First, let’s take a moment to remember back in early January when I said Odette was going to be the last doll joining the family for a long time. And I meant it at the time! But by this point I should just learn to stop saying anything like that, because of course than American Girl decided to put permanent underwear on their dolls and I decided I ought to go ahead and grab any TrulyMe dolls I was sure I’d want that I wasn’t seeing pop up on eBay. Long story short… I’ve got some dolls in the closet for future self-gifting opportunities.
It was impossible to bring new girls home though without keeping one out! After spending two weeks thinking through who the girls were, only one gave me a decently clear picture, so #49 is the first of the new girls!
I had been on the fence about this girl for years. When I first saw her a few years ago, I didn’t realize her vinyl was darker and so I thought there was nothing special about her. And in all honesty, she’s tough to photograph. I think her vinyl has a coloring that is beautiful in person but winds up flat or lightened in most photographs. But in person, wow! She’s stunning!
You may notice by the girls coming in the future that I’m making a point of diversifying my collection. It’s easy to wind up with more white dolls if you’re buying all the AG historic dolls because they aren’t the most diverse bunch. So my goal is to be even –not accurate to the ratio of the world, but at least an opportunity for me to learn and appreciate more beautiful cultures.
So first step with #49 was figuring out: who could be born with this beautiful coloring? An answer (I won’t say the only one, but the answer that drew me the most) is Persians! Ok, so she was going to be Iranian, I decided, an opportunity to learn more about a country that the western world has really skewed our understanding of, and so it was time to learn more about her.
First actually came her religion. My husband has recently started tutoring an Iranian student who’s family is Bai’ah. I’m still learning more about it (I only vaguely remembered a mention of it from my world religions class years ago), but the basic: it’s a religion founded in the 18th century in Persia, but it incorporates beliefs that are much older. They believe that there is one God and that all religions actually come from the same spiritual source, and that each prophet has essentially brought what message the world needed at that time. They also believe in unity and equality of all people. It’s tolerant to its core, and yet despite that is scorned in Iran.
This sounded like a great opportunity to include more religious diversity in my collection. So then onto some basic details about her. Of course she and her family immigrated from Iran to the US. The large wave of Iranian immigrants came 1940s-1970s so I think she probably already has some family here, but also has that experience of being caught between two worlds. Learning about Iranian-Americans, they as a whole are remarked upon as being highly educated and talented. I decided her father is a doctor and her mother is a mathematician and college professor. She has two brothers, one older and one younger.
Next came her name. I researched Persian names, recalling some of the names of people I met when I was in Azerbaijan years ago. Layla is a beautiful name from that time, and I liked Neda but probably too close to Nina (and now Nanea as well!), and Nasrin. But ultimately the name that stuck was Parisa, “like a fairy.”
It has an added bonus of sounded a bit like Paris, since Parisa quickly let me know that she is my fashion doll. She was actually a display doll before I purchased her online, so she had a model past before she retired to me house. Now she’s interested in fashion, yes, but especially historical fashions and costume in cinema and theater. Her dream is to win an Oscar for costumes, and she watches movies just for the wardrobes. This creates some conflict with her family, who try to be supportive but also feel like she’s wasting her talents by not pursuing something more academic. A girl’s gotta have some obstacles!
Of course there’s still plenty more for me to learn about Parisa. But I’m excited to welcome her to the family, and even more excited to have someone to watch period films with and salivate over the costumes with. Welcome home, Parisa!