Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Four of Nine American Teens

In April of this year, under the enabling influence of a Male Doll World post, I purchased three American Teen dolls.  Until reading that post, I had not heard of this series of dolls which have a box date of 2001.

These 10-inch, all-vinyl dolls have a stocky build, including the girls.  Their arms are jointed above the elbow, but are only rotational in movement.  They do not bend.   Their upper thighs have the same rotational joint feature.  All are uniquely dressed in hip-hop style clothing and hairstyles.  Each display box has a backdrop of the inner city.

My initial three:

American Teen Benjamin wears an American Teen black and red fleece hoodie, camouflage pants, black boots; has cornrowed hairstyle (see profile closeup).  Benjamin is from Washington, D.C., wants to start an Internet business but will first get an MBA to ensure his success.

Benjamin's cornrows

Anthoney and Benjamin share the same head sculpt; their different hairstyles and facial screenings create different looks.  Anthoney has locs, representing his Jamaican heritage.  He wears a sports jersey over a blue tee, short denim pants, blue and white sneakers.  Chain necklaces and bracelet and a blue headband complete his sports enthusiast look. Anthoney plans to travel after finishing high school.  He likes to surf and scuba dive.  Wants to learn bar tending.
See Anthoney's loc's better by clicking the image to enlarge.

Dominique is dressed stylishly in multicolored scarf, purple turtleneck, purple pleather jacket, acid-washed denim jeans, white sneakers, and gold hoop earrings.  Dominique has black rooted hair and brown eyes.  She wears a ring on her right middle finger.
Dominique is from East St. Louis, aspires to become a teacher, and is preparing to enter Dartmouth College on a scholarship.    After obtaining her degree, she plans to return to East St. Louis to give back to the community she has left for higher education. 

Benjamin and Anthoney were offered on eBay for $19.99.  Dominique was purchased from Amazon.com for $15.99.  Shipping, of course, was extra.  I believe Dominique's shipping was around $6 while the eBay seller charged $13 and change for the two boys.

My fourth American Teen, Tara, took a little longer to arrive.  This was due to sellers wanting more for her, for whatever reason.  Prices varied from $49.99 up.  I refused to pay as much.  Two weeks ago, a member of my doll group, Janice Larsen-Tyre, sent me a link to an Amazon.com offering for Tara for $29.99.  I slept on her for a week, but after seeing a recent eBay listing with a beginning bid of $99 for Tara, I scooted on over to Amazon.com and ordered the $29.99 doll.  My AA set of four of nine American Teen dolls is now complete.

Tara and Dominique share the same head sculpt, but Tara's multiple microbraids give her a different look.  She wears a white halter top with American flag logo; white-washed, bell-bottom denim jeans with rips at knees; white vinyl sneakers.  Silver chain bracelet, silver hoop earrings, and a red and white bandana headband are her accessories.  Tara has a tattoo around her navel. 

A school girl from Chicago, Tara is a songwriter and loves to sing.  Tara's SIL, Rochelle has a nail shop where Tara might work "next" summer.  Tara aspires to be a star.

While not visible in all full-length photos, each doll's box bears his/her name in the lower right-hand corner.  With the exception of Anthoney, parents are mentioned in each teen's profile.  Benjamin's dad is a university professor; his mom is heavily into religion.  Dominique is from a single-parent home.  Tara's parents both work for different departments of the City of Chicago.

This series includes:  Monica, Daniel, Travis, Zoe, and Alex, pictured above with the four AA dolls.  The other dolls' bios are unknown to me but Monica looks like a fashionista; Daniel appears to be from a rural area; Travis is a city boy; Zoe is obviously into goth; and Alex seems to have a heavy metal influence.


MDW's post shared the history of this doll series which is written on the back of each box.  For the sake of completeness, I will include it here as well.  You can stop reading if you read this on MDW's post.

According to the back of each doll's box:
The first American Teen was sketched by Dieter Mueller in a Hong Kong hotel room late in the evening of November 22, 2000.  A widely traveled artist and designer, Dieter's eye for detail had turned increasingly to American teenagers.  He found himself fascinated by their hugely divergent, constantly morphing styles.  He found these to be uniquely American.

The American Teen Collectors' Series represents teens at a specific moment in their lives, when identities and self expression are being explored.

Individuality.  Independence.  Regional Pursuits.  Personality.  Culture.  History.  Life.  Ultimately, all of these are reflected -- in the hair, the tattoos, the clothing, the jewelry, the fingernails -- of American Teens.  The American Teen Collectors' Series celebrates cultural diversity, individual expression, and the acceptance of differences among people.  Each Teen is marked by release date.  It is our hope that you keep our teen for a rainy day in 2025, as a reminder, of you, or of someone you know.  Did I really look like that???

Just for fun.


dbg

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11 comments:

  1. These are marvelous! Even more than the dolls I love their detailed back stories. I like how thick the doll bodies are too, but perhaps the designer only saw thick teens. Either way, I appreciate the different body mold.

    I would like to see Zoe and Alex in person.

    Good stuff, DBG!

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    1. Hey Muff,

      Not sure if Mueller was influenced by heavy-set teens or if he wanted to go against the usual anorexic-looking fashion doll grain... probably the latter.

      Not sure if Zoe is on eBay separately right now, but there is an auction for the complete set for $299.99 (What!?!). The seller used actual pictures of some dolls and what appears to be back-of-box images for others, Zoe included.

      There is a separate auction for Alex (for $99... again I ask, what?). You can see him here.

      Glad you enjoyed.

      dbg

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  2. Hello from Spain: American Teens is a very original collection. They are wearing an outfit very real. They are very similar to adolescents we see in our cities. Keep in touch

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    1. Hi Marta,

      The artist/doll maker was able to properly capture the essence of universal adolescent dress, a time when children are attempting to exert their independence and individuality.

      dbg

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  3. I've never heard of them either. They are interesting!

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  4. I was fortunate enough to see that same post. I am happy that you were able to add these to your collection. I love the sculpts, the style and the story behind them.

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    1. Thank you, Vanessa. It's always nice to complete a collection or part of a collection that you desire.

      dbg

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  5. Wow I have never heard/read abt them,thanks for sharing!!:)They look so different to me,maybe my eyes got used to model-like-doll looks in such a way that anything other than that seems strange to me lol!!

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    1. Hi Pam,

      I think we have all grown accustomed to the model-thin dolls that most major doll companies make. In reality, only models look like that.

      :-)

      dbg

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  6. Thanks for the photos of these dolls. I like seeing different faces and bodies. I think they got the hairstyles mostly right too.

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Thank you! Your comments are appreciated!