Friday, April 13, 2007

Fashion Dolls with more to Love!

Step aside, Barbie. A couple of extra-hip dollies with their extra-size hips are shaking their bon-bons on the toy scene. Meet Baltimore's own Tracy Turnblad and her mother, Edna. The plus-size plastic dolls are modeled after the characters portrayed by Nicole Blonsky and John Travolta in the musical comedy remake of Hairspray. It opens July 20. Getting a look at her doll for the very first time, Blonsky's heart melts. "I'm a doll!" Blonsky coos by phone from her New York home. "Oh, my goodness, it's me. It's adorable. The first thing I'm noticing are the chubby hands and short fingers. That may sound weird, but I have very small hands, and those are my hands." Blonsky, 18, also praises the doll's spot-on striped wig and outfit, a look Tracy sports in the Run and Tell That dance sequence that precedes her first encounter with Motormouth Maybelle (Queen Latifah ) in a record store in the 1960s-era movie. "I'm so glad they picked that look," Blonsky says. "When I was dancing in this, I felt a lot of energy. This is Tracy in her element." Travolta, who has been made into a doll before as his character Vinnie Barbarino in the 1970s Welcome Back, Kotter, is particularly taken with this new likeness. "It is very cute," he says by e-mail after getting a glimpse. The outfit is "perfect," and he can't wait to show it to his wife, Kelly Preston , and their daughter, Ella, 7, who "will really like it." Zac Efron, who shot to stardom in last year's High School Musical, plays Link Larkin, the beau of Tracy's rival. "Having a doll of yourself is completely surreal," he says. But he praises this diverse collection as a reflection of a movie that is loaded with "amazing, uplifting messages." Blonsky also praises the doll diversity. Having grown up in Great Neck, N.Y., Blonsky remembers dragging her mother to Toys 'R Us on weekends to go shopping for new dolls - only to be disappointed by the limited selection. "None of the dolls looked different than any of the other ones," she recalls. "I think the Tracy and Edna dolls will open a lot of kids' eyes out there - especially when they are on shelves next to Barbie and the Hilary Duff and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen dolls. "Now girls will have an opportunity to pick a different doll. Because let's face it, most of us don't look like the Size 2 shapes we see on TV. You can have just as much fun with Tracy and Edna - if not even more." The dolls hit stores in July and range in height from 10½ to 12 inches. Suggested retail: $15. Singing versions of Tracy and Link (in different costumes and hairstyles) will sell for $20-$25. And you might want to hurry to beat Blonsky to the shelves. Says the young star: "I told my mother, 'Guess what everybody's Christmas present is going to be?' There is not going to be one friend or family member in my life that does not have one of these."
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04/06/2007 07:00