White skin, blonde hair, Barbie has travelled the world making her the most popular doll ever. In fact, she’s so popular that many children of colour prefer her appearance to their own using her as a measuring stick for their own self-image.

A Doll Like Me looks at the world of children who do not look like Barbie and yet Barbie features are what the world around them celebrates.

Nyah Nameh is 5, she’s transfixed by the white, blonde, blue-eyed princess Elsa from the film Frozen. When her mother offers her a dark doll, a doll that resembles her, she decidedly rejects it because it’s not pretty. She wants a white Barbie.

Elisanio is a boy with Albinism and black parents. He has difficulty accepting himself because he feels the outside world regularly rejects him.

With these challenges, Serenity a mother of 3 wants to protect her children from a negative self-image because of their skin color, something she has struggled with while growing up. She regularly reminds her children of their own beauty inner and outer.

For the parents, it’s hard to watch their children reject themselves or be bullied by other children because of their appearance. Seeking help, they go to “Aunt Doll.” Aunt Doll is Ellen Brudet. 10 years ago, she started a store for dolls using the philosophy that children are happiest with a doll that resembles themselves evoking empowerment through representation. She remembers her own childhood as a bi-cultural individual and the struggles she had with her own identity in a white world.

In her store, there is a doll for every child her dolls are specially crafted to celebrate diverse appearances and abilities. Children who have problems with their hair, skin color, or a face that deviates from the norm, Albinism, Down syndrome, Vitiligo. Boy or girl, at Ellen’s store, they find a companion in a doll with whom they can identify. Cinta Forger and Walther Grotenhuis, Netherlands 2023 53'