Saturday, November 12, 2022

I'm a Wow Dolls by I'm a Girly

When I interrupted my 14-inch comparison series to look at the Honey Bee Acres general store, I figured I'd get right back to the 14-inchers within a week.  But then the DALL-E thing came along, and then I felt like watching Encanto, which led to those reviews, and then more new Monster High dolls were released...and then I adopted an old deaf dog.  So many distractions.  But here we are, seven reviews and more than a month later, and I'm finally back with another 14-inch doll to show you!

This is the sixth doll in the series, and I only have one more left.  I need to finish up so that I can move these girls out of the house.  They're smaller than 18-inch dolls, for sure, but they still take up a lot of space!  I have plans to do a similar series in the 18-inch scale, but--due to space constraints--it'll include fewer comparisons.

I was inspired to write this review back in February when I looked at the 18-inch I'm a Girly dolls.  For me, the big draw with those girls was how ridiculously inexpensive they were on Amazon (between $7.99 and $19.99).  Incidentally, a few of the dolls have increased in price over the last few months, but there are still some good bargains to be found.  At $34.99, the 14-inch dolls are more expensive than their larger cousins--at least with the Amazon prices.

The smaller dolls are called I'm a Wow, which is a more appealing name than I'm a Girly, to me, but it's still an odd brand name.  In fact, the title of this review is a tongue twister that confuses the heck out of me!  Thankfully, this particular I'm a Wow doll has a name, so we can just call her Ava.  Hi, Ava:

I'm a Wow doll, Ava, by I'm a Girly, $34.99.

There are only three I'm a Wow dolls displayed on the I'm a Girly website, but Target has seven different characters for sale at the moment (all of them $34.99).  I like this girl, Amy, with her flowing rainbow dress and teal hair:


But I've learned my lesson with teal hair and so I decided to go with Ava instead.  This is what her promotional photo looks like:


It sure seemed like her pastel hair would come in a fancy French braid, but it actually came in a much simpler style.  That's not a big deal to me since I would have taken the hair down anyway!

Ava arrived in a cardboard box with a wide plastic window:


She features color change hair, which the box claims will turn from light pink to dark purple in the sunlight:


The sides of the box are cardboard, and have some information about the dolls:


The right side of the box advertises how these dolls were designed by kids, which I think is a really cool concept:


The left side of the box has a photograph of three real children with three fake "wow" expressions:


I love color change features, though, so I was prepared to be legitimately wowed.

The back of the box has a photograph of Ava wearing Amy's dress, and more talk about the color changing hair:


At the bottom of the box there's a pair of butterfly wings that are meant to be cut out and attached to the doll:

Really good idea!
If the wings had been perforated at the edges, I might have cut them out and tried them on Ava, but as it is, they looked too difficult to cut with scissors...and I wanted to preserve the box.

Ava was attached to a cardboard backdrop that pulled out of the main box:


She had some loose-fitting plastic ties around her limbs and hair, and a tight-fitting plastic tie that secured the back of her head to a plastic cradle on the backdrop.

Ava balances well on her own, in part thanks to some pretty solid boot-like shoes:


My first impression of Ava is that she's a high-quality doll.  She has a nice weight in my hands, her clothing is attractive (with great texture and bling!), her hair is thick and pretty, but her face doesn't really grab me:

That's a large forehead.
She has a happy expression and endearingly quizzical brows, but something is off.

In profile, Ava's face is even more peculiar:


Here's a closer look:


The most obvious issue is that her lips stick out in an unrealistic way--especially her lower lip.  It's almost like she's pursing her lips to whistle or something, but the shape of her mouth from the front doesn't match that.  Also, the bottom of her jaw is extremely flat, her chin juts out and is too angular for a child, and her large forehead is strangely convex.

Here's the silhouette of a real child's profile for comparison:


 The I'm a Girly dolls also have an unusual profile with a prominent lower lip and jaw:

I'm a Girly doll, Lucy.
But Ava takes that to a whole new level.  Here she is from the left side:


She does have a nice, realistic ear shape, though:


And her hair is really beautiful:

Unicorn hair!
The hair is predominantly pink on top, but it has streaks of white and other pastel shades underneath.  This creates a lovely rainbow effect.

Small sections of hair from either side of Ava's head are pulled back into a single ponytail:


There's a small patch on the left side of Ava's head where the hair fibers are bent forward and part of the scalp is visible:


This wouldn't be a big deal except for the fact that Ava has brightly-colored lines on her scalp--presumably to direct where the strands should be rooted.

These lines are visible wherever the hair is parted, but thankfully the rooting is quite good overall:


But the color of the rooted hair doesn't match the color of the lines, so I'm a little confused about the necessity of these marks.  It would have looked better if the whole scalp was painted white, or a light pastel pink.

The hair is thick and feels nice, but it's nowhere near as shiny or silky as some of the other dolls I've looked at.  Let's put it this way: I don't find myself absent-mindedly stroking Ava's hair.  I suspect that the color-change feature is only possible with certain types of hair fiber.

Ava has some factory flaws on her face.  The first is pretty subtle: the blushing on her left cheek has a line of missing paint through it.  This makes it look like she has two spots of blush with a gap in between:


Maybe it's more obvious in this close-up:


The opposite cheek has only a tiny dot of blush, which doesn't look great, either.  The asymmetry bothers me:


The other defect is in Ava's eyes.  It's hard to see from a distance:


But if you look closely, you can see that there are lines and opacities around the edges of each eye:


Here's the left eye:


Most of the marks are on the inside of the eye--not the surface.  I think those are stress cracks, caused by the eyes not fitting properly into the sockets.  There's also some glue residue on the surface of the eyes.

This is actually the second Ava doll I bought.  The first one had eyes that were even more badly damaged.  I assumed it was a fluke, but apparently not.  I suppose I'll try to replace these eyes at some point, but I'm getting tired of spending $15 on new eyes for dolls that only cost $30!

Ava has simply-painted eyebrows and eyelashes.  The upper eyelashes are very short, and don't even extend past the eyelid crease.  Both the lashes and the brows are painted in the same light neutral brown color:


Ava's lips are painted in a bright (unnatural) coral color, and there's a scratch of missing paint on the lower lip:


This doll could really benefit from a makeover, but since I'm not crazy about the face mold, I'm not sure I'll put in the effort.

I tied Ava's hair back into a thick ponytail so that I could get some clear pictures of her sparkly outfit:


She's wearing a silver sequin-covered tee shirt over a peach skirt with a tulle overlay.  She has glitter-caked sneakers on her feet:


The skirt slides on and off with the help of an elastic waistband, and the tee shirt has a velcro closure:


The shirt looks really great.  The sequined fabric is delicate, but it's sewn onto a much thicker, stiff, crinkly white fabric that feels durable:


Here's a closer look at the sequin pattern:


One down side is that the long chains of sequins are secured with a single thread, so if that thread were to break, a lot of sequins would fall off.

Here's the inside of the shirt:


The skirt is very pretty, and is super-easy to get on and off:


The tulle and the underlaying peach satin are separate layers:


And the stitching looks secure and reinforced:


I'm not a fan of glitter, but I have to say that these shoes look good with the sequined tee shirt, and the glitter does not shed excessively.


Here are the shoes on their own:


The laces stand out simply because they do not have any glitter stuck to them, nor do the plain white treads:


The clothing is really nice.  The fabrics are interesting and attractive, and the style is youthful and modern.   This is all consistent with the clothing from the I'm a Girly line.  This outfit is also very easy to get on and off, which is not something that has been true of all the 14-inch dolls.

Underneath her clothing, Ava is wearing a pair of plain white underwear:


Her body has a plastic torso and vinyl limbs.  Plastic torsos tend to cheapen the look of a doll, since the plastic has a shiny finish and seldom matches the vinyl perfectly:


Another thing about this plastic torso is that the seam lines are obvious, especially towards the bottom:


The only mark on Ava's back says "made in China."


Ava has five points of articulation, like all of the other 14-inch dolls I've looked at, but she has some nice mobility in her joints.

Her head can tip from side to side:


And can also spin around:


She can look up and down a little bit:


And her arms can lift up a little, too:


Her arms also spin around, as you might expect:


Ava's hips have a decent amount of side-to-side movement:


And while it took me a minute to get her into full front-to-back splits...


She is capable of this position.  However, the angle of her hips and the position of her back leg is strange:

Those are some strange splits.
Ava looks better when she's sitting down, but her legs have to be pretty far apart:


Ava has a fairly generic hand shape (a lot like the American Girl hand shape), but the nails have delicately-painted fingernail tips!


And the toenails are painted, too:


All in all, Ava has a relatively flexible, sturdy-feeling body.  I only wish that her torso wasn't made out of plastic.


I put Ava back into her original outfit for a quick indoor portrait session:


Her hair is really pretty, and I love how there are different colors mixed in underneath the pink.



And her outfit is so fun!


I liked Ava's outfit so much that I purchased an I'm a Wow clothing pack.  This dress is part of the Never Enough Glitter box:


I love the rainbow sequins on this dress!  The whole dress has the same stiff lining as Ava's tee shirt, so it doesn't feel at all soft or flowing, but I think it looks great.

The outfit also comes with this headphone tiara:


This is a fun concept, but the pink glitter falls off in big chunks and gets everywhere.

More than enough glitter.
Still, I only paid $15 for this set, and the dress and shoes alone are worth it (the shoes are the same as the ones that Ava comes with).

Now it's time to look at Ava in comparison to the other 14-inch dolls in this series!

First, here she is next to American Girl's Gwynn Tan:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and American Girl Gwynn Tan (right).
Gwynn is more slender through the waist, hips, and limbs than Ava, and a little bit shorter, too.  Ava's plastic torso sticks out like a sore thumb in that photo (at least to me).  I think they both have nice skin tones.  The red hues in Ava's complexion go well with her pink hair.

Ava is the more flexible of these two dolls, though. The extra movement in all of her joints makes her easier to pose and balance than Gwynn.

Despite their small differences in size, these two dolls can share some items of clothing.  Gwynn's outfit is pretty tight on Ava, and the skirt is really short:


You can see that the puffed sleeves of the sweater can't puff up much because of the tight fit, and also the velcro seam in back is under some stress:


The shoes probably only fit because of how soft and pliable they are.  Look at how Ava's toes are straining against the imitation leather:


I love how the colors of Gwynn's outfit go with Ava's hair, though!  I think this outfit looks better on Ava than it does on any of the other dolls.  The color combination suddenly makes sense to me:


Ava's clothing fits Gwynn really well.  It's a little bit loose, but the larger size makes the pieces that much easier to put on and take off.  I think Gwynn looks great in this outfit, too!


She looks more like a WellieWisher here.

Ava's shoes are way too big for Gwynn, though.  They threaten to fall off whenever her feet are lifted:


Here are the two dressed dolls together:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and American Girl Gwynn Tan (right).
Gwynn is a nicer doll overall.  She has a much more appealing face, and her hair is really silky and smooth...although it can't change color in the sun.  Both dolls have good outfits, but Ava's clothing is easier to use and is more versatile.  I like Ava's top and skirt better than Gwynn's, but Gwynn's shoes are nicer than Ava's.

Next, here's Ava with Madame Alexander's Kindness Club Emmi:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Kindness Club Emmi (right).
Emmi is so pale that she makes a lot of dolls look darker than they are, but Ava definitely has a medium skin tone; she's not in the least bit pale.  A big difference between these two is balance.  Emmi does not balance very well while Ava is solid on her feet--probably because her body is heavier, and she has that extra side-to-side movement in her hips.  I feel like Emmi has a more realistic body shape, though.  Their proportions are similar, but Emmi's torso is a bit longer than Ava's, and her feet are narrower.

Ava can wear Emmi's outfit, and it looks better on her than it does on most dolls.  That pink hair is a real asset!


The shoes are very tight, though, especially with the socks in place:


Ava's outfit looks great on Emmi, and it fits well, too:


The top is a little short, but it's hard to notice that unless Emmi raises her arms:


Ava's boots are big on Emmi, too:


I was so pleased with how Ava's outfit looked on Emmi, I tried her in the Never Enough Glitter dress, too:


I love this dress!  It really suits Emmi.  The blue sequins match the streak in her hair really well:


Emmi is a much better doll when she's not wearing her original outfit.


Here are Ava and Emmi back in their own clothes:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Kindness Club Emmi (right).
It's amazing to me how much better Emmi looks in the I'm a Wow clothes.  Her dress is such a liability, and the I'm a Wow clothing is a big part of that brand's appeal.  I like that Ava has a happy expression, but I definitely prefer the Madame Alexander face.  Both dolls have face paint that is less than ideal, but they also both have nice hair.  The hair is very different, as I mentioned before; the I'm a Wow hair is not as silky or smooth, although it has a satisfying weight and thickness, plus a fun color change feature.

Since Kindness Club Avi worked her way into this discussion a while ago, I'll include a comparison photo of her with Ava, too:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Kindness Club Avi (right).
With the outfits on a more equal footing, it's easy to say that Madame Alexander Avi is the nicer of the two dolls.  I only wish she could balance and pose as well as Ava.

Next, here's Ava with the New York Doll Collection's Glamour Girlz doll, who I named Ellery.  I swapped Ellery's factory eyes for some green glass replacements:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Glamour Girlz Ellery (right).
Ellery is shorter and more petite than Ava (especially in her arms!).  She doesn't balance as well as Ava, and I don't like her body shape quite as much, but at least she has a vinyl torso.  I also prefer Ellery's molded underwear to Ava's removable (and therefore losable) fabric undergarment.

Ellery's stain-inducing red dress is very short on Ava, and the sleeves stop well above her wrists:


Ava is barefoot here because Ellery's stiff black boots don't even come close to fitting.

I can't say that this dress does anything for Ava:


On the other hand, Ava's outfit looks wonderful on Ellery!


I think this is going to be an outfit that looks good on everybody.

As we saw with Gwynn, the fit is a bit loose, but the skirt stays in place and both pieces are easy to get on and off.


Ava's shoes are massive on Ellery, though.  Look at how small her foot is in comparison to the silhouette of the shoe!


Here are the two dolls back in their original clothing:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Glamour Girlz Ellery (right).
Once again, the clothing makes a huge difference.  Ellery has a sweet face and gorgeous hair, but her outfit is nowhere near as nice as Ava's.  Both dolls came with face paint that I don't love and bad factory eyes.  Someday maybe Ava will get an eye transplant like Ellery's.

Here is Ava next to Adora's Be Bright doll, Alma:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Adora's Be Bright Alma (right).
These two have very similar-looking bodies with the same type of articulation and balance.  They look and behave so similarly, in fact, that when I first saw Ava, I thought she might have the exact same body mold as Alma--with a few small adjustments in things like the underwear.  As it turns out, the two molds are distinct in a lot of little ways.  You can look at the feet, the chest, the hands, the belly...all of these areas are slightly different.  But the size and proportions in the two bodies are equivalent, which only makes Alma's huge head look more bizarre.

Ava can wear Alma's dress, but the more I play with this dress the less I like it.  It's always riding up in the shoulders


The style isn't that attractive to me, and the skirt is very short.


Ava's boots fit Alama, but they're tight and really hard to get off.  I almost thought they were going to be stuck permanently on Ava's feet!

But of course Ava's clothes look awesome on Alma:


They even work with that teal hair!


Here are the two dressed dolls together:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Be Bright Alma (right).
This is the first case where I like everything about Ava more than the doll I'm comparing her to.  Her outfit is much more attractive and fun, her shoes are easier to use, her face is more appealing and better-proportioned, and her hair is nicer...and goes with more outfits!  Both dolls have less-than-ideal eyes (Ava's mostly because of the cracks), but I feel confident about being able to replace Ava's eyes, given the experience I had with the I'm a Girly dolls.

The last comparison I want to show you is between Ava and my Battat Glitter Girl, Odessa:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Glitter Girl Odessa (right).
Both of these dolls have a shiny plastic torso, but that's where the similarities end.  Odessa is more slender throughout her entire body, and has bendable vinyl limbs with an internal wire armature.  This gives her a lot more posing potential than Ava.  However, Odessa has the worst balance out of the whole group, and Ava has the best.

As you might expect, Odessa's outfit is tight on Ava...but it does fit:


There's stretch in the fabric of Odessa's shirt and in the waistband of her skirt, so Ava even has some freedom to move around!


The shoes are way too tight, though.

Ava's outfit is loose on Odessa, but it still works:


And looks fantastic:

Of course it does.
The shoes are really loose, but they look fine:


Here are the two dolls back in their own outfits:

I'm a Wow Ava (left) and Glitter Girl Odessa (right).
Odessa's ensemble was one of my favorites going into this review, but Ava's skirt and top are even better.  I love the versatile colors and how easy the pieces are to use.  Ava also feels like a more high-quality doll overall.  She's solid on her feet and has a nice weight.  I prefer Odessa's sweet face and face paint, though, and even though her eyes are wonky, at least they don't need to be replaced.

Here are all six of the dolls in this series together without their clothing:


The three shiny plastic torsos stand out to me in this picture--especially Ava's, for some reason.  Ava's skin tone is also interesting.  It's quite unique, with a lot of red undertones.  And Ava and Emmi are the only two without molded underwear.

Here's everybody again with their clothing:


Ava's outfit really stands out to me in this photo, as does her colorful hair.  If I had 30 seconds to grab one of these dolls, I'd still probably pick Gwynn or Odessa.  But Ava's outfit and hair are definitely making it harder.

Let's see how Ava shakes up the lists!

Price (MSRP)
1. Odessa (Battat): $20.99 (seen on sale for $13.49).
2. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): $30.99 (seen on sale for $23.39).
3. Ava (I'm a Wow): $34.99 (never seen on sale).
4. Alma (Adora): $49.99 (seen on sale for $26.83).
5. Emmi and Avi (Madame Alexander): $59.95 (seen on sale for $32.50).
6. Gwynn (American Girl): $65 plus shipping (seen on sale for $52 plus shipping).

Outfits
1. Ava (I'm a Wow): I really love this outfit.  It's easy to use and looks great on everybody!  The shirt is stiff, but it feels durable.
2. Gwynn (American Girl): this outfit isn't my personal style, but it has the most intricate and diverse pieces and is well made with high-quality fabrics.  But it's really hard to use, and the skirt is starting to come apart.
3. Odessa (Battat): I love the style of this outfit, and it has a great mix of patterns, textures, and colors, but the construction could be more robust and the shoes are too loose.
4. Alma (Adora): the outfit is simple, with only a dress and boots. This dress is well-made and durable.  The style is a little bland and might get dated, but it suits Alma and doesn't clash with her hair.
5. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): I love the idea of this dress, but the execution is poor. There's a defect in the front embellishment, and the red color causes staining.  The boots are also hard to use.
6. Emmi (Madame Alexander): this outfit is made well enough, but it's generic and has no personality.  Also, the sash on my doll's dress isn't sewn thoroughly.  Furthermore, the socks are weird and the shoes do not fit without socks.  *Avi's outfit is way better than Emmi's, and better-made than Odessa's, so it would have earned third in this category.

Hair
1. Emmi (Madame Alexander): her hair feels amazing. It could be rooted better, but the center part is nice and it's easy to style the hair in ponytails. I wish there was no streak of color since it doesn't match the outfit.  *Avi would also win this category.  Furthermore, her hair has more body than Emmi's and so I don't notice any problem with the rooting.
2. Ava (I'm a Wow): this hair is nowhere near as silky-smooth as the other dolls' hair, but it's thick and full, and the combination of colors is beautiful.  The color change feature, which I'll show you in a sec, is also very fun.
3. Odessa (Battat): her hair isn't quite as sleek as some of the other dolls, but the rooting isn't obvious.  Also, I really like the natural color with subtle highlights.
4. Gwynn (American Girl): this hair also feels great, but the short length and wig stitching can limit styling options.  Also: bangs.
5. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): yet again, the hair feels amazing.  It's also a beautiful color, but the rooting is thin.
6. Alma (Adora): this hair feels great, too!  It can look and feel a bit greasy, though, and the thin rooting does not help.  The color is unique, but clashes with a lot of clothing.

Face
1. Gwynn (American Girl): she has a sweet face that is painted well, but I wish there was more detail around her eyes--they can look vacant.
2. Emmi (Madame Alexander): she has the classic Madame Alexander features that I love, and nice realism, but her face paint is too bright and her vinyl is too pale.  *Avi would win this category.
3. Odessa (Battat): she has stylized features and slightly wonky eyes, but I like her bright expression and her applied lashes.
4. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): she has a nice, serene face mold that is painted badly.  Her factory eyes are also too pale and vacant.
5. Alma (Adora): she has natural face paint, sparkling eyes, and a sweet smile, but her head is way too big and the detail in her irises is not realistic.
6. Ava (I'm a Wow): her profile is extremely strange and both of her eyes came with obvious stress marks around the edges.  She has minimal eye paint, a defect in her blushing, and an unnatural lip color.

Body
1. Odessa (Battat): This was hard!  She has that ugly plastic torso, but her head and limb movement is so fun.  More articulation = more personality.  However, her balance is not very good and the limbs can look strange when they're bent.
2. Emmi (Madame Alexander): I like the flexible soft vinyl and the realistic body shape and proportions, but I don't like the opaque, overly-bright skin tone or the bad balance. Also, she doesn't share clothes as easily with other 14-inch dolls.  *Avi's vinyl color is much better than Emmi's
3. *tie* Alma (Adora): I had a change of heart here.  This body, despite the unattractive plastic torso, is very flexible and fun to play with.  I only wish she could share clothes as well as some of the others.
3. *tie* Ava (I'm a Wow): basically the exact same assessment as with Alma.
4. Gwynn (American Girl): she has a lovely skin tone, and the vinyl is high-quality, but the body is very rigid and the head is always looking up.
5. Ellery (New York Doll Collection): she has strange proportions and bad balance.  Her head is always looking down.

Here are my current overall rankings
1. Avi (Madame Alexander)
2. Odessa (Battat)
3. Gwynn (American Girl)
4. Ava (I'm a Wow)
5. Emmi (Madame Alexander)
6. Ellery (New York Doll Collection)
7. Alma (Adora)

As always, I'm curious to know how Ava changes your own rankings!

For Ava's outdoor photographs, I was lucky enough to be at a beautiful garden in New York.  I was also lucky enough to photograph her on a sunny day, when her light pink hair turned magically into bright purple!


The change happened almost immediately, and lasted only as long as Ava was in the direct sun.


It's really fun to see how she looks with a different hair color--without having to change a wig or anything like that!


Here's the hair from the back:


Something that's not advertised on the box is that not only does the majority of the hair turn from light pink to purple, but the little streaks of color change, too!


The hair on this doll is really fantastic.

Ava explored around in the sunshine for a little while, taking in the huge meadow surrounded by trees:



(Notice that I never photograph her in full profile.)


Many of the plants were starting to show signs that winter is coming, but Ava still found a few late blooms:


She felt pretty excited about these small white flowers...


Until she found another clump that miraculously matched her glorious new hair color perfectly:


Bottom line?  It was nice to take a little break from this series, because it allowed me to go back and look at the first five girls with fresh eyes.  For a group of dolls that all share the same basic body type and height, there are so many little differences to consider!  Ava ended up doing better than the pack in some ways, and falling short in others.

Ava has a nice, solid body that balances well.  She also has more freedom in her articulation than many of her counterparts, with extra head movement and some hinge-like flexibility in her limbs.  However, she runs up against a few of the same small problems that I noted with Be Bright Alma.  For example, she has an unattractive, shiny plastic torso, and her body is a little too large to reliably share clothing with the more popular 14-inch dolls like WellieWishers and Glitter Girls.

One advantage that Ava has over Alma is that her head is in proportion to her body.  Unfortunately, the head is also riddled with problems.  I purchased two Ava dolls, and both came with stress cracks at the edges of their eyes.  These defects are not subtle and can be seen without a zoom lens.  In addition, my Ava has lopsided blushing and missing paint in her lips.  Even if the lip paint was perfect, the color is opaque and not very natural.  The eyes and even the face paint could be fixed, for a price, but unfortunately there's nothing to be done about the strange shape of Ava's profile.  Her face is cute and friendly from the front, but from the side, many of the contours (especially those of her lips, forehead, and chin) look disturbingly wrong.

Ava's best features are her outfit and her hair, and they're both top-notch.  The outfit is my favorite in this series so far.  It's attractive, sparkly, well-made, and very easy to slip on and off.  The tee shirt feels more stiff than it looks, but that probably also means it's more durable.  As an added bonus, Ava's shirt and skirt fit (and look great on) every other 14-inch doll I own.  I would happily purchase more clothing from this line.  Ava's hair is also beautiful and fun.  It doesn't feel very silky, but it makes up for that by being thick and long and having a gorgeous mix of colors that all change magically in the sunlight.  I wish the bright rooting lines weren't so visible on the scalp, but these only peek through in one small place on my Ava's head.

I feel like Ava is almost a really incredible doll.  I like so many things about her.  With just a few tweaks to her face and some better-fitting eyes, she could easily have topped my list--especially with her appealing $34.99 price tag.  But I feel like the essence of a doll is in their face--particularly their eyes.  Those are the features that reach into our hearts and make us feel connected.  Unfortunately, no matter what incredible outfit Ava is wearing or how lovely and magical her hair is, I simply cannot connect to her face.  And so I'm left feeling mostly un-wowed.

18 comments:

  1. Oh boy. I have two “I’m a Girly” dolls for switching and customizing, and it was less expensive to buy a whole new doll than a new wig. Right now their prices are all over the place on Amazon. The clothing is always well constructed. But….their faces…first of all, despite all your fabulous photos, I do think they look better in person. I think it has something to do with the lids and folds around their eyes, and the shadows they cast. That said, they have very slowly grown on me but there is something odd about the sculpt.
    So, I was very curious about the I’m a Wow doll and again, the face is odd (again!) to me and both versions of this line have heads seem out of proportion. Her clothes ore mostly great
    This is a wonderful review, as always, and really shows how clothing can make or break a doll. And as someone who sews, It is very helpful to be able to compare doll bodies. Even slight differences, as we can see, affects fit.
    This series has been a lot of fun! I can’t wait to see who is left!—MnGrl.

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    1. Great observations! I think the I'm a Girly dolls are more attractive than the I'm a Wow (because of the face mold), but on the other hand, the Wow dolls have smaller faces, which makes the oddities seem less offensive in real life somehow. I was in a similar boat with the Amazon dolls. I wanted another outfit, and it made more sense to pay $12 for the whole doll rather than search around for an outfit set that might cost $20! And you said it best: the clothing can really make or break a doll.

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  2. I’m back! Would it be possible to shave down her lower lip? And I do love the pink and purple hair 😁 I wonder how long the color-change feature will hold up over time—MnGrl

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    1. Oh, goodness. I'm sure somebody could do a beautiful job of fixing the lip shape, but probably not me. I tried dremeling a My Twinn face once, and the results were catastrophic! But Blythe customizers (as just one example) do this kind of thing all of the time with great results. The Hair is so pretty, right? I sure hope the effect lasts.

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  3. Thank you for another great review! This doll's face is really off-putting to me, though...
    You mentioned that the price tag of the extra outfit was made worth it by the dress and shoes - but I don't think you showed the shoes?

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    1. Hi Jenna, sorry! Yeah, the shoes are the same as the ones that come with Ava. I don't mind the duplicate since the style looks good with both outfits!

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    2. Oh, I see! Thank you for the clarification! :D

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  4. I just really want to say thank you. You don't know me (obviously) but back in the earlier days of your blog the only reason I even stayed alive was for your new posts. I grew in an abusive household and your blog(especially the surprise dolls) gave me something to look forward to. I never had toys growing up, ESPECIALLY dolls... "Those aren't for boys" Getting to read your reviews really gave me a childhood I wouldn't have had otherwise. I'm a junior in college now and the fact that I made it this far is partially thanks to you.

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    1. That’s amazing, you’re really brave. Dolls can bring us so much happiness, even just by talking about them with others on the internet. I’m so glad you are here now to keep enjoying them

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    2. Dear aarien, I'm so sorry that your childhood fun and freedom was stolen from you. But I'm honored and deeply touched that this blog helped in any way. Thank you for telling me that. I admire how you stuck it out and are in college building your future. I wish I could take you out for lunch and buy you a doll! ;) The good thing is, you can make up for lost time; the clock never runs out on playing with dolls or toys. Don't let anyone tell you different. ♥️

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  5. I am so tempted by all these 14 inch dolls, but the lack of articulation really puts me off! I like the size and the appealing youthful faces with fun hair, but I wish they had elbows and knees! The wire-bending doll is the most interesting for me. I know the Ruby Red Fashion Friends have joints, but somehow they seem to be a different ‘category’ of doll. (Possible due to the price and maybe the age range they’re designed for.)

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  6. This doll would greatly benefit from some actual visible lashes.

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  7. I think the biggest part of Ava's problem is the fact that her eyelashes and eyebrows are so pale that they almost don't exist. With some eyelashes glued on, I think she'd look way way better and less alien. I also think maybe the irises of those eyes are too big for the sockets? It's too bad the dolls from this company have such weird face paint colorings. Though, I did purchase a couple more of the 18" versions when they were at their lowest prices, and in comparing them to the ones I already had, I found that some of them had subtler, more natural face paint, so there seems to be a fair amount of variety. Not sure if that's true of the 14" girls, though.

    I really love that outfit, though - both of them. Everyone looks good in it and Ava looks good in (almost) all of the other outfits. I think she's the only doll so far who's actually made Emmi's hideous outfit look good!

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  8. Emily, by the time this review series is over, you will be the world's foremost expert on 14-inch dolls, hahaha! I think Ava has a lot going for her, but I agree with all your points on her face mold (and face defects). What you said at the end of your review about the importance of dolls' faces is so incredibly true! It really is the most important aspect which makes me connect to my dolls. Ava's outfit is great (can't believe how amazing it looks on so many of the other dolls, and how she managed to make the other outfits actually look good, lmao) and her hair is wonderful (the picture with the purple flowers is a piece of art!). Still, I feel like that isn't enough to make up for her somewhat odd appearance. Though their faces are very similar, Lucy looks much better to me, especially with the changes you made to her. I'm interested to see what changes you would make to Ava, but with time never being on your side, I can also imagine you'd rather work on another doll.

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  9. I think the I'm a Girly company has very distinctive face moulds but they really aren't my personal taste in dolls. They obviously put care and thought into the clothes so I would guess that the faces are deliberately quite different to other dolls in the same bracket. The face is a deal-breaker for me in a way that clothes aren't - I can sew nicer ones or find a better outfit from somewhere.

    I think it would be interesting to guess where the budget went on each doll and what the compromises were to fit the price they wanted to sell at. Hard plastic bodies are an obvious compromise, nice clothes and colour changing hair is maybe what the manufacturer picked to focus on.

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  10. I think I don't fit the demographic. The pink hair is a total turn off. I do love Gwynn (not her outfit as much but I mostly buy clothes from etsy anymore). But the dolls that do not come in normal hair colors are not that interesting. It would be neat to have the hair clips to clip in of splashes of color. But that's as far as I can go.

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  11. I'm stuck between the forehead reminding me of Pearl Fey from Ace Attorney and therefore being cute to me or the forehead reminding me of Megamind and therefore making me giggle. her outfit looks great (on everyone! it's like the 18" navy blue Springfield dress of this series), and I wasn't expecting such a dramatic color change with the hair! the butterfly wings on the box are a fun idea too. I might have to check out the fashion packs...

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  12. Ava, uh, scares me. I collect dolls and she's one creepy doll.

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