Tuesday, November 25, 2014

October Theme: Filipino American Representation in Playscale, Pt.1

According to Wikipedia, only 1.1% of the United States population is Filipino American. Guess how many Filipino American dolls and action figures I found? Two. (Anyone with additional finds, please share those names and manufacturers. That is playscale dolls and action figures; there are likely available dolls in other scales.) That includes Mattel's 2012 Philippines Barbie. Who is that other doll? Drum roll ... High School Musical Gabriella!  Yes, actress Vanessa Hudgens has Filipino ancestry. 


Philippines Barbie 2012

Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical Gabriella) various models. Below is the first, Barbie-sized - 11 1/2" Gabriella; later Gabriella dolls were on shorter, 10" bodies.

Mattel High School Musical Gabriella, full length

Face of Mattel High School Musical Gabriella
Close up of Mattel High School Musical Gabriella

Mattel High School Musical Gabriella box showing actress Vanessa Hudgens
Box showing actress Vanessa Hudgens

Richwell (Mattel fashion dolls sold in the Philippines)

Various Barbies, Kens, Barbie family produced for the overseas Filipino market.

You will remember that I could only find one explicitly Polish doll from Mattel. However, I could tick off Polish foods and some Polish American facts. Aside from recognizing that Pinoy is another adjective for Filipino  - and one that I would not use because it might be considered derogatory - I know little about the Philippines and the Filipino people. An Internet search uncovered a local group, the Filipino-American Association of Philadelphia, Incorporated (FAAPI). But ... this post is about Filipino American representation in playscale. Lacking explicitly labelled Filipino dolls and action figures, where can we find substitutes?

1.  We could "borrow" dolls from Mattel's Dolls of the World Asia line. Or your choice of Mattel's Kayla/Lea, Goddess, Oriental, or other head mold dolls. Mattel has non-specific "Asian" dolls that might do.

2. Find dolls based on Filipino American celebrities. Other famous Americans with Filipino ancestry include Tia Carrere,  Phoebe Cates, Mark Dacascos, Bruno Mars, Nia Peeples, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rob Schneider, and Hervé Villechaize. I do not know of any playscale dolls or action figures based on those celebrities or any roles that they played. (Although it does seem as though there should be figures of Mark Dacascos and/or Lou Diamond Phillips.)  

(Aside: more relevant to playscale doll and action figure fans Noel Cruz, master doll artist, is Filipino-American. Not that that means a doll and action figure of the artist.)
Next, I would offer substitutes. However, I was not able to photograph the dolls and action figures I would offer as potential "stand-ins" today so I am saving that part for tomorrow.


Manika's Filipina Barbie Guide

Amazon review of Mattel's Philippines Barbie

Click these links for additional information about Filipinos in the United States, Vanessa Hudgens,or  Noel Cruz.