EDIT: this doll is not Grace, but rather newcomer Maryellen.
Grace Maryellen is supposed to be a 1950's girl with red hair and a bunch of cutesy little retro style dresses, all of which I think are adorable. I'm particularly relieved that so far, a poodle skirt has not made an appearance. I've seen many 50's-themed dolls during my lifetime, and a great many of them have poodle skirts. Don't believe me? Check out these:
I admit that that last one is supposed to be a Halloween costume, but it has a poodle skirt so it counts. There's also this Barbie that Frannie (author of Thrift Store Dolls) found, and Peggy Sue from Paradise Galleries, and...oh, when I googled "dolls in poodle skirts" there must've been a thousand images of OOAK sock-hopper dresses. Now, I like poodle skirts. I had one when I was a little kid, and I own a couple of dolls that wear them (including Peggy Sue). I just think it's an overused concept to put fifties-era dolls in those, so I'm glad that Maryellen doesn't wear one (that I know of). (EDIT: she does now, and it's pink. Bummer.)
So I've been seeing stuff like that for oh, I'd say three months, give or take. Then earlier this evening I saw a leaked picture of a little brunette who was ALSO named Grace (ANOTHER EDIT: this turned out to be the real Grace). I had a picture up, but I've since learned that it's ILLEGAL to share leaked material like that, so I took it down. Heck, maybe the above stuff is illegal too. Go figure. If you know for sure give me a holler and I'll fix it. Anyway, the doll was labeled as the 2015 Girl of the Year...and her name is also apparently Grace. She's a pretty far cry from Maryellen, whom I originally thought was Grace! She had short brown hair and what appeared to be blue eyes. She was cute enough...but she looked familiar! It turns out that I'm not the only one who thought that, either; I've seen some folks draw comparisons to Chrissa Maxwell, one of the 2009 Girls of the Year. Chrissa and her two dolly companions dealt with bullying but brought little new to the table other than a new head mold. Will Grace look like Chrissa? Well...you can't tell me, but I thought there was a pretty big similarity. Here's Chrissa in doll form:
Same hair color, same eye color, similar hairstyle...long sigh. I don't like Chrissa much, though admittedly I do like her more than Isabelle. I mean, the doll herself was fine, but the whole collection that year was a bit boring. There were three dolls available, but only two extra outfits...and both of those were meant for Chrissa. Sonali and Gwen got left in the lurch. Given the bulk of stuff released for Isabelle (none of which I liked enough to get), I doubt that Grace will be left to go without. It's just the lack of originality that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Plus, and I hate pulling the race card, but if Grace is indeed the Girl of the Year, that will make four white dolls in a row. I'm NOT going to go as far as some of my fellow bloggers and say it's outright racist, but it IS a mega-disappointment. I'd love to see a little black doll with reddish hair like Tyra Banks sometimes has, or maybe a little Inuit doll like Maplelea's Saila Qilavvaq (I think Saila is adorable, by the way). Hey, Alaska is part of America too! I know that AG had Minuk available a few years back, but she wasn't a plaything.
Seeing as it's still 2014, and as we haven't really seen anything official yet, AG 2015 is still a big question mark. I just hope she doesn't end up looking like Chrissa. As for Maryellen, I think she's cute as a bug's ear, but I'm more excited for her clothes. If she's released and I choose to get some of her clothes, they will likely go to either Molly or to my OG girl Sadie. Hey, at least it would coordinate with the new retro stuff that OG has been releasing!