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CTV News Feature: Diversity and Representation in Toys

Being featured on a renowned news platform is a significant milestone for any business, and for Joeydolls, a company dedicated to creating inclusive and diverse dolls, it was an exhilarating experience. We recently had the opportunity to be featured on CTV News live and be interviewed by the esteemed Angie Seth, a moment that filled them with excitement and a sense of accomplishment. Let’s delve into the details of this thrilling event and the impact it had on Joeydolls’ mission.

Celebrating Diversity Through Joeydolls

As the live segment began on CTV News, shining a spotlight on the importance of representation in children’s toys, Samantha Ong, the owner of Joeydolls, joined Angie Seth for a captivating interview. The excitement was palpable as Samantha shared the story behind the creation of Joeydolls, inspired by her daughter and the need for dolls that truly reflected the diverse identities of children.

Samantha’s Journey:

During the interview, Samantha recounted her journey from being a wedding photographer to becoming an entrepreneur and founder of Joeydolls. She expressed her concerns about the lack of representation in dolls, especially during a time when her daughter needed a friend during the lockdown. It was this realization that sparked Samantha’s idea to create dolls that celebrate diversity through traditional outfits, empowering children to embrace their cultures and identities.

The Impact:

The impact of Joeydolls and their mission to provide inclusive dolls was evident from the overwhelming response they received. Samantha highlighted how the dolls had struck a chord with parents and individuals longing for dolls that represented their own experiences. In just 24 hours after our, Joeydolls sold an impressive 2,200 dolls, a testament to the demand and connection people felt towards these diverse and inclusive toys.

Sparking Conversations:

Beyond the sales figures, Joeydolls sparked important conversations about racism, discrimination, and the need for representation. Samantha emphasized her desire to celebrate individual cultures within Asia, challenging the monolithic narrative often associated with the continent. By spreading love, joy, and celebrating diversity, Samantha hoped that Joeydolls would contribute to a more inclusive and empathetic society.

The Power of Representation:

Samantha’s live interview broadcast on CTV News and the subsequent exposure of Joeydolls served as a powerful reminder of the transformative potential of representation in the toy industry. By giving children dolls that truly reflect their unique identities, Joeydolls is fostering a sense of pride, belonging, and self-confidence. Through these dolls, Samantha aims to rewrite the narrative, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can see themselves as worthy, loved, and capable of achieving their dreams.

A Memorable Experience on CTV News with Angie Seth

Being featured on CTV News and interviewed by Angie Seth was an electrifying experience for Joeydolls. The thrill of sharing their mission and vision with a wider audience filled Samantha and her team with excitement and a renewed commitment to their cause. The positive response from viewers further fueled their determination to create more diverse and inclusive dolls.

The feature on CTV News marked a significant milestone for Joeydolls, solidifying their position as trailblazers in the toy industry. As they continue their journey, the excitement of this achievement serves as a driving force to push boundaries, challenge norms, and spread the message of inclusivity through their joyful dolls. With each doll created, Joeydolls is shaping a world where every child can find a reflection of themselves and feel proud of their unique identities.

Video Transcript:

CTV News 0:00
Coming up next here on this hour shining a spotlight on toys that represent all children will speak with a mom who created a new line of dolls inspired by her daughter at conversation with Samantha Ong, the owner, when we come back

Angie Seth 0:30
Welcome back over to this ours spotlight in our focus is on representation or in many cases, the lack thereof and so many things that we do, including the toys our children play with, as young girls will remember the Barbie dolls we played with blond haired blue eyed fair skin and image many children in this country just cannot relate to. Well, Samantha Ong decided to change that with a version of a doll that looked just like her inspired by her daughter dolls are called Joey dolls. And Samantha joins me now. It’s wonderful to finally see you and meet you.

Samantha Ong 1:02
Hi, there. Thanks for having me.

Angie Seth 1:03
And we can see the dolls there behind you. Take us back to the story that the inspiration behind creating these dolls.

Samantha Ong 1:13
Yeah, so it all started during the pandemic, I was actually a wedding photographer. And so I couldn’t work at the time during lockdown. And so it was really stuck at home being with my daughter. And it was really watching the news unfold and you know, seeing the rise in anti Asian hate. And I just felt like I was felt so worried about the world that my daughter would grow up in. And it was, you know, it was around the time, but I just felt like she needed a friend during the lockdown. And so that’s when I started to look for dolls out there. And I just couldn’t connect with those that were out there. And you know, she was around one years old at the time, so we would put her in her Chinese outfit in a Korean outfit. And I thought why don’t we do this through dolls like we can we celebrate culture through our children, but we don’t do them through our dolls. And so that’s when I really had the idea to create these dolls that celebrate diversity through the traditional outfit.

Angie Seth 2:13
I love it world doll day with Joey dolls and representatives in there. It’s wonderful. And they’re there. And they and you’ve sort of expanded, you know, beyond just you know, the Asian doll that of course you had for her to sort of rep dolls from all over representing them, including you know, the skin tone, the hair, etc. What does it mean to you to be able to give this to your daughter, now something you and I would never have had growing

Samantha Ong 2:40
versions of yeah, when I was looking for dollars that really reflected upon my own experience. And where I was going up with bundles, and I remember being so envious of the dolls are envious of my classmates who are blond and blue eyed. And so I really didn’t want my daughter to feel that same way I really wanted to change that narrative for her. And so that’s why I created these dolls, I wanted her to really feel proud of who she is, I know that, you know, no matter what that she can achieve anything that she wants to she can be whoever she wants to be. I remember when I was growing up, I didn’t have those role models to look up to. I remember feeling that I couldn’t be a princess and I couldn’t be an actress, I couldn’t be anyone of significance in the world. And so I really want her to like look at these dolls, and really feel worthy and loved.

Angie Seth 3:34
Well, they’re beautiful they are and it was just showing some of the footage again, I what captures me as well as the importance of the skin tones, right that we’re we all have the same skin tone, and you’re doing everything you can serve to to meet that need, or at least to reflect on that representation. You mentioned there during COVID Seeing the anti Asian hate. The hate there was against people with color, and people of color. Having this now, what’s the reaction? The response been that you’ve been able to give this to your daughter, but now you’re also providing it to so many others who have been looking for that connection?

Samantha Ong 4:12
Yeah, we’ve had such a good response online. And so we only launched last month and even in 24 hours we sold 2,200 dolls. And I think that just proves the need of the for these dolls, that people connect with them so much. I’ve had so many people reach out to me and say, I really wish I had these dolls when I was a child. Or like they said that they’d been in tears seeing them and that they can’t wait to have them for their own children. And knowing that that could potentially change that narrative for them and the future generation

Angie Seth 4:47
How old is your daughter? Your eldest

Samantha Ong 4:49
My oldest is four now and so I have another daughter she’s about 18 months. And so it’s really special that I have two girls that I’m able to do this school yeah

Angie Seth 5:00
Did she talk to you about the dolls? Like, what? How does she interact with her doll?

Samantha Ong 5:04
Yeah. So when I first started doing them, she couldn’t talk at the time. And I remember just like designing them on the computer. And whenever she saw them, and even though she couldn’t talk, she would always smile and giggle. And now that she can talk, I can really, you know, really know what she feels now. And even the other day, she pointed to the Korean doll, and she said, she, she’s a princess. And I thought, wow, like that is such a narrative change to what I thought as for myself. And so if she could see that these dolls, and also, she also pointed to the doll, and also said that that looked like Jasmine, her youngest sister. So not only does she connect that the doll is a princess, but also that is her youngest sister. And I think that is exactly the reason why I’m doing like making these dolls. Like it has been such a challenge to make these dolls, especially as a mom not knowing anything about the toy industry and not having not having done this before. And I want it to give up so many times, but hearing this feedback directly from her makes me know that this is all going to be worth it.

Angie Seth 6:12
You are now an entrepreneur you on from photographer to entrepreneur, and you’re also bridging and breaking barriers as well. Before I let you go, Samantha, what are you hoping these dolls what kind of conversation they’ll spark around the narrative of racism and discrimination?

Samantha Ong 6:29
Yeah, so the reason why I wanted to celebrate the individual cultures within Asia was that, you know, during the Pentium, I really saw this whole idea of like, you know, the Asian monolith narrative. So I really wanted to change that and show that and prove that Asians really are diverse, that were special. I didn’t want to minimalize our experiences by you know, grouping us all together. And that’s the real reason why I wanted to celebrate the different cultures. And I really do hope that we can do more. And so I created these dolls with these joyful faces. Yeah. Because I really, yeah, I really wanted to spread love and joy, especially all that has been going on in the world in the last couple of

Angie Seth 7:12
years power of representation, as you put it there on the fly, which is amazing. And we’re so happy we got a chance to talk to you. I think it’s adults are wonderful. So congratulations on this. And it’s a great way to spark that conversation and break those barriers. Samantha Ong founder and CEO of Joey doll, Samantha, thank you so much.

Samantha Ong 7:29
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Angie Seth 7:31
You’re very welcome. All right. And that is it for this episode of this hour. Thank you so much for joining me if you didn’t catch the entire show. You can watch the full hour online at CTV news.ca. Keep it here. Top three tonight with Marilla Fernandez is coming up next. And then she says I’ll see you back here again tomorrow night.

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