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I Got Back Into My American Girl Doll Phase — and You Should, Too!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bowling Green chapter.

Once upon a time…

Last March, I went on a trip to Chicago with my school’s Honors program. While on this trip, we had a lot of downtime that we could spend in small groups; exploring whatever piqued our interests. Of course, my two friends and I opted to not do any of the typical tourist things like seeing the bean on our trip. Instead, we went to the American Girl Doll store and the Lego store. And let me just tell you, the American Girl Doll store instantly became one of my favorite places. I had a few American Girl Dolls growing up, but I’d never gotten the chance to go to the store. And while I may have been 18, it still lived up to all of 8-year-old Emma’s wildest dreams. So of course, I had to buy a doll. After all, my 19th birthday was a week away, so we could consider this an early birthday present… an atypical one for a 19-year-old, emphasized by the point that one of my roommates was getting a doll for her sister’s upcoming 9th birthday.

But, while I may not have been the target demographic for purchasing an American Girl Doll on that fine March day, I don’t regret a single thing. It was like reliving so many moments of my childhood: of holding my dolls, playing with their hair, and changing their outfits. And now, I’ve definitely gotten back into my American Girl Doll phase. I love to just sit with my doll and now I dream about taking a trip to any of the stores again. I’ve gotten so invested in all things American Girl in the past few months! So, with my now expansive knowledge, allow me to catch you up on what American Girl is currently up to, for all of you who maybe haven’t thought about it in 10+ years.

The current happenings at American Girl:

American Girl currently has seven collections of dolls. The first of these is the Bitty Baby line. Now, this hasn’t seen too many changes in recent years, but it’s still a line of American Girl brand baby dolls: a classic to start your little one off with. The line currently consists of six doll models, each available in blue, pink, or gray outfits.

Next is the Wellie Wishers line. The Wellie Wishers is a collection of six 14.5″ dolls, each with their own storyline. These fun dolls are also intended for a slightly younger audience, usually recommended for children 4 and up.

Then, what you’re all really interested in are the 18″ dolls. There are five collections of 18″ dolls at the moment. First, is the Create Your Own line, where you can actually go online and pick out all of the features you want your doll to have, usually with the intention to make the doll resemble you as closely as possible. But if you don’t want to design your doll, there is another classic option for look-alike dolls.

This is where the Truly Me collection comes in, similar to the Just Like Me collection some of you might be more familiar with, which was revamped into Truly Me in 2010. These are modern-day, unnamed dolls designed with the intention that you’ll be able to find one that looks similar to you. In an exciting turn of events, this line was just updated this past week. Most of the old dolls in this collection were retired and brand-new ones were brought in. There are now about twenty-seven Truly Me dolls, including four boy dolls.

They have also changed the styling of these dolls. There are now five “vibes” (artsy, sweet, sporty, strong, and wild), each with around five dolls per vibe. They also have all-new accessory packs to mix and match with each doll’s vibe. These are all some very exciting changes to go with the adorable new dolls.

Another exciting collection of modern-day 18″ dolls is the World By Us collection. This collection consists of three dolls (Maritza, Evette, and Makena) who take on modern real-world issues. This collection is so cool in my opinion as it really focuses on important topics such as climate, race, and immigration, with adorable dolls that you’re sure to love. In fact, Evette is the one that I got when I was in Chicago. This collection also has a really neat collaboration with Harlem’s Fashion Row designers Samantha Black, Kristian Lorén, and Nichole Lynel for two additional outfits for each of the three dolls.

Also in the theme of named modern-day dolls, we have the Girl of the Year dolls. The doll for 2022 is Corinne Tan. Corinne’s line also includes her younger sister Gwynn, another 14.5″ doll. And their line is also associated with the foundation AAPI Youth Rising, tying in these dolls’ stories with a real-world impact through donations to the foundation. In addition to Corinne’s line, American Girl has continued Kira Bailey’s line. Kira was the Girl of the Year for 2021, and her line is still active, which is not usual for Girl of the Year dolls, which usually are available within their year, and then discontinued. And while the 2020 Girl of the Year, Joss Kendrick, has also technically been discontinued, some small pieces of her collection are still available in limited quantities such as her accessory pack.

And then, of course, there is the Historical doll collection, which American Girl is known for. There are currently thirteen Historical dolls being sold by American Girl. These include Kaya from 1764, Josefina from 1824, Addy from 1864, Samantha from 1904, Rebecca from 1914, Kit from 1934, Nanea from 1941, Molly from 1944, Maryellen from 1954, Melody from 1964, Julie from 1974, Courtney from 1986, and Claudie from 1922. Claudie is the newest Historical doll, released less than a month ago. I am personally so excited for her line. Claudie is so adorable and has such a fun collection with so many exciting outfits including three looks designed by Samantha Black with Harlem’s Fashion Row. Claudie also has a cause associated with her line as she has donation opportunities with the Harlem School of the Arts. So while there may be some new names in here that you don’t recognize, and there may be some of your childhood favorites missing from the current list, I guarantee you all thirteen of these dolls are adorable and have important stories to tell.

So… are you gonna get a new American girl doll now?

Or maybe break your old ones out of storage? I mean, to each their own, but I definitely think it’s worthwhile. Revisiting these childhood memories is like a breath of fresh air. It’s an innocent moment of joy in an otherwise chaotic world, taking you back to a time when the most important decisions in your life were about what dress your doll should wear that day. I know for me, I may be working on homework for five different classes at once, but I’m definitely going to be a little less stressed about it when I have my new bestie, Evette by my side.

So whether it’s American Girl Dolls or any other reminder of your childhood, maybe break those toys, and those dreams, back out. Do something today for your inner child. While it may not solve all your problems, it will at least lighten things a little bit. And we can all use a bit more lightness in our lives. That’s something we’re never too old for.

Emma Bergman

Bowling Green '25

Emma is a second year student, double majoring in psychology and Spanish. She's also a campus tour guide at BGSU. Emma is a bonified Swiftie, a former theatre kid, and an avid reader. She's a pisces sun, cancer moon, and virgo rising. Her favorite topic to write about is any and all kinds of media including movies, TV, music, and books