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Celebrating Diversity and Empowering Children: Joeydolls’ Journey on Nuances Podcast

Today, we want to share with you Joeydolls’ founding story – an inspiring story of resilience, creativity, and a deep commitment to promoting diversity and representation in the world of children’s toys.

We recently had the privilege of being featured on the Nuances Podcast, where Samantha Ong, the founder and CEO of Joeydolls, discussed the journey behind our brand. Samantha had such a passion for creating diverse Asian cultural dolls that celebrate our rich heritage in Asia and has been at the core of our mission. We’re excited to bring you along on this incredible journey!

Nuances Podcast Episode: Samantha Ong on the need for representation in toys, colorism in Asian culture, and how her culturally accurate dolls sold out on launch day (S3 E13)

Nuances Podcast Video

Podcast Episode Summary

Our Humble Beginnings

Joeydolls was born out of a simple yet powerful idea – to offer children dolls that reflect the rich tapestry of Asian cultures and identities. Samantha, with absolutely no background in toy design or manufacturing, but just a simple heartfelt desire to make a positive impact, embarked on this mission. It all started when she noticed a distinct lack of diversity on toy store shelves. Traditional dolls were often confined to stereotypical representations, overlooking the beautiful nuances and stories of Asian cultures.

The Joeydolls journey began with extensive research and collaboration with artists, historians, and cultural experts. We wanted to ensure that every Joeydoll we created was not just a toy but a cherished representation of real people and cultures. Each doll is meticulously crafted to capture the uniqueness of various Asian ethnicities, from their clothing and hairstyles to their stories and personalities.

Our recent feature on the Nuances Podcast provided us with a platform to share our vision with a broader audience. Samantha discussed her experiences, challenges, and the importance of diverse representation in the world of children’s toys. It was a heartwarming conversation that delved into the intricacies of our journey and the impact our dolls have had on children and families around the world.

Our Journey: A Message of Inclusivity & Gratitude for Support

At Joeydolls, we firmly believe that every child deserves to see themselves reflected in their toys. It’s not just about celebrating diversity; it’s about fostering a sense of belonging and self-acceptance. Our dolls are designed to encourage open-mindedness, empathy, and a genuine appreciation for the rich tapestry of our world.

We are profoundly grateful for the support we’ve received from our customers, collaborators, and now, the Nuances Podcast. Your enthusiasm and encouragement have fueled our passion for creating these culturally diverse dolls, and we are excited to continue expanding our collection.

As we continue to grow and evolve, we invite you to join us on this remarkable journey. Whether you’re a parent looking to inspire your child with a Joeydoll or an advocate for diversity and inclusivity, there’s a place for you in our community. Together, we can empower the next generation to embrace differences and foster a world where every child feels valued and seen.

Thank you for being a part of our story, and we look forward to sharing many more chapters with you. Stay tuned for exciting updates, new doll releases, and, most importantly, the celebration of the beautiful tapestry of cultures that make up our world.

Podcast Episode Transcript


Our guest today is Samantha Ong. Samantha is an entrepreneur, business owner, and a mother to two young girls based in Toronto, Canada. Samantha founded Joeydolls in response to the rise in anti-Asian hate around the world during the pandemic lockdowns.

Her goal is to help young children feel proud of their heritage and feel valued in society by creating diverse Asian cultural dolls that celebrate every culture. As the founder and CEO of Joeydolls, Samantha is on a mission to provide a representation of Asian culture in cute and playful way, and also deconstruct both racism and colorism.

Joeydolls are designed to be a child’s friend for life with soft, cuddly bodies and culturally accurate attire. She hopes the dolls will help create more awareness and education around Asian culture and diversity. Samantha, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Samantha: Thank you so much for having me.

Lazou: So let’s start from the beginning.

Where did you grow up and what was that like culturally?

Samantha: I was born in Malaysia, but my parents moved to Australia when I was really young, I was a baby. So I grew up in Australia in eighties, nineties. I was very much a minority there. I remember playing with blonde dolls and that was all that was out there, seeing only not people that look like me on TV and all of that.

And I just remember thinking vividly, looking at my classmates, going, they’re so lucky to look the way they are, and I am not as pretty as them. And I just remember thinking, I could never be a princess. I could never be a famous actress. I know that’s changed a lot now, I remember thinking of those things and like I was meant to be more on the sidelines. Like I wasn’t as lucky as them. Yeah.

Lazou: Yeah. It was the same for me, even though I didn’t grow up with white people at all. I grew up in Mauritius where most people actually were dark skinned. I was in the minority as a light skinned person, but still all the media we saw was white people Yeah.

Samantha: That’s interesting.

Lazou: So did you experience any racism as a kid?

Samantha: So I remember first grade being called like Ching Chong. And even as children, they know that those are like racially those like sorts of sayings uh, to do with my race. But not really realizing how that would affect me.

And at the time I didn’t really know how to take it as well, but I just knew that Okay then, so they see me as the other, not like everyone else.

Lazou: Yeah.

Samantha: That’s how I saw myself growing up, that I was just always the other that I never really fit in.

That I wasn’t really, like everyone else or that I could even just pursue the same things as other people. I felt like I was Asian and that I had to fit that Asian mold and become what Asians do, like a doctor or a lawyer and in terms of careers, I didn’t really feel like I had the freedom.

Lazou: Did you have an Asian community where you were growing up or was it a majority white community?

Samantha: Yeah, so I think when I was in primary school as a in elementary school in, that’s what it’s called in Australia it was mainly white people. And then when I went to a school my high school there was primarily white people, but there was like a bigger group of Asian Girls there that I could, mix with.

But still, we were always separated from everyone else. So even though they were my friends and I felt like, oh, we live in this multicultural, I still felt like we were viewed very differently. Yeah.

Lazou: Yeah.

In I think one of your posts I saw you mentioned experiencing colorism in the Asian community. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Samantha: Yeah. I think growing up growing, I didn’t really know what that meant for me, and it was really when I was pregnant. My husband’s Korean. And so when I was pregnant, people would say, oh, I really hope that your daughter is born with your husband’s fair skin. And I was like, what’s wrong with my skin?

And then that made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. And this like sort of Asian beauty standards where I have double eyelids and then they’re like, oh, I hope that she’s born with my double eyelids and not his like, you know, this pick and choosing of and then not just welcoming her as she is no matter how she’s born, who she is or who even she is in the inside.

That really mattered first and foremost. But just these tropes that, you know, that this is better or, there’s pearlised skin is somehow more beautiful than what I have.

And then it really forced me to think I don’t want my daughter to grow up thinking that she has to be a certain way to be viewed beautiful. And that’s why I really wanted to have like different skin tones when I created these dolls . I really wish that I could do more skin tones to show them more diversity and really celebrate them.

But yeah, I’m just starting from what I can right now.

Lazou: Yeah,

Having lived in both Australia and Canada, do you feel like your experience as part of the Asian diaspora in each country has been different, or do you feel like it was pretty much the same?

Samantha: I always thought like Australia was multicultural because that’s all I knew. And then now, seeing it from an adult point of view and also coming to Canada, I really look back and see so much differently. Even now when I go back to Australia I still don’t see Asians really on tv. I still don’t really see even darker skin people on tv. And so really the same people that when I left 14 years ago are still on TV today. It has not changed. And that’s even in leadership. And that all really cascades down the views of society.

Australia does have a good Asian population, but I think beyond that, it doesn’t have that diversity as well. Whereas I feel like in Canada there it is more multicultural, but when talking to my husband, he said that he also received racism growing up.

And so I think probably in that day and age it was pretty similar. But now Canada’s progressed a bit more, I would say. But they’re also similar in a lot of ways too.

Lazou: So you started your company as a response to anti-Asian hate during the pandemic.

Did you have that concern about your girls facing anti-Asian sentiment before Covid, or is that something that came out of the pandemic?

Samantha: Becoming a mom, you relive your childhood again because you see the world through their eyes and you also reflect upon your own experiences and what you don’t want for your children to relive. And so when I did have my children, I had those feelings, but it really was escalated by pandemic when the rise in Anti-Asian hate was just all over the news and that’s all I saw. So there was a lot of fear during that time, and even I didn’t wanna go outside and what that meant for my parents . And I just didn’t want her to feel ashamed of who she is as well.

So during the pandemic, we were all stuck in lockdown.

I’m a wedding photographer, so I couldn’t work for so long. It was cancellation after cancellation of weddings and postponements. It was actually two years of that. So I really lost pretty much all my income during those two years and I was stuck at home with her. So I really was able to bond with her during that time and really try to give her that support. But because we were stuck in lockdowns, she didn’t have anyone to play with, we were exercised a lot of precaution during that time so we didn’t see anyone. And so I, all I wanted was for her to have a friend. That she could have that company. And that’s where I thought, okay, I’ll look for some dolls that she could play with. I am Malaysian Chinese and my husband’s Korean. And it was around the time that my daughter was about one years old.

And so we would put her in her Chinese outfit, a Korean outfit, and then I was just thinking like, oh, we celebrate our cultures through our children, but I want her to see herself that in that way as well, through dolls. And I just felt like dolls weren’t really celebrating culture. They had certain features and then they were Asian and mostly they were like stereotypical features.

And so I personally wanted to connect with the doll in a way that I connect with my daughter. And that’s where I came up with the, I actually it was my husband’s idea. ’cause I was so frustrated with what was out there that he was just like, why don’t you make one then? And then that’s where I came up with the idea. Yeah.

Lazou: Yeah, so you do mention quite prominently on your website that you make culturally accurate dolls.

How did. How did the lack of representation in toys affect you as a kid?

Samantha: Yeah. And I think that goes back to, what I said before with not seeing myself and feeling that I wasn’t valued in society because not seeing myself through toys or books or movies. And personally, I really loved my Barbies, I played with them all the time.

Looking back in my childhood, that’s what I played with the most and I didn’t know how that had that effect on me at the time. And upon doing research about it, it really does, this racial awareness in children really starts at such a young age, as young as 10 months.

And I’ve even seen a documentary where children would go pick out a doll that they would like, and they would even have minority children pick out dolls and they would always choose the blonde hair doll because even for them, they think that the blonde one is the prettiest one. There’s such a narrative change that needs to happen for our children and what a different life that I could have had if I had that self-esteem and that confidence in myself younger. I’ve grown so much now I appreciate my culture so much and my background, but I’ve had to come such a long way into my adulthood, to come around that way.

And even looking back, I remember telling my dad speak English and being ashamed to be Asian. And so I really hope that we can skip a little bit of that, and be proud of who we are and proud of where we’ve come from and our culture.

I really wanted the dolls to be culturally accurate so that when people see the dolls, they really have this sense of pride in them. And that’s why it really has taken this long. It’s gone through so many iterations and it’s because I wanted to make it better so that when people see it, they just want it so much because of what it means to them. And that’s the response that I’ve been getting is that people have been messaging me saying, oh my gosh, I really wish I had something like this as a child. And even people have said that when they’ve seen the doll, they’ve been in tears. To have that sort of emotional reaction just proves to me that these dolls are so needed. There has been such a gap in the industry for so long.

Lazou: Yeah. So what was the process like to get those to become culturally accurate? Did you have consultants that you worked with?

Samantha: Yeah, so it was a lot of research initially. Like initially I just wanted to get out the dolls, like A S A P, so I just did what I thought was online and then I thought, I don’t feel comfortable with this. I know that I am not an expert in all of this. I really tried to reach out to my community first, like my friends and family, what they thought. And then when I pushed out illustrations of them. Then it was really good because I got so much feedback from our followers and I started collecting email subscribers and then they was so happy to provide feedback. And then I tried to find also some fashion designers online as well so that I can consult with them.

But mostly has been through the community, which was really awesome. It was so nice to have that community feedback to feel like it was a team effort kind of thing.

Lazou: yeah. Given that you’ve spent so much time on developing these dolls, I want to give you an opportunity to talk about the different dolls and their outfits.

Samantha: Our Chinese doll has a cheongsam or qibao, and she even has the handmade Chinese knots on them, and it was so difficult to make those because they were so small. But I really tried so hard to get them. And they even have these Chinese flowers and we made them red and gold for good luck.

Then we have the Filipino doll. She’s wearing a Filipiana dress. She has the beautiful embroidery on her. We even have the traditional sampaguita flower in her hair. That’s a national flower of the Philippines. Also again, tried so hard to make sure the sleeves were just like the Filipiniana dress.

We also have the Vietnamese doll. I’m butchering some of the pronunciations in these. But she has the ao dai and I use the mai flower on the dress and it’s embroidered as well on the dress. She’s also wearing this traditional Vietnamese headpiece as well.

Making sure all of them were consistent and everything was really hard, but was important for me.

And then we have Japanese doll. She’s wearing a sakura kimono, she has a floral kanzashi. This one was also really difficult, the headpiece that I had for her. Just in terms of safety, like it was small parts. I wanted the dolls to be safe for young children. We have them safety tested for 0+.

So the small parts was such a big thing. And the kanzashi the way that they’re made is such, such a delicate piece. So I didn’t want them to come off. And so we tried so hard to get this piece and I’m very proud we’ve come to this day.

And then we also had the Korean doll she’s wearing a pastel hanbok and she even has different colored sleeves. She has the hairpiece on the back and the front. Like I don’t know the name in Korean. I’ve actually looked it up several times, but some people just call it like the little pumpkin on the top of her head. There’s a little charm on her skirt for good luck as well. So there’s lots of little details in each of the dolls as you can see. And making each one individually was quite the process.

And there’s, Yes, there’s that Indian doll, she’s wearing a two piece lehenga and so it’s a gold top and a pink skirt. She has this gold motif detailing on it and like a sash that goes around on her shoulder.

Lazou: Yeah. Have you considered making dolls with Western outfits? And if so, why or why not?

Samantha: Yeah, so actually when I first came up with a concept, I wanted cultural dolls and I wanted everyday outfits like modern or western clothing. And then I thought to myself these are cute and everything, but I felt that people would connect more to the cultural outfits because it was just not out there.

And so that’s where I went with that route. Of course I wanted to make custom dolls and have all sorts of options. And really my initial concept was like you could get a Chinese doll and you could pick whatever skin tone so changing that narrative, that certain skin tones for certain ethnicities.

Lazou: Yeah.

Samantha: But of course with production. there’s minimum order quantities and if I wanted to get the dolls at a certain price point, then I had to do away with some of my ideas and I hope that I can still do them in the future. ’cause I was also off work for two years.

I really had very little investment to put into this. I started off my Instagram account with zero followers, zero email subscribers. And I didn’t know if anyone would like this idea or be interested. I was just trying to do it on a budget at the time.

And so now seeing that there has been this demand for it, I hope that I can do it in the future.

Lazou: Yeah. Awesome. Do you hope to reach non-Asian households as well, or is that not a focus?

Samantha: Yeah, no, this is really important because during the pandemic, when there was all these racial slurs and things. It was mainly directed from the virus coming from China. And so there was this misconception that Asians are from China, right?

Also traveling with my husband, we’ve been a couple of places and they always do the slanty eyes at my husband, and even though he’s Korean, they just say, oh, you’re from China. I really wanted these dolls to provide more education and awareness of Asian diversity.

There’s so many different countries and cultures. I wanted these dolls to be a starting point of education.

Lazou: What is one big challenge that you’ve overcome on this journey that you’re particularly proud of?

Samantha: When I was first starting out this business, there was a lot of doubts internally, but then there was also external doubts where people were like, oh, I don’t know if you should get into this. There’s a lot to know. There’s a lot to do and I don’t think you should do this.

And it really did put me down and I wasn’t sure if I really should do it ’cause it was a big risk, financially, even my time.

There was a period of time, I think it was six months, like I just didn’t wanna think about it because I was just like, this idea is a fantasy, I don’t have the funds to do this, trying to crunch the numbers and see if I could do it on my own and seeing my follower account or my email subscriber so small at the time and then just reading about like only 1% of your email subscribers will actually buy.

And I’m like, oh my gosh, I have to get so many people to be interested and this is gonna take so long and all of this. So I really paused for a long time and then I don’t know what it was. I think I really just kept reminding myself of the why, like why I am doing this.

I really believed in this idea and I really wanted to change this narrative for children for the future generation. And even for people like me who, my inner child that feels like they’re unhealed.

And so I’ve received so much feedback. So many people have said I’m so happy that you’re doing this. Thank you so much for doing this. And I feel like me having that perseverance despite all of that trying to navigate it on a very small budget and pushing through and believing in the idea and doing it really more so for the community knowing that the community really needs this.

Having that feedback from people, knowing that this is gonna make such a big difference for everyone is what keeps me going because there has been so many ups and downs. Even just last week. Getting barcodes, and then I can’t even get into my account. Oh my gosh. There’s just so much, there’s so much to do with the entrepreneurship and starting a business and not knowing this industry at all. So much Imposter syndrome that I shouldn’t be the one to do this ’cause I don’t know what I’m doing half the time or maybe most of the time, but persevering anyway.

Lazou: Yeah. What was the point at which you realized, no, this is feasible. There’s a market for this and I can do it.

Samantha: oh I had the doll lying around and every time I would bring up the dolls on my screen and design them on my screen. My daughter, although she couldn’t speak at the time, she would giggle and smile. There was this reaction in her and I knew that I was doing this for her and kids like her.

When I got the prototypes in person, I wasn’t happy with them. I’m such a perfectionist. So even though a lot of the people online couldn’t see the flaws. All I see were flaws. And then I remember hiding them away because I was just so ashamed.

And then my daughter ran into my office because I hid them in my office and she’s mommy, can I play with these? I love these so much. And I just thought if I’m doing this for the children, they don’t even see those little flaws. Of course I was perfecting and perfecting, but there’s a real mission here. She had so much joy in just seeing these dolls and giggling with them. If I could replicate those experiences for other children, what a difference I would make for so many. It was those little moments in my every day that really helped me.

Lazou: What advice do you have for other moms or other parents who are thinking about starting a business?

Samantha: Yeah, one of my purposes in doing this, like seeing it through, was that I wanted to so set this example that, anyone can do this if they want to, that even for my children, I’ve gone such a windy road in navigating my career.

I wouldn’t have never thought that I would end up doing dolls or toys if you asked me as a teenager finishing high school because I went the traditional path of doing like finance. I really just wanted to prove that for my children and other people, that if they have a dream, Just go for it and there’s gonna be such a windy road and it really is hard, but if you really believe in the idea in yourself that you can get there.

Lazou: Yeah. So sorry.

Samantha: No worries.

Lazou: So what feedback have you gotten from parents and kids who have played with a doll so far?

Samantha: Yeah. So right now it has been in the pre-order stage, so really only my own children have played with them. But people have seen them, we’ve been out to a marketplace for retailers. So they’ve also seen them for the first time. But that’s it at this point.

My followers and email subscribers have only seen photos of them online. But yeah, I can’t wait for them to get them in hands and have that experience and knowing how they feel about it then.

But so far there’s been such positive feedback. There have been a number of people who aren’t Asian or a lot of them who are not Asian themselves, but perhaps their spouses Asian and they wanted their children to have it. They’ve been saying how eye-opening the experience of having a mixed race child is. They didn’t even know what that lack of representation meant until they had their child. And they wanted them to pass down their culture and feel proud. And seeing the dolls made them so happy that they will be able to have this as a tool to help navigate that process.

Lazou: That’s awesome.

What’s coming up next for you? When are the dolls shipping and what are you excited about?

Samantha: Yeah, so we have a few retailers small retailers that are lined up, which is really awesome. They’re gonna be shipping November, so in time for Christmas. The dolls were a success on launch day. Like we sold out and then I had to get more inventory. I didn’t even think that we could get more inventory, but I had to really push to get more inventory. ’cause otherwise we would still be sold out at this point. Which is you know, a real indicator of the demand for these types of dolls. But in the future, I hope that we can do more ethnicities, especially in the Southeast, which has been so underrepresented for so long.

Also, boy dolls, I just don’t see that at all, especially for people of color. And I really hope that we can continue providing more diversity, especially in skin tones. There’s just so much. We’ve had so many requests. I wish I could do them all. But of course one step at a time and I am really excited about yeah what this will mean for people.

Lazou: Yeah.

Alright, so we like to close the the interview with our rapid fire questions. These are five, one word or one phrase answer. You don’t have to explain, but you can if you want to.

Samantha: Okay.

Lazou: What’s an Asian food you should like, but don’t?

Samantha: I was gonna say Durian because my mom likes Durian.

I cannot, cannot stand it.

Lazou: What’s an Asian food that you’ll never get tired of?

Samantha: Oh, sushi. Oh, noodles. Noodles, yeah. Sushi and noodles. They’re just on par.

Lazou: Yeah, noodles is a very popular answer for this. What languages do you speak?

Samantha: Oh, I’m embarrassed by this. I only speak English. And that is really from like my childhood, not wanting to learn. And yeah I feel regret about it.

Lazou: Do your parents speak Chinese?

Samantha: My mom speaks so many languages. I wish she just taught me all of them, but at home, she speaks Hokkien to my dad and she speaks it twice so I understand it. And then they know Malay being from Malaysia, and then they know Cantonese and then they know Mandarin. That’s a lot already. And having me not know, I can only understand Hokkien and the little pieces of Mandarin and, but not like a full, I can’t speak Cantonese.

Lazou: Yeah. Did you go back to Malaysia a lot during your childhood or,

Samantha: Here and there. I’d say I’ve been back about four or five times not like super often. But I found that a lot of my Malaysian friends in Australia also only speak English because I think in Malaysia it’s like very English is very dominant as well. So I think that those is. They just felt like we didn’t need to know.

But I do have this regret, like I actually am learning Mandarin through my daughter, like trying to teach her and then teaching myself

Lazou: Oh wow. Yeah. Actually the episode that just aired last week, we were talking about how in the US specifically in the nineties, there was a push for parents to not teach their kids whatever cultural language. Then, and the reasoning that was being promoted by medical professionals was that if you teach your kids more than one language, they will never be fully fluent in either one.

And so that scared a lot of Asian parents. They’re like, no, I want my kid to be fully fluent in English. So they only taught them English, wouldn’t teach them anything. And of course, now, people my age, we don’t speak anything.

Samantha: Wow. I didn’t know that. But that, yeah I know having my daughter that they now say that there will be like some sort of delay if you speak like multiple languages, but because of so much information. But they will catch up.


Lazou: Yeah. I don’t speak any Asian language, but because I grew up in Mauritius, we were forced to learn English and French at the same time. But then our everyday language was Creole and so we grew up automatically trilingual. And then most of the other people learned some other language for some reason the Chinese kids didn’t wanna learn Chinese, but the Indian kids learned Hindi, Urdu, Marathi, something else.

We were, I don’t know why we didn’t, but we didn’t.

Samantha: Yeah. No, that’s interesting.

Lazou: So fear not, multilingualism is totally fine. They will have no problem. And actually on one of our previous episodes in season one with Dr. Chung-Fat-Yim, who’s also from Toronto, we talked about how being multilingual actually improves your performance, your brain structure changes when you learn multiple languages. And it actually helps you perform better in non-language related tasks too, that are like associated with creativity and some other stuff.

So it’s good to learn other languages.

Samantha: Oh, we missed out. back then, but we can

still learn.

Lazou: Yeah. And they actually did studies on older adults and even though they were learning as adults, they still got the benefits of multilingualism as long as they’re consistently learning and trying to maintain fluency in that language.

Samantha: I bet. Oh, wow.

Lazou: All right.

What’s the most unexpected thing that you learned throughout this journey?

Samantha: I knew there was gonna be so much to do, like there’s gonna be so many regulations to go through , but I still think there’s even more than I thought.

There was just so many hoops to jump through in even getting to the production stage, I was just like, okay, once I get to the production stage, all is done.

I, all I have to do is ship them out. Nope. There’s so much to do. So I think that’s it.

Lazou: Yeah.

And finally, what is your favorite example of representation that you’ve seen so far for yourself?

Samantha: Definitely Michelle Yeoh. She’s Malaysian as well and oh my goodness. So many awards recently. Gosh, proving to the world that we can do it. It is gonna make such a big difference for future generations.

Because I mentioned before, I thought like I couldn’t get there for myself. I couldn’t be an actress or a princess. She’s been able to break so many barriers to get to where she is.

Lazou: Yeah, for sure. That was definitely a big moment for all of us.

When you were talking about playing with Barbies and not seeing yourself represented as a kid, that was the same for me, even though I was not surrounded by white people, I was surrounded by white media, white toys, white everything. And I remember being like four years old and I told my mom, I want to have blonde hair and blue eyes,

Samantha: Okay.

Lazou: I never liked drinking milk for some reason

Samantha: Me neither. The cup of milk was pushed on us, but I did not like it.

Lazou: So my mom was like maybe if you drink your milk, it, it might happen. And I tried it for like one day and I’m like, nah, it’s not worth it.

Samantha: That’s so funny. I thought you were gonna get into it, but No.

Lazou: No, it didn’t work. I’m like, being blonde isn’t worth it. It’s too much work.

Samantha: Yeah. Oh man. Do you remember like a time where that changed for you, like that desire to be blonde and blue eyed?

Lazou: Not as a kid. I don’t think I had a very strong desire, but I think I always felt like the people who were born blonde and blue eyed were lucky, just like you were saying, right? I just felt like they were prettier I’ll never be as pretty and I could never see myself as pretty, and that’s something that takes a lifetime to undo.

I don’t hate myself, like I don’t dislike me, but you’re just so trained to perceive certain features as beautiful that it’s hard. There’s a lot of body positivity out there and you should see yourself as beautiful and tell yourself you’re beautiful and all of that stuff. Easy to say, but not easy to feel, you know? It’s a work in progress. There’s definitely better days and not so good days. You know what I mean? It’s not something that you, even though you know in your head that it doesn’t make any sense that it’s a social construct and that it’s not founded in any fact whatsoever. It’s just ingrained in you. So it takes a long time to untangle that from the way you think.

Samantha: Yeah. I think we’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much to go, even just seeing on social media, what’s being pushed out there. Yeah, there’s a long way to go in terms of like beauty standards.

Lazou: Yeah. All right. Before we let you go, do you wanna quickly tell people where to find you your website?

Samantha: My website is https://www.joeydolls.com. That’s j o e y d o l l s. And then we’re Joeydolls on Instagram, as well as Facebook, but also on TikTok , I don’t post there that much. And that’s Joeydolls.

Lazou: All right. Thank you so much for doing the show today.

Samantha: Thank you so much for having me and sharing that story. Thank you.

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