Toys are moving into the right direction with the expansion of products catered to represent all backgrounds and more creators are taking a step further in providing representation beyond race/ethnicity.
Kay Black created a custom design boutique called Kay Customz and started creating custom-made dolls just eight months ago. Her newest creations feature dolls with the rare skin condition vitiligo. Vitiligo is a pigmentation disorder that whitens patches of skin around the body.
“I wanted to create dolls that any and everyone can relate to. I see beauty in everyday life,” she told Mashable. “I wanted to convey the message that beauty should not be manufactured. Beauty should be based on one’s true self mirror image.”
Black is a nail technician and hair stylist, but always felt the creative side in her to pursue this found interest. She gets her inspiration from everyday people and develops different styles for each individual doll. “I love what I do and take pride in each custom design!” the artist stated on her website.
The time it takes her to complete a doll can range from a few days to a week. She usually finds the dolls from thrift stores and yard sales. “I paint and customize them, not to take away from anyone else’s work. I simply use the old dolls as canvases,” she explained.
As a result of the success of her vitiligo dolls, the artist started creating dolls with facial features like freckles and individuals with albinism. She even expanded her collection to feature male dolls.
Many people have praised her on social media, thanking her for being represented through her dolls. They’ve also caught the attention of actors Tia Mowry and Mike Epps.
“When Mike Epps shares ur work I think it safe to say this doll went viral!!,” she captioned on Instagram.
While Black continues to expand and experiment with her doll collection, she has a future goal she hopes to achieve, “My goal is to go beyond the average assembly line looking doll. I want relatable, realistic dolls,” she explained to Mashable. “My goal is to have my own line of beautiful dolls one day.”
Kay Black might be closer to her goal than she thinks.