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CBC News Radio: Metro Morning Feature

I am thrilled to share that I was recently featured on CBC News Radio Metro Morning segment with veteran radio host Jill Dempsey. During the segment, we discussed my journey in creating a new line of diverse Asian dolls called Joeydolls, and what Asian representation means for me, my family, and the community. This was so timely as it was during Asian Heritage Month in Canada and Asian American and Pacific Islanders Month in the United States.

As a mom based in Toronto, I was inspired to create Joeydolls after witnessing the rise of racism and colorism during the pandemic. Growing up, I never felt that the dolls available on the market represented me or my family. This lack of representation was especially apparent during the pandemic, when there was a surge in hate crimes against Asian Canadians. I wanted to take action by creating my own line of dolls that celebrate diversity and inclusivity.

Joeydolls is a brand of diverse Asian dolls designed to reflect the beauty and diversity of the Asian community. The dolls are available in a range of skin tones and are dressed in traditional cultural clothing. During the interview with Jill Dempsey, I emphasized the importance of representation and how seeing dolls that don’t look like you can have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem and confidence.

Since launching Joeydolls, I have received positive feedback from customers who appreciate the representation and diversity of the dolls. I hope that Joeydolls will continue to inspire and empower children of all backgrounds.

Looking to the future, I plan to expand the Joeydolls line to include more diverse dolls that reflect other cultures and communities. I also hope to continue to raise awareness about the importance of representation and inclusivity in children’s toys and media.

Overall, being featured on CBC News Radio Metro Morning segment was an incredible opportunity to share my story and vision for Joeydolls. I am grateful for the support and look forward to continuing to make a positive impact in the world of diversity and inclusivity!

Listen to the CBC News Radio Metro Morning Segment:

Metro Morning – May 2, 2023: This photographer created a brand of diverse dolls after seeing racism, colourism rise during the pandemic

Full Transcript:

Jill Dempsey 0:00
When it comes to different ethnicities being represented in toys, there’s more variety now than ever before. But my next guest found that major cultures are still missing. Samantha Ong is a mom in the city, she’s created a new line of diverse Asian dolls called Joeydolls, featuring six different Asian cultures. And she’s with me in studio, Samantha. Good morning.

Samantha Ong 0:23
Hi, Jill. Thanks for having me.

Jill Dempsey 0:24
I see your whole family of dolls laid out on the table before you? Where did you come up with the idea to create these beautiful creatures?

Samantha Ong 0:32
Yeah, so it really came about during the pandemic, I was at home, I was stuck at home actually, I was a wedding photographer, so I wasn’t able to work. And so I stuck at home with my daughter. And I was watching the news unfold, and seeing the rise of anti aging hate. And it was really seeing the world through her eyes. And that’s when I became really fearful of the world that she would grow up in. And I just didn’t want her to feel not worthy, or not be scared of who she she, how she loved who she is. And so that’s when you know, we were stuck in lockdown. We couldn’t play with anyone. So I really was looking for a companion for her. And I was looking for dolls out there that would help her feel confident in who she is. And and so I started to look at various dolls out there. And I just didn’t find something that I felt comfortable for her to play with. Why not? Yeah, so what I found out there was that they will often fair skinned with just black hair. And I just personally didn’t connect with that the dollars myself. And it really brought back my experience of being pregnant with her. And where people would say things like, Oh, I really hope that your daughter is born with fair skin, like your husband, and I just didn’t want her to feel, you know, less than or what, you know, not as worthy because of the skin color that she had or you know where she came from. So that’s when I was around the time when she was one years old. And we would put her in her her Chinese outfit and her Korean outfit her traditional outfits. And I thought why don’t we celebrate our culture through dolls. And so this is where the idea came about?

Jill Dempsey 2:17
What makes your dolls different from other Asian dolls that are on the market?

Samantha Ong 2:22
Yeah, so exactly that. So I really wanted to celebrate the various cultures. In Asian, the community itself. You know, there’s 49 Different countries out there so many languages, traditions. Like there’s this, we have such a diverse community. And I just felt that the Dalits out there weren’t representative of who we are, and our differences and the beauty

Jill Dempsey 2:46
in the way they looked in the way they dress.

Samantha Ong 2:49
Absolutely. And so, you know, it really was heartwarming, just even recently, my daughter, she picked up this Korean doll. And she looked at it and she immediately said, Oh my gosh, this looks like Jasmine. And that’s my youngest daughter. And we had recently put her in her Korean outfit. And I thought that is exactly what I want. I want her to be able to connect with these dolls in a way that she sees herself sees her daughter, Sarah sister. And not only that, she also picked her up and said, she looks like a princess. And that was so heartwarming for me. Because I remember when I was growing up, I didn’t feel like I could be a princess. I didn’t feel like I could be you know, an actress or someone prominent in society.

Jill Dempsey 3:39
What kind of doll did you play with?

Samantha Ong 3:41
Yeah, so good question. Yeah. When I was growing up, there was definitely not these types of dolls out there. You know, there were like blonde dolls with fair skin. And that sort of really impacted how I was growing up. I’ve always felt like I was meant to be on the sidelines, I didn’t see myself represented. I was always envious of my classmates who were blonde. So I really hope that these dolls will make an impact and you know how children see themselves?

Jill Dempsey 4:11
What reaction have you got from people who have seen the dolls for the very first time? Oh, yeah,

Samantha Ong 4:16
Absolutely. So especially on Instagram and social. I’ve had so many responses and gratitude to be able to really represent the different cultures, especially in the southeast, where they’re often underrepresented. And even just seeing the various skin tones being able to celebrate the variety of skin tones that we have. It’s not a monolith. Right. Exactly, exactly. And that’s exactly what I wanted to create more awareness and education about through these dollars in a fun, playful way.

Jill Dempsey 4:49
Well, I think you did that.

Samantha Ong 4:50
Oh thank you so much.

Jill Dempsey 4:52
Thank you for coming in.

Samantha Ong 4:53
Oh, absolutely. Thank you.

Jill Dempsey 4:54
This morning, we’ve been talking to Samantha Ong. She is the founder and CEO of Joeydolls. Her new line of diverse Asian dolls will officially launch next week.

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