American Girl, keep giving us Dolls of Color for Girls of the Year.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Casual Friday: Abebi Nicole "Nikki" Rhodes

Nikki can't help being gorgeous.
My birthday was on Tuesday, making me the illustrious age of thirty-three years old. And still not too old for a doll. So I decided that my Casual Friday would be on one of my prettiest, most delicate dolls, most photogenic dolls. The one who I'm extremely careful with because of how delicate and lovely she is.

Meet Nikki Rhodes. 

And that's when Neth fell in love with "Benny."
The summer of 2010, Iplehouse--a ball jointed doll company that doesn't just do white and pale dolls, that had been on my radar for some time--released a limted edition doll called "Benny", a Iplehouse JID1 with brown skin and brown eyes and African styled clothing. I fell in love. With a decent bonus from my then job and a promise to my husband that I would swear off AG for damn near the rest of the year (which had to be broken when Felicity's retirement was announced) I placed an order and paid in decent layaway methods. I made the last payment that August but, since I paid extra for light reflective eyes that were on backorder, she was delayed. They got them in early October and with air speed shipping she arrived with her clothes, jewelry, and extras2 right before my thirtieth birthday.

I named her Abebi Nicole Rhodes. My husband picked the name Nicole when I told him to give me a girl's name with a N sound. Rhodes came out of a book about black people in portraits before the Civil War. Abebi is a Yoruban name that means "We asked for her, and she was given to us."

One of her first pictures.
I wanted her to be perfect right out of the box, and she was and has been since. The day I got her I proceeded to snap picture after picture of her, and then figured out where and how to set her up so that she couldn't get damaged. She's made of high quality resin with a professional face up, so I am extremely careful with her so that I don't drop her and break her or chip her. When she travels, I always carry her in a padded shoulder bag and under no circumstances is she to be out of my hands. I don't want to say how much I paid for her because it feels rude to talk about the cost of things--if you know BJD you know they're expensive--but I feel she was worth every dollar paid for her.

Sized up to an AG.
She's 43 cm tall--or a little under 18 inches tall. This makes her tinier than an AG doll, and she is much thinner and more curvy. So no, she couldn't wear their clothes and they can't wear hers. Nikki is now about sixteen years old, and fancies herself as an elegant model of stylish, but not super frilly clothes.

Doll joints. And stand.
Nikki is highly articulated. She's jointed at the head, shoulders, double jointed elbows, wrists (with cover rings) hips--with several peices--thighs, double jointed knees, and jointed ankles. She is cord strung--there's elastic cord running from her ankles all the way up to the hook holding them, and from one wrist to the other through her torso. She's wigged in such a way that I can swap her hairstyles on the fly. She has fine eyelashes and I paid extra to have eyes that reflect light near realistically. While some people enjoy doing face ups over and over, I generally get a face done and never change it. I wanted her to come with the beautiful look of the original picture.

Ladybug earrings.
She has pierced ears, so she can wear hook earrings. Not only do I give her pairs of my own to wear, but I sometimes make sets semi just for her.

Black looks good on everyone.
Nikki is of a rather unique shape. MSD3 clothing can be hit and miss, and shoes can often run too big if I order standard MSD sized ones. I generally either order from Iplehouse directly, err on things being a little big rather than too small, and make her some things. Due to her fragility, I make damn sure she is secure in her doll stand before I stand her up to sew, or--more reassuringly, sit her  in a chair when at rest. More on that in a bit.

She wears headscarves beautifully.
Nikki also allows me the fun of swapping her hair/ She has five different wigs--all dark brown, but of different styles. She also wear headscarves very well.

Kanani would like to think this is her chair, but she'd be highly mistaken.
While Nikki is smaller than a standard AG, she is sized to their furniture nearly perfectly. For display, I keep her in either one of Addy's chairs (I am tempted to buy just a single chair as a replacement if that's still a thing that can be done) or Kanani's lounge chair on my desk. I have placed her on everything from Felicity's bed to one of the horses styled for18" dolls.
And now, a gallery of Nikki being pretty. She's really goddamn photogenic. I also post pictures on my eljay and on Tumblr here and there.


Anything is possible when your doll is so damn gorgeous.
Nikki was worth every bit of money paid for her. I fell in love with her before I even ordered her, and she is the jewel of my non-AG collection.  I love to pose her, take her out for pictures, dress her up (and have her barely put up with my shit when I do so in some cases,) and let her just be pretty.

It's really hard to get one just like her. Iplehouse does open ordering once a month, where you could customize a doll pretty much like her, but BJD don't come cheap and I will probably not pay much for a doll again like I did her. Nikki is a beautiful doll that seems to just capture the light every time I photograph her, and interact with the world in a way that whispers elegance. A girl only turns thirty once, and she couldn't have been a better present.


1 JID stands for Juvenile Iplehouse Doll. BJDs have varying sizes. Most companies use their own independent sizing terms.
2 She didn't come with the bucket, staff, or apple. 
3 While companies have their own terms, the terms used by collectors are based on the Volks Dollfies. MSD (Mini Super Dollfie) generally cover dolls from about 40cm to 45 cm tall. 


  1. Wow. Just...wow. Nikki is pretty, beautiful, gorgeous--all the words in the thesaurus and then some! If I owned a doll like her I'd be terrified to even touch her, that's why I'm so grateful to doll lovers such as yourself who have the courage, and post pictures for us all to see.

    Thanks for the eye-banquet!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing these photos. Nikki is beyond stunning, and it is such a pleasure to see her in all sorts of environments and styles. Does she fit in Wilde Imagination clothes?

    1. I don't know, but I don't think she does because of the width of her hips.

  3. Nikki is absolutely stunning! It never ceases to take my breath away how lifelike Iplehouse dolls can look. In some pictures with the headscarf she reminds me of that famous National Geographic picture of the Afghan girl - of course she does not really resemble her, but there is a similar intensity in her eyes and in her expression, something that hits you deep inside.

  4. She is BEAUTIFUL. In every single one of those pictures is amazing! Thank you for the pics.

  5. Saw your post on tumblr. I see you are in fact capable of posting your dolls without shitting on other people dolls (that cute little quip about how your girl is "so much better than those pale spoiled milk skinned heaux!!!1!"). I encourage you to keep it up, as there's more than enough of people shitting on other's dolls for really stupid reason in the BJD community.

    1. Hi, I tend to refer to other pale emo looking lanky ruffle butt milky skinned BJD as "heaux," if you don't like it then you are not in for a treat.

  6. Would you recommend any of these dolls by the company for a very careful and delicate 12 almost 13 year old?

    1. That's something only their parents can know.

  7. Nikki is GORGEOUS!


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