I took the plunge and purchased the Girl of the Year for 2016, Lea Clark. My review is below and consists mainly of a photo bombardment of everything I could think of. ^_^
Lea Clark in her box!
She has the new purple Girl of the Year boxes that started last year with Grace. Her name is printed on the front lid.
There is also a sticker on the bottom, similar to Grace. There seems to be a new "Warning" sticker style now, with the message printed in 3 languages: English, French, and Spanish. I'm assuming this is because AG is now selling in Mexico and Canada as well.
Back of box.
Lots more print on the back of the box now, also in the 3 languages.
Top of box
Side of box
Bottom of box
Close up of sticker on bottom of box. I love that I can learn French and Spanish now with each AG purchase! XD
Ta-da! With the lid taken off! ^_^ Be blinded by the bright, tropical colors of life!
This is just a small note but I believe the lids of the boxes have been changed as well. They now have this white, folded over flap on the side which wasn't there before. Not a big deal by any means, just something I noticed. :)
Lea with the plastic book insert removed.
Plastic book insert
Once you lift up the meet book, you can see the secret compartment underneath where her messenger bag and compass necklace are hidden.
Na na na na na secret compartment!
For all your hiding needs! Just the right size for the messenger bag and necklace.... or a square of Ghirardelli chocolate!!! :D
Messenger bag and necklace taken out of secret compartment.
The yellow "V"s on the strap are embroidered. A very nice detail!
Front of bag.
The symbol is a decal and the yellow loops on the pink straps are plastic.
Back of bag.
Ego tag! Otherwise it's plain. There is not additional pocket/holding space on the back side.
The bag closes with velcro squares.
Inside of the bag is simple with just one compartment half full with ego tag.
Compass necklace front
Back of necklace
The strap of the necklace is adjustable so you can put it on the doll and adjust the length. This is the "long" length necklace.
And this is the "short" length.
Close up of necklace face.
The arrow moves but it's not an actual, working compass. The arrow's tushy end is just heavier than the head so I guess you could say the arrow always points away from gravity. XD
Cover of book.
Back cover of book
Onward to the doll packaging!
The feet have the styrofoam wrapped around the ankles so the rubberband holding the legs in place won't make marks on the vinyl. There is a sheet of plastic behind the feet, to help protect against shine marks from the vinyl rubbing against the cardboard box.
It seems like moving forward, AG is now wrapping their doll arms in plastic gloves as well to also protect them from shine marks. And as an added measure of protection, there's also plastic on the sides of the boxes where the hands would hit the box. I guess They're getting a lot of returns from disgruntled consumers about opening up a "new" doll to find it covered in shine marks.
The neck is held in the same way as always, with an easy to remove white elastic around a styrofoam wrapped neck.
I opted to have my Lea's ears pierced while I was at the store. The doll does not come with pierced ears and earrings unless you request and pay for it.
Close up of the face with the new light, yellow-hazel eyes and arched eyebrows.
Apparently AG considers her hair straight, but it is definitely wavy-borderline curly, so sometimes a quick finger curl/brush works better than the regular wig brush.
I was able to slip the plastic arm gloves off fairly easily without cutting it, but this could vary from doll to doll.
When I got her ears pierced at the store, I choose the special Lea Clark earrings that are only available for her. They gave a new, unopened pack of the 3 earrings that come in the set, and then pierced her ears with an additional set of the circular symbol studs. So basically I ended up with 2 sets of the circular symbol studs.
Now let's look at the doll at her meet outfit.
Side view of shoes
I was surprised to see these shoes used velcro (it didn't seem like it would need it), but there you go! ^_^
The left shoe is imprinted with a product code on the bottom.
1) Ego tag!
2) Belt does not go all the way around to the back and is permanently attached to the sides.
3) Mismatched prints galore! I can't really fault them though, the skirt does look like it would be too cost consuming to match it up, especially in a mass produced, factory setting. That doesn't mean I like it though. XD
Luckily, the prints on the back at least match up! It's just the back and front don't. So no side view photos of you doll in this outfit, unless they're rebels!. :D
Lea does not have neck strings. Her head is held on with a zip tie, and the seam is sewn completely up. I'm not a fan of this, because I frequently take off my doll's head to readjust the stuffing to fix head tilts. Also, this will make customizing a lot more work. For someone who has the tools and knowledge, it would not be too difficult to put their own neck strings in. However, I'm not one of those people so... Boo stringless necks! >_<
The shoulder straps are braided yellow cord and can slide around in the loop holding them to the front of the dress.
Her underwear will blind you from the front!
Another new thing AG is doing is putting these plastic protectors around the leg joints. I'm not sure what protective purpose these serve though, as this is not an area prone to shine marks (since it's protected by the clothes), and it can't be stains since AG uses colorfast clothing. :/
And the back!
I kind of miss the cute little graphic that always used to be on the GOTY underwear (I think they stopped with Saige), but at least it's one less secret symbol. :D
To my eyes, her hair looks blond. However, I concede Lea has the type of hair coloring that people will debate on over whether it is blond or brown. A lot of it depends on lighting and personal perceptions.
Above, the two images show that with greater exposure and more light, it appears more blond, and with less exposure and less light, it will look more brown.
Now we can move on to the doll herself!
Although each individual aspect of her look (Josefina mold, hazel eyes, wavy blond/brown hair, medium vinyl) are not unique, I really like the combination together and think Lea is a beautiful doll.
I'm probably most impressed by her wig. It is wavy and layered, but it goes down to her butt and feel so soft and silky. I've brushed it multiple times now and it still feels soft and easy to handle despite the length. Depending on how you pull back the hair and curl it, you can give her a completely different look which is really nice.
Here is a close up her eyes. They're a light, yellow hazel color, which is more or less just another variation on the tried and tired hazel coloring. -_-
This is what her hair looks like fresh out of the hair net. It is longer and more straight once it has been brushed out. Gloriously thick and not bad at all to style!
Her hair has blond highlights, which are most easily seen near her hair part. :)
Left to right: Rebecca, Lea, Kanani
All 3 dolls have the side left side part, though I would say Lea's is the least wavy/curly out of them. They also all have hazel eyes, but Lea's are a lighter, more yellow hazel. Lea also has the arched eyebrows that are new.
Left to right: Rebecca, Lea, Kanani
Left to right: Rebecca, Lea, Kanani
So just as a note, this was taken right after taking both Lea & Kanani's hair right out of the hairnet. Once both their hair had been brushed and relaxed a bit, lea's was down to her cloth butt and Kanani's was between mid-thigh/knee length, and more curly that Lea's.
Lea's hair also feels softer and easier to maintain than Kanani's, which felt more dry in comparison despite also being new out of hair net.
Lea's hair is the lightest of all 3 of the dolls.
Left - Rebecca, Right - Lea
Many people say Rebecca and Lea look alike for them. I personally don't feel like they are very similar but I can understand those who do say so. For me, the difference in hair coloring and length, as well as the vinyl coloring and the fact they come from 2 different lines enough for me to keep them apart in my mind.
You can see how Lea's eyes are lighter than Rebecca's as well.
Left - Kanani, Right - Lea
I would say Lea's coloring is a little lighter and more "yellow" than Kanani's medium vinyl 5 years ago. Most likely this is due to a batch variance and not intentional on AG's part (though the medium vinyl coloring has been getting lighter through the years).
Her lip coloring also seems to be darker than the other dolls though this is only obvious when compared next to them.
Overall, while I don't find Lea terribly unique, I think her coloring combination does make her quite lovely. For me, she looks much older than the other dolls, due to the arched eyebrows giving her a "plucked" look in my eyes, as well as the stylized "beach blowout" hair.
I haven't decided yet if I will keep her, so I'll probably end up doing a Dress Up Gallery for her the way I did for Maryellen to help me make up my mind, but right now I'm leaning towards keeping her. I *love* the feel of her wig, but I would want to swap out her eye colors and the zip tie is a big hindrance for me.
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