Talia Leighton | Custom American Girl Doll (Rebecca Rubin doll with added face paint and Beautifully Custom wig)
Introducing my newest custom doll, Miss Talia Leighton!
I never actually got a chance to take the first one out of the bag, so I didn’t know just how amazing these Beautifully Custom wigs are until the second one arrived last week! I am so impressed!! It’s thick, super soft, and luxurious – it’s nicer than human-sized wigs I’ve owned! It’s easily the highest quality doll wig I’ve worked with.
That said, it was also probably the most difficult I’ve tried to glue on. The wig cap fits perfectly, but because it’s such a perfect fit, it’s also really snug. Even with my husband’s help, it was hard to position the wig for a side part and pull it into place (maybe we’re just not skilled enough lol). I didn’t get her hair part over as much as I wanted, but at this point, I’m just happy to have the wig glued at all.
After putting the wig on, I realized how much she reminded me of Rapunzel with her greenish eyes and long, blonde hair – which works for me, because Rapunzel is one of my absolute favorite Disney princesses! So, I decided to make her even more Rapunzel-y by adding a few tiny freckles across her nose. This time I used more fabric medium than paint, making the freckles turn out a little more varied and realistic, but unfortunately also making them a bit shiny. In a certain light, they almost look like sparkles haha… Oh well, she can just have magic freckles instead of magic hair!
Then she needed a name. I decided I didn’t want to make her a character doll like I did Marinette, so “Rapunzel” was out. I almost went with a flower name, like “Calla” or “Lily,” but wasn’t totally sold. Then I thought it might be nice to have a nod to another of my favorite fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty. One of my favorite “modern” retellings, A Kiss in Time, by Alex Flinn, has a green-eyed Sleeping Beauty, which I thought would be very fitting.
In Flinn’s version, Sleeping Beauty is named “Talia,” which is a nod to the earliest versions of the Sleeping Beauty tale. Like many fairy tales, the earliest version of Sleeping Beauty is pretty freaking terrible. Without going into too much detail, the charming prince we’re used to is actually a womanizing king who takes advantage of the young, sleeping maiden, and later kills his wife so he can be free to marry her. GOOD STUFF.
I debated using “Talia” because of its origins, but the modern story is one of my favorites, and I do really like the name, so I decided to go ahead and use it. And, as my husband pointed out, every name is going to have some kind of negative connotation to it. In this case, the crappy version is so antiquated, no one really knows about it (yay!).
For her last name, I thought about tying in another fairy tale reference, like using the last names of some of my favorite fairy tale authors, but nothing fit quite right. Then I thought about using a painter’s name (a nod back to Rapunzel) and I immediately thought of Edmund Blair Leighton, one of my absolute favorite artists. I first learned about him when I was in college. I used to hang out at the library before class (mostly reading their copy of 101 Stories of the Great Ballets), and one morning I came in and they had posters of his and a few other artists’ works on display. I saw The Accolade and fell head over heels. There’s still a giant poster of it hanging in my old room at my parents house.
I’m not sure what Talia’s backstory will be yet (as you can see, it took forever just to come up with her NAME!), but I might have her do something with painting or storytelling. Maybe I’ll rewatch Rapunzel or skim through A Kiss in Time to get a few ideas… 😉