was coming to life felt surreal.
What is something people generally don’t know about you? Even though I'm running my own doll company, I'm still a typical teenager. I'm an aspiring director who's filming a movie right now, love my dog, fangirl over Miraculous Ladybug and anime with my friends, and of course, I love my dolls. Alright, so the last one wasn't that typical for a girl who'll be 15 in a few weeks, but you get the point.
Who is Sydney? Sydney is a nerdy doll-crazy girl who won't stop at anything to get what she want.
What gets your fired up about the disability movement? Just knowing that there needs to be representation for disabled people to relate to out there, and I can create it. People usually think about representation as different things such as gender and race, but when there's a disabled character in something, most people don't really put effort into creating an accurate portrayal. They just make the disability their defining (or only) character trait, when in reality disabled people are just that- people. For example, I found out the former Prime Minister of the UK was diabetic like me yesterday. If we can lead entire countries, than I'm pretty sure we're people and deserve authentic, relatable and empowering representation in media, including toys- and I'm pretty passionate about creating said representation.
What barriers or challenges do you face in this movement? Sometimes, I doubt my abilities to succeed where I want to. Yesterday, my blood sugar dropped when I was filming, and sometimes my back hurts because of my scoliosis and I can't go to school, and my autism affects my life in different ways. And of course, I'm only a teenager, so I can't do everything I want to (yet). But I always try to remind myself that even though I have three disabilities and am young (and am a girl, which doesn't really help in the directing dreams department), I can work hard and do anything I want- which has been proven by the release of Special Dolls!
What do you want those who do not identify with disability to know? That we're people with feelings, too. Not sob stories, not bullying targets, not oddities.
What areas are you still growing/hope to grow? Personally? Professionally? I really want to grow Special Dolls, release more dolls eventually, expand our reach and make more kids happy and feel represented. Personally, I want to become a better director so I can achieve my own dreams, but Special Dolls is something that's really close to me and that I really want to succeed, so I hope I'm able to grow it.
What are your next steps? My next steps with Special Dolls is to make more people aware of it and eventually create more dolls and content. I'm doing some interviews and stuff now, but I'll work on it even harder once school's out and I'm done with my movie. Speaking of that- "Rebelle" releases on June 14 on my YouTube channel, if anyone's into watching American Girl dolls attempt to overthrow an oppressive worldwide government- I wrote the script, directed it and am playing a character too!
How do we follow you?! You can follow Special Dolls on Instagram @specialdollsbrand
Special Dolls on Facebook
You can purchase an Elliana doll or read her ebook for free on special-dolls.com.
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