So, I happened to be at the bank the other day, and as I was waiting for the teller to finish my transaction, I looked out the window and saw the Goodwill across the street. This is not a Goodwill I normally go to, since they don't have a particular good doll selection. They have a big toy aisle, but very few dolls. Just about every time I've stopped in, I've been disappointed. Well, not this time! Since I had a few minutes before I needed to be home, I decided to just "run in real quick and check". I'm so glad I did, because this is what I found:
AZIZA, a 14" Global Friends Doll!
I had never heard of these dolls before. I didn't recognize her marks, but her face really reminded me of another doll, but I wasn't sure who. I could tell by holding her that she was nice quality. Her all vinyl body is heavy and smooth, she has inset eyes, and a nice wig. Her original outfit looked to be complete and was nicely made with no Velcro--everything fastens with snaps.
Her little face is nicely sculpted with a sweet expression. The more I looked at her, the more I couldn't get that nagging feeling out of my head that she reminded me of another doll!
The first thing I did upon arriving home was to look up "Global Friends" dolls on the internet. There's not a lot of information, but I did find a couple of sites where I gleaned the following:
The first dolls came out in 1997. I believe there were 13 different dolls, all made to represent different nationalities. My Aziza represents a girl from Egypt. I have since discovered that she is missing her headpiece. This is what it looked like:
You could also buy extra accessories for these dolls...Aziza had a tent, among other things!
Here is an advertisement showing Gretchen (Germany), Mei Ling (China), Marissa (America), and Aku (Kenya)
And here are Aziza, Emily (East Coast, USA) Elizabeth (England) and Camina (Brazil)
There are five others I couldn't find an advertisement for: Jody (America), Katrina (Russia), Clio (France), Briana (Midwest America), and Mariko (Japan)
Apparently, McCall's even put out a pattern of clothing for these dolls:
And DOLL WORLD Magazine featured them on their front cover in October 1999:
I would really like to get a copy of this issue so that I can read the article. Ebay has one listed, but I'm debating whether or not I want it bad enough to pay the $7 plus $4.50 shipping they want for it. I really like the cover doll...I believe this is Mariko. I love Asian dolls!
Here is a back view of Aziza's costume. It is nice quality and closes with snaps.
Side profile. Her bangs didn't want to lay down. I suppose her original headpiece solved that problem, but without it I guess I'll have to contend with flyaway hairs!
She has a heart embossed on her upper chest.
I started getting curious about how this doll might compare in size to another 14" doll I own--Hearts 4 Hearts Dell. So here they are, side by side:
While they are the same height, you can see right away that Dell has a much larger head and her torso is much narrower. I was curious to see if Aziza could wear a dress that I made for Dell:
Looks pretty good from the front...
But the back is another issue! Aziza is a full 1 1/2" larger in her chest measurement than Dell, so there was no way that dress was going to close!
These dolls are clearly marked on their upper backs
One thing I really like about these dolls is that their legs don't splay open too wide when put in a seated position, unlike the Hearts 4 Hearts girls:
Here you can see the huge difference in how their legs are articulated.
I finally stumbled across an article on the internet which solved the mystery of why these dolls look so familiar to me...it is suggested that they were sculpted by Robert Tonner! Tonner sculpted the Magic Attic Dolls, and I think the Global Friends look very similar. Whether or not this is actually true I don't know for sure, but it does make perfect sense to me.
Here is a website where I found quite a bit of information about these dolls, in case you are interested in reading more: http://dollation.com/dollipedia/brand/global-friends
I don't know what caused the demise of these dolls, or why I had never heard of them before. Maybe it's because they were in direct competition with the American Girls, and we all know what a monopoly that AG has had on the doll community for quite some time! Global Friends originally cost $59 a doll--quite a sum back in the 90's when an AG could be purchased for about $30 more. And the AGs had so many accessories and clothing items available that most other dolls did not. So maybe the timing just wasn't right for Global Friends. However, I have noticed a trend recently towards smaller dolls, so maybe they are becoming more popular again? I do like that they are a bit smaller and don't take up as much room.
Global Friends can now only be purchased on the secondary market. Ebay has a few, but not many. I feel fortunate that I was able to find mine at Goodwill with a $4.99 price tag. But now that I have her, I'd love to be able to find a few more examples of this cute little doll!