Monday, August 5, 2013

Hearts For Hearts Girls Shola Review

As promised, here is my review of the new Hearts For Hearts Girl doll, Shola.  To read my review of Mosi, click HERE. :)  

The front of Shola's box

Side view

The back of her box.  I still find it odd that Shola is the only one not pictured on her box. :}

Other side view

My Shola came in a very crunched box, but thankfully, Shola herself wasn't damaged.

The inside cover of her box.

The Shola prototype image that has been online.  As with Mosi, there are several differences between this version and the actual Shola...but more on that later.

Here's Shola in her box.

As I mentioned before with Mosi, Shola does not come with an online game code.

Here is the girl-sized bracelet that comes with her.

Shola's storybook

A short message explains how the charity part of the purchase works.

And here's Shola, who finally decided to turn and face the camera. ;)

Her packaging is very simple, and I found her very easy to get out.  I didn't get a picture of it this time around, but Shola also came in a clear plastic insert like Mosi's.  

The inside of her box has a map with the location of Shola's home.

Here's Shola, free from her box.  As you can see from the picture, her head covering does not have the purple lace trim at the front pictured in her prototype photo.

Her earrings are little gold balls.

Shola's gown.  The material is a much simpler, thinner material than the material originally shown.  

Still, there are some nice details on her bodice.

Like many of the other Hearts For Hearts Girls, Shola has a set of soft, rubbery bracelets.

And here is one of the main differences between Shola's prototype and the actual doll.  Originally, Shola had high boots like the ones pictured on the inset of her box above.  At the 2013 toy fair, she was shown with pink pants and tan sandals similar to Rahel's, as seen in this article from Doll Diaries.  This article also gives you a better idea of some of the other changes in Shola's overall costume.  (Interestingly enough, you'll notice in this article that the Mosi on display has her real feather, while the Mosi in the box behind her has her plastic one.)  

The final result of Shola's look is what you see above: bare legs and purple ballet flats.  The main problem I have with this is that Shola's bare legs go against her culture's beliefs.  And unfortunately, this could really alienate the people group that this particular doll represents.  

In all fairness to the Hearts For Hearts company, when someone mentioned this on their Facebook page, they were very apologetic.  They explained that the boots in the prototype had been too expensive to produce, and they were working on making a longer version of Shola's dress that would be more culturally appropriate.  

I understand that sometimes the cost of production forces a change in the product, but it's a shame that they weren't able to come up with a better solution in the first place.  While I personally am not offended by bare legs (and let's be honest, I usually dress these dolls in different outfits anyway), I could see this causing them a lot of headaches in the long run.  When the whole point of a doll line is to raise awareness about the needs in other cultures, having a doll that is dressed in a way that contradicts the culture it represents kind of defeats the purpose.  While many American customers might not know or mind, customers from Afganistan or customers who practice Islam certainly will.

Another look at Shola's bracelet...

...and storybook.

A look at the inside of her book.

Shola's plastic comb and mini hair bandie.  Once again, I would not recommend using this comb on Shola's hair.  Doll brushes with wire tines (is that the right word?) like this one are the best for doll hair.

Here's a view of Shola from the back.  

As you can see, her hair is quite long underneath.

So let's take a closer look at Shola's head covering.  According to my research, I believe the technical term for it is a hijab.  (Please correct me if I'm wrong.)  I was very nervous about taking it off, hoping I'd be able to get it back on, but my Shola had a few loose hairs in front that I couldn't fix without removing it.

Shola's hijab connects at the back of her head with Velcro.

The part that crosses her chest is held in place by a small thread.  I went ahead and cut the thread loose so I could completely remove the hijab.

Once the thread was loose, I was able to pull the side of the hijab around.

When it all hangs behind her, like in this picture, it almost makes me think of the scarves the girls wore in "Fiddler on the Roof" (I know, wrong culture). ;)

The hijab is long and flowing when it's not wrapped around her head.

It fits over her head and has a white elastic piece that goes underneath her ponytail to hold the whole thing in place.

And here she is without her head covering...with all those little flyaway hairs. :}

Another look at her long ponytail.

The only way I could straighten her hair was to take it completely out of the ponytail.  There were also two strands of hair in the front that were connected at the nape of her neck with a rubber band (you can see them in the next picture), so I took those out too.  I think she looks quite nice with her hair loose and flowing. :)

And here's something I forgot to do with the last review: a picture of the identifying marks at the back of the head.

I wanted to try some different clothing on her, so I undressed her completely, except for her underwear.  (Side not here: I think this is the first Hearts For Hearts Girl I've purchased that actually had underwear.)  I was a bit disappointed to notice that her body color was much darker than the rest of her.  It was hard to capture the difference on film.  You notice it the most when comparing her arm color to her body color, or in the previous picture of the back of her head.  Notice the difference in color between her head and her neck?

I decided I wouldn't fret too much about this since it wouldn't show as much when she was dressed.  (I also didn't feel like packaging her right back up just as soon as I got her.)  However, I have heard of at least one other instance of this happening.  Another customer mentioned the skin tone issue on Shola on the Hearts For Hearts Facebook page (I've linked it again so you don't have to search the post for my last link).  Hearts For Hearts responded quickly and told her to contact the company.  I do know from experience that they have excellent customer service, so I'm sure if the difference in skin tone bothers you, you could get a replacement.  HERE is the page on the Hearts For Hearts Girls website that shows their contact information.

As I was photographing Shola, I noticed that she reminded me a bit of one of my favorite Bollywood actresses, Kajol Devgan.  Her eyebrows are almost exactly the same:

Shola would be a childhood version of Kajol, obviously, and it's not an exact likeness, but there are enough similarities in the skin tone, hair and eye color, eyebrows, and facial structure to make them look at least similar to one another.

Because of this, I decided to try Nahji's tea party outfit on her, just for fun.

I think the result is quite pleasing (although I've been told by a friend from India that this outfit would not be worn by a child Shola or Nahji's age). 

Now if I could just get an outfit for her like this one. :)  Of course, since we've been on the subject of cultural accuracy, I'm not sure how culturally accurate it would be for a child to wear this. :}

I absolutely love Kajol and Shahrukh in this song from "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham", and I love her beautiful yellow outfit. :)  (To see my earlier review of this movie, click HERE.)

So, my overall thoughts on Shola?  I think she's absolutely adorable. :)  Her hair, eyes and coloring are all very pretty.  I love how versatile she is.  With her coloring, she could represent many different nations.  I'm disappointed by her outfit, especially because her bare legs go against what she would wear culturally if she were a real girl.  The outfit also lacks the rich look of her prototype.  And while not all of the Shola dolls may have the inconsistent skin tone mine did (and it wasn't a huge bother for me), it is something I have to take into consideration.  On the whole, though, the doll herself is great, and her hair is beautiful (which is a relief after Mosi's less than perfect hair).

Because of the things I mentioned, I think Shola gets a 4.5 out of 5. ;)  I felt that with her superior hair, she needed to score at least a little higher than Mosi.  I do hope in the future, however, that the Hearts For Hearts company and Playmates Toys will pay more attention to cultural detail.  

For those of you (like me) who pretty much just buy the dolls for themselves, Mosi and Shola are still overall great additions to your Hearts For Hearts collection, especially since it sounds like not all Mosi dolls out there have the same hair issues as mine (thanks for making me aware of that in the comments, Char).  :)

And for those of you who love the dolls but wish their attire was a little more detailed and accurate, I have the Etsy shop for you! :)  Wren Feathers features unique and beautiful patterns for Hearts For Hearts Girls, American Girl dolls, Karito Kids, and more, and it looks like she takes custom orders as well.  Disappointed by Shola's less than stellar outfit?  Well check this one out! :)  She had a great dress pattern for Mosi as well that no longer appears in her store, but definitely save her as a seller.  Maybe it will come back! :)  

I hope you enjoyed hearing a little more about these two sweet dolls.  Which one is your favorite? :)


Sparkie said...

She's gorgeous! I might wait to get her until they make the longer dress, but that picture of her with her hair down makes me want to order her right now! :)

OurAGAdventures said...

Very detailed! Thank you! :0)

I now see she is out of stock on Amazon and personal sellers are selling her for 99 dollars.....hmmm..has anybody found Shola in a local Target yet? I haven't D:

Did you have trouble getting her headscarf back on?

One thing I don't really care for in the H4H line is that all the dolls come with those rubber bracelets...where people in Afghanistan get those? And purple shoes too! You could easily make sandals though by tracing her feet around craft foam, and taping on some ribbon I suppose. And adding some spare fabric to the bottom of her dress....with tape so it would temporary. Hmmm....

Thank you again for a very detailed review! :0)

Caitlin Dundas said...

I LOVE HER!!! I think I'll choose her, it's a shame she doesn't have the same colour of hair as mosi but it's not too bad... She's really pretty though! Now to find grace a sister...

The dolls! said...

My fave is Shola, who I have decided to save up for once I pay back a friend, and when the price comes down.

Anonymous said...

Hi I think Shola my favorite hearts for hearts girl ever i have been waiting all day for your review and have been checking like every five minuetes to see if your post was up i was super happy to see this i really love your blog

beastsbelle said...

She is really pretty, Sparkie. :) I'm not sure how long you'd have to wait for the longer dress, just to let you know. It does sound more like a "still in negotiation" type situation, so who knows how long it will be. :(

OurAGAdventures, I haven't seen any in my local stores yet.

On the Hearts For Hearts Girls Facebook page, they did recently mention that some are on their way to the ToysRUs and Target online sites, so you might keep your eye out for her there.

I feel so silly...yes, I was able to get the headscarf back on with no problem...I just forgot to mention that in the post! :}

Good idea on the sandals, by the way. :)

Yay! Glad you like her, Caitlin. :) It's always nice when you know for sure which doll you want to go for. ;)

You'll love her, The dolls! :) Hope you can get her soon. :)

Glad you're enjoying the blog, Anonymous. Sorry it took me a while to get the post up. Typing a review post with three girls bouncing around in the room can be a bit difficult. :}

Mika Vall said...

I'm a HUMONGOUS Bollywood fan. My mom and I watch the movies every weekend,

Anonymous said...

It's funny how u mentioned the authencity of najhi and shola's dresses. I don't think muslims in america would be offended by shola's dress as most muslims in america are very open. However, I do think they should have went for some level of authencity. Also, najhi's sari is supposed to be a dance costume. A traditional Barthanatyam dance costume would look like this:

beastsbelle said...

Hi Mika. How fun to discover yet another Bollywood fan! :) My husband was the one that first found the movies on Netflix, and he got me hooked! ;)

Thank you for your thoughts, Anonymous. The dance costume you linked to is beautiful! It would have been neat if Nahji had come with something like THAT! ;)

Anonymous said...

Have you been able to figure out Shola's facemold? I think it looks a little like Lauryce's. I'm probably wrong, though.

Caitlin Dundas said...

I know that feeling... You have no idea how long it took me to decide to het grace... I can't wait until your answer vlog!

beastsbelle said...

You know what, Rose Grace? I am completely stumped on these new dolls. :} Shola's mold does look similar to Lauryce's...I'll have to compare them side-by-side. :) And Mosi's does look an awful lot like Consuelo's, too. I'll have to get back to you on that. ;)

Caitlin, I did a "practice run" of my vlog yesterday, just so I'd have an idea of what I was going to say. I just finished clearing my camera of all of its current pics, and my camera battery is charging. Once that's done, I'll get started! :) I have FORTY FOUR questions to answer, so I have a feeling I'll be doing a small series of vlogs instead of just one. ;)

Anonymous said...

Mosi's cute, but I LOVE Shola! I am disappointed about the lack of pants or other ankle-covering garment, though. Like you, I'm personally not offended by bare ankles, but, in the interest of cultural authenticity, H4H should have covered them. :( Oh well, this just means I get to have some fun making a pair of pants/leggings for her. ;)
Thank you for the fun review and the great pictures! I'd seen some other pictures of Shola, but the lighting was either bad or the angle was funny, and I wasn't quite sold on her yet. After seeing your pictures, though, I know she's definitely going on my wish list! :)
Thanks again!

--Kate :)

Amber Spaulding said...

she's adorable! i don't have any of the heart for hearts girls dolls but Shola would be a great first doll from the line to star my collection. i love her eyes.

beastsbelle said...

So glad I could help, Kate. :) Shola is a cutie...I'm sure you'll be happy with her. :)

Hi Amber! Be careful...once you start collecting Hearts For Hearts Girls it's hard to stop! ;) Shola would be an excellent doll to start with, though. :)

Mika Vall said...

It's awesome to know that at least somebody likes bollywood movies. Have you watched Kal ho naa ho? It's really good!


All AG said...

Did anyone notice that her pre self is on herr storybook instead of the new one? XD

beastsbelle said...

Hi Mika. I have seen Kal ho naa ho. I liked it overall, aside from a few content issues, but it made be sob my eyes out, especially at the end. :} I was pretty mad at Shahrukh's character for convincing Preity's character to fall for someone else, even though he was trying to do what he thought was best. It didn't help that it was the first movie I watched after Veer Zaara, so I totally wanted a happy ending. ;) (Sorry for the spoilers, anyone reading this who hasn't watched the movie! I tried to be as vague as possible.) :}

Mika Vall said...

Yeah, it was so sad. Although, it's kinda hard to keep up with the subtitles and the pictures! Lol! ;)

beastsbelle said...

I actually had a head start with the subtitles. Hubby and I like to watch movies together after the girls go to bed, but if we play them too loudly, the girls don't sleep (they'd rather see what Mommy and Daddy are doing). ;) To solve this we usually put in a movie on low volume and watch it with subtitles, so I've gotten pretty used to watching movies and reading subtitles at the same time. ;)

Mika Vall said...

;) lol! Hey, would you mind checking out my doll blog- and telling me what you think? It would be great to get advice from such an awesome blogger!

OnceUpon ADollCollection said...

Wow! Shola really does look a lot like the pictures of the actress! She is a very pretty doll, but I have wanted Lauryce for a long time. I missed her when you posted that they were available on Amazon. She is back in stock again for $34.99 with free Prime shipping directly from Amazon. Was that how much you got her for? Will she be available in Target again? Just wondering if I should order her now or wait to get her at Target and save $10.

Anonymous said...

OnceUpon ADollCollection:
Last week I was able to find Lauryce, Shola, and Mosi at my local Target. They had 2 of each of the girls, so they're definetly being shipped out. :) Hope that helps.

Thanks for the review of Mosi. Now I know to make her a pair of tights before I get her. :)

beastsbelle said...

No problem, OnceUponADollCollection. Glad to help. :)

Mika Vall said...

Will you? PLEASE?

beastsbelle said...

So sorry for making you wait, Mika. :( I just stopped by and left a comment. :)

Every once in a while when I get a lot of comments, I end up accidentally overlooking one. Sorry about that! :{

Anonymous said...

She really is adorable. I Love her silky locks. It's a shame she isn't dressed like a Muslim girl in Afghanistan. :-( What a shame! Beastsbelle, if you find out that they are shipping to the UK please reply. I would like to start a collection with some of these little cuties :D Thanks once again and happy summer (thouh its raining here)

beastsbelle said...

Hi Anonymous! Thanks for stopping by. :) I is a shame that they didn't dress Shola more accurately. She is adorable, though. :)

I'm not sure if they ship to the UK or not. These dolls are actually getting pretty hard to find even over here in the US. The same two Shola dolls have been in my Target for months. None of the other dolls have showed up.

If I hear anything about UK shipping, I'll leave you another comment. :)

Anonymous said...

Although it is disappointing that Shola's outfit doesn't fit her culture, her outfit would not offend any of the Muslims I know!, I think that people have a tendency to stereotype Muslims more than members of other religions, without realizing that Muslims come from many countries and cultures. The (female)Muslims I know dress just like everyone else, but also wear a Hijab.

beastsbelle said...

Thanks for this input, Anonymous. :)

Golden Freddy said...

I got Shola today! Mine does not have the skin tone difference (she's probably kind of old stock, she was in the older box). She has such a sweet face! But without her dress, her legs look so long...

beastsbelle said...

Congrats, Golden Freddy! :) Shola is such a beautiful doll.

It's interesting hearing about the varieties between dolls, too. It's nice to know that not all of them have mismatched skin tones.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Kathleen said...

I know this is a really old post, but I wanted to share something with you, so I hope it is ok if I comment on here. :)
We're going to change her from Muslim Pashtun of Afghanistan to Muslim Pashtun of Pakistan, though, because I absolutely love Malala Yousafzai, and we want her to be modeled after her. :)
She's getting her on Friday. Argh I'm so excited!
Anything we should know before we get her?

beastsbelle said...

Congratulations, Kathleen! :D Shola is a beautiful doll. I'm sure you'll love her. :)

Nothing comes to mind that I should warn you about. I know some people have borrowed clothing from the other Hearts for Hearts Girls dolls (such as Nahji's stretch pants and Lilian's boots from her sleep set) to compensate for Shola's bare legs, just in case you need some ideas. ;)

Enjoy your beautiful new doll! :)

Kathleen said...

Thanks! She came one day early, and we're obsessing over her cause I've wanted her since the Toy Fair 2013, because I saw a post about them then. Trust me, I do!

OK, I can draft my own patterns pretty easily, so we're planning on making her boots and some more clothes that are longer, especially some shalwar kamiz (plural, but I don't know how to spell it if there is more than one.) Unfortunately as of today we have no other H4H dolls, and our Target and Toys-R-Us don't have any of the clothes, so we have to sew or buy more of the dolls to get other clothes.

Actually though, when I got her I told my friend about H4H, and (she's 15 and just stopped playing with her dolls about a year ago) she said she has Rahel and that she can give her to us if we want her. :D I had to write a persuasive essay (the things I do for dolls) but my mom said yes and she's bringing her over tomorrow! I'm off to see if you have a Rahel review!

And just so you know, World Vision is a Christian organization, so that's another thing that makes e love the dolls.


Kathleen of the looooong comments