Palm Beach Lea
DOLL'S NAME: Lea
I own several dolls with this face, including one (Keiko) who has made several appearances here in the past. The face was initially used for two friends of Barbie named Kayla and Lea, but other characters use it as well. This is the first doll I saw with the face, being a member of the Palm Beach Barbie line. This particular doll is obviously supposed to look Asian, but the Kayla/Lea head can be any race one chooses. She makes a good black doll, and a good Latina, and good white chick. The Fashionistas line appears to be fond of this head; I've seen several with it, and I even own one. This is Fashionistas #19 Ruby Red Floral, but I just call her Junko.
Western Fun Nia
DOLL'S NAME: Imelda
Imelda's hair has seen better days, but her facepaint is intact so here she is. Unlike the Kayla/Lea head, this one is almost exclusively for Oriental dolls. She had two names, Kira for North America, Marina for Europe. I'm not going to lie; I like the name Marina better. Regardless of the name this has always been one of my favorite heads. I only owned one Kira as a child (Sun Jewel Kira), and I still only have a few, two of which happen to be the same doll. Yep, I own two Very Velvet Kira dolls, one with shorn hair and one that's almost all-original.
Mutya Barbie...and she has teeth showing!!! What a beauty Mutya is, though! This head needs a playline revival in the Fashionistas line.
DOLL PICTURED: Butterfly Art Barbie
DOLL'S NAME: Madeline, or "Maddie"
First of all...FIRST WAVE DOLL!!! She has the tattoo on her tummy and everything. That being said, I started seeing Mackie dolls when I was about eight. The head got its start on those crazy-expensive dolls that Bob Mackie designed, but later started popping up on playline dolls as well. Bead Blast Barbie is my personal favorite of these, but it's hard to pick just one when there are so many nice ones out there. The Mackie head was used heavily during the Fashion Fever years, and during the Barbie Basics era, and it still appears on the more affordable collector dolls, like the Christmas dolls. I only have four Mackie dolls, and of those four I could only find and photograph Maddie (above) and Cherry, a rebodied Christmas doll.
For some reason Cherry has a Stardoll body. Remember those, the ones that had no joints at the hips? Yeah...I'm going to have to fix this somehow. eBay might have a spare Made to Move body somewhere.
DOLL PICTURED: So In Style Baby Phat Grace
DOLL'S NAME: Grace
This face is used almost exclusively for black dolls, though I have seen one Latina with this face. I didn't like the first doll with this face, but it's since grown on me and become one of my favorites. The Mbili face can look approachable and fun-loving like Grace, or focused and ambitious like Chandra...
...or innocent like Trichelle...
...or edgy and fierce like China.
I like the detail in this face as well; if you look closely it's possible to see laugh lines and other contours that a real face has. I've heard collectors complain that the Mbili head is overused, and this may be a valid claim since I see it in every major Barbie line that Mattel uses. Basics, LOOK, and Fashionistas all use this face heavily, and I have so many that I can't show them all here without making this post crazy-long. I do love the face, though. It's very versatile, which may explain why Mattel uses it so heavily.
DOLL PICTURED: Life in the Dreamhouse Raquelle
DOLL'S NAME: Raquelle
I'm pretty sure that this one is a one-off; after the Dreamhouse line ended I never saw it again. I can understand why since it's pretty character-specific, but I still think it's a shame to only use it once or twice. Dolls with lopsided smiles are not particularly common inside or outside the Barbie world; Raquelle and her Dreamhouse compadre Teresa both had cockeyed grins, and My Twinn had a couple of heads, but that's it! I love the goofy snarkiness of this face, by the way. It's perfect for Raquelle's role as the show's "antagonist," of sorts.
DOLL PICTURED: Cool Times Midge
DOLL'S NAME: None yet. I tend to call all my Midge dolls "Midge" for some strange reason.
The Steffie head goes back quite a way; I think 1971 was the year that the first doll was released. The character herself didn't live too long, only seeing three incarnations (Busy Steffie, Talking Busy Steffie, and Walk Lively Steffie). The head though...it's been around a lot. Midge has used it twice so far, first in the late eighties (seen above) and again in the Dreamhouse line. Christie, Teresa and P.J. used this face, as did a long list of short-lived characters and Barbie herself. Pilar, below, is an All-American Teresa.
It saw usage in the Barbie Basics line, and the entire Birthstone Beauties line was comprised of Steffie dolls. Like the Kayla/Lea head this head is very versatile, lending itself ton all the main races at will. Given the wide array of head molds used in the Fashionistas line, I'm surprised that no Steffie has cropped up there yet. Maybe I just need to be more patient. Either way I'm extremely fond of this head and I never pass up an opportunity to add another one to my collection.
DOLL PICTURED: Fashionistas #57 Zig and Zag, curvy
DOLL'S NAME: Deborah, usually shortened to "Deb."
This is apparently a newly introduced head, so new that I don't know the name of it, or even if it IS named. I didn't like it at first, but as you can see it grew on me. It's the lip color that I don't love, and I apparently am not alone in thinking that. I lack the ability to repaint doll faces, so my doll is stuck with that pink crap for now. I'm looking forward to seeing what else Mattel may do with this head, though.
And there is your random load of dolly blather! LOL, sometimes I get the mood to post something for the sheer pleasure of it, and this is one of those posts. I make no guarantee that you'll learn anything, but I do hope you'll enjoy my pictures...even if they are poorly lit.