When Múkami Kinoti Kimotho’s four-year-old daughter told her she didn’t think she was pretty, Kimotho knew she wanted to do more than just reassure her. Ever since the infamous “Doll Test” of the 1940’s, we’ve known that the toys children play with affect their own perception of race and traditional beauty. Even today, children of color are biased towards picture and dolls with light skin, and as Kimotho points out, black and brown girls in the U.S.A. spend almost 300 million dollars a year on “dolls that do not mirror their unique beauty, and in fact have a negative effect on their self-value and health.”
Anyone today need only walk down the average toy aisle to see that the options for children of color to have dolls that actually look like them are extremely limited. Kimotho is determined to change that.
She’s in the process of launching the “Royelles,” a line of gorgeous dolls — or ‘avatars’ — that will soon fill that gap. Each doll has her own style, and according to Kimotho, “They all have individual and distinct personas, life experiences and missions that represent the various dimensions of diversity that we are elevating and celebrating in girls. I also wanted to maintain the fun, adventurous aspect of play and that comes through powerfully, in the bright colors and patterns.”
The Royelles have truly been a labor of love for Kimotho. Over the last two years she’s worked with a global team “researching, designing, focus groups and conversations with moms, girls, creatives, more tweaking and perfecting that has led us to this stage where we are ready to proceed with production of the inaugural collection of 13 Royelles avatars.”
The name “Royelles” comes from the term Royal, of course, but with an intentionally feminine ending. “My goal was to redefine my daughter Zara’s and all our girls’ mindsets and attitudes,” Kimotho explains, “towards the idea of being a Princess, a Queen, or royalty, so that it aligned with the qualities and characteristic that she and all girls embody innately.” Since so many studies show that the types of dolls a child plays with can drastically affect their own body positivity (or lack thereof), the Royelles stand poised to make an incredibly meaningful impact on this newest generation.
“The fact that we can quite literally transform the lives of young girls and women alike is what has driven and kept me focused and determined throughout these past 24 months. Helping our girls redefine beauty, so that they see themselves as the standard, opening the windows of possibility for them to include anything they put their hearts and their minds to do…and empowering them with the knowledge that what sets them apart as unique, what makes them different, is in fact their superpower …that is what the #royellesrevolution is all about. And that is what makes this work so critically important and worthwhile.”
But they need some support. The Kickstarter campaign is coming to a close, and they need you to make this change happen. “My dream is to place 1 million Royelles avatars in the hands of 1 million girls – regardless of socio-economic status. I cannot do it alone. I need those who care about empowering our girls – to take a stand for them by backing our campaign.”
Your contribution to a campaign like this goes further than one doll. If the Royelles can launch successfully, they could make a difference that spans generations. Consider supporting their cause right now.
“It’s important that all our girls dream and aspire beyond boxes that society and convention may try to fit them in,” Kimotho tells us, “That they understand that they were created to be trailblazers, catalysts, innovators, everyday superheroes – #ROYELLES!”