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Joeydolls Featured on Global News Celebrating Asian Heritage Month

I’m excited to announce that Joeydolls, celebrating Asian diversity, was featured on Global News Toronto during Asian Heritage Month! It was an incredible opportunity to share the story and inspiration behind Joeydolls with a broader audience.

In my interview with Miranda Anthistle, I discussed how Asian Heritage Month has inspired me as a Canadian mother and entrepreneur to create a unique line of dolls in a space where diversity is often overlooked. I founded Joeydolls during the pandemic, driven by the rise in anti-Asian hate. I wanted my daughter to feel proud of her identity, something I didn’t experience growing up.

While searching for toys that represented Asians, I noticed a lack of diversity. Usually, one doll was expected to represent the entire Asian community, but we are so diverse with unique stories, cultures, traditions, foods, and languages. I wanted dolls that reflected this rich diversity.

I launched Joeydolls with six dolls representing Vietnamese, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Korean communities. These dolls highlight the various ethnicities within Asia, showing that we don’t fit under a single broad label. Over the past year, the response has been heartwarming. My daughter, even at a very young age, would giggle and smile at the dolls during the design process, and her joy was exactly what I hoped to inspire.

A particularly touching moment was when she called one of the dolls a princess, a stark contrast to my childhood belief that I couldn’t be a princess or a main character. This narrative change is something I’m thrilled to provide for her and other children. Even though my daughter isn’t Filipino, her favorite doll is the Filipina one, which has helped her learn about different cultures.

I wanted to show the range of skin tones within the Asian community, challenging the idea that lighter skin is better. My daughter’s interest in the darker-skinned Filipina doll reflects this. We’re excited to expand our line to include a Cambodian doll and hope to introduce boy dolls as well. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with families expressing how meaningful it is to see dolls dressed in accurate traditional attire.

Creating Joeydolls has been about spreading joy, celebrating culture, and providing much-needed representation for children.

Watch Joeydolls on Global News for Asian Heritage Month 2024

Joeydolls on Global News Asian Heritage Month 2024 from Joeydolls Co. on Vimeo.

Joeydolls Asian Heritage Month for Global News Transcript

Miranda Anthistle 0:11

Asian heritage month is celebrated in many different ways. And for one Canadian mother and entrepreneur is taking shape in the form of a unique line of dials in a space where diversity hasn’t always been championed. For more on this, we’re joined now by a Samantha Aang, the founder and CEO of Joeydolls. Smith, thank you for speaking with us today.

Samantha Ong 0:32

Hi, there. Thank you so much for having me. Right.

Miranda Anthistle 0:34

So tell us more about Joeydolls. And what led to the creation of them.

Samantha Ong 0:39

Yeah, so it really started off in the pandemic, when I was seeing like the rise in anti ageing, hate and I really wanted my daughter to feel proud of who she is and how she works. It really, when you’re having children, it really struck me how I kind of relive my childhood and how I don’t want that same sort of experience to be for her. So I thought like, I want her to feel proud of who she is. So as I was looking through the toys out there, I realised there wasn’t really much that really represented Asians as well, like the diversity within an Asian community, I found that was always that just one doll that represented the whole community. And but we’re so diverse, we have so many stories to tell, we have so many unique qualities about us that I really want that to be reflected as well as, as well as our culture, that culture is so different, we have so many different traditions, food languages, so much like that should be celebrated. And this is really what I wanted to celebrate throughout dolls.

Miranda Anthistle 1:44

I think that always gets sort of lost in the conversation. Asia is such a huge continent, and there’s so many different communities and countries within it. So can you tell us a little bit more about Joeydolls? You know, which countries do they represent? And do you have plans to add?

Samantha Ong 1:59

Yeah, so I started off with $6. And I really didn’t want it to be a statement to show, you know, how diverse we are that you know, we don’t really fit under this, like broad label of being Asian. And of course, we are part of Asia. But there’s so many different, you know, ethnicities within us. So right now, I started off with six and I really do hope we can do more. But I have the Vietnamese doll, Filipina doll, Chinese doll, Japanese, Indian and Korean. I feel like I I went through so many I think I got them all. Right, Samantha

Miranda Anthistle 2:35

Joeydolls just celebrated its first year. So you know, what have you seen over the last 12 months, in terms of people’s reaction to the dolls as well as your daughter’s reactions? to seeing them?

Samantha Ong 2:47

Yeah, my one really special experience is that even when she couldn’t talk, she would see the dog on the screen. And as I was designing them, she would giggle and smile. And I think that’s exactly what I wanted the adults to create is like this joy in people. And so even, you know, children as young as a she was at the time, she was only around like one years old, she really felt this joy with playing the dog. And even when she got the doll, she actually said, Oh, she looks like a princess. And I thought that is such a narrative change to the experience that I had as a child where I thought like, I couldn’t be an A princess, I couldn’t be someone like on the frontlines. I always thought I was someone that had to be on like on the sidelines, because of you know how I look or you know how I was born. So this is something that I am so happy to be able to change that narrative for her. And even when she has played with adults, and one of her favourite dolls is the Filipina doll. And of course, like when I’m Chinese, Malaysian and my husband’s Korean. And yes, we’re not Filipino. But she really enjoyed that doll. And I think like she’s really learning about the different cultures.

And also another thing is that I wanted to show the different skin tones within the Asian community that we’re all not like bare skin, black hair, that there are different looks to us. And so I really liked that she is really taking an interest in the Philippines, because she is a darker skin tone. And I really hope that we can change that, you know, that narrative of that lighter is better, that all skin tones can be celebrated. And I really do hope that we can continue to provide more representation in the south, southeast Asian communities that we can show. Okay, I wonder that we’re coming up with soon is the Cambodian DOM. And so there’s a lot of excitement with the these dolls, as well as I’m hoping that we can do boy dolls. So I really hope that providing this Additional representation that that will really resonate with people will be able to, you know, spread joy and celebrate culture and really provide that representation that, you know, children need. And I’ve had so many positive feedback so far from families, saying that, you know, they’ve been in tears seeing the dog bait seeing, you know, the dolls dressed in their traditional attire, because I’ve spent so much time making sure that each of the clothing is culturally accurate so that it’s truly representative of each culture.

Miranda Anthistle 5:33

Well, I love the dolls. They’re beautiful Samantha and I wish I had when I was younger, but I’m so glad the next generation has the ability to play with them. Samantha, thank you very much for your time today. We appreciate it.

Samantha Ong 5:44

Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Me and tell me tell the story about Joeydolls

Miranda Anthistle 5:48

That is Samantha Ong, the founder and CEO of Joeydolls


Miranda Anthistle Global News

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