Nu Mood Jess, Cami, and a Transformation: The Evolution of My Favorite Doll by Sheilah Craft

Guest Post

It is no great secret that I am hopelessly and completely in love with Robert Tonner’s beautiful Cami dolls.  In fact, it is quite safe to say that I am addicted to Cami dolls.  She truly is the perfect doll in every sense of the word.  Her beauty, sweetness and innocence are incomparable.  Cami looks great in every outfit she wears, including those originally made for other dolls.  In fact, I look for pretty outfits for my play/companion Cami dolls; one such outfit was the “Degas” ballet costume made for the Clea Bella ballerina doll several years ago.  I had admired the outfit for years, and when one came up for sale on the doll boards, I bought it.  In the summer of 2011, after a serious spine surgery and while recuperating at home, I received the “Degas” outfit and immediately put it on Cythna, my 2010 blonde Cami companion doll.  The picture below was taken on July 24, 2011, a few days after my surgery; I thought then that the costume was made for Cythna–she is radiant and gorgeous in the delicate white and blue satin and tulle confection.  She looks like a prima ballerina, as if she had stepped out of a dreamy Degas painting, such as the painting that inspired the costume.


Only one thing dejected me that day–Clea Bella’s pink toe shoes do not, of course, fit Cami’s fashion feet.  Yes, Cythna is beautiful and perfect, and a vision straight out of a Degas painting.  But she could not truly be my beautiful ballerina.  I wrapped the toe shoes in tissue paper and tucked them away, hoping against all hope that there would come a day when Cami could become my beautiful ballerina.  All she needed were en pointe feet.  Other Tonner dolls, such as my wigged Monica Merrill, have interchangeable feet, so the possibility of en pointe feet for Cami was not truly so far-fetched and unprecedented.


Flash forward to January 25, 2012 and the Tonner Doll Company product reveal, including the NuMood line that features three body types and interchangeable hands and feet, as well as some classic face sculpts.  One NuMood doll in particular instantly caught my eye: NuMood Jess with the dance/ballerina body.  Jess’s face sculpt?  Cinderella!  As you probably know, Cami’s face sculpt is the resized Cinderella face sculpt!  Jess and Cami are practically twins, especially since Jess, like Cami, has a smaller bust and slimmer body.  I ordered Jess immediately.  She was beautiful and graceful in the promotional pictures, and I knew she would be even more so in person.  She is indeed.


Jess arrived, magically, on Cami’s second anniversary date, January 31, 2012!  As soon as I unpacked her, I put her in the “Degas” costume.  Her en pointe feet were exactly what I had longed for on a Cami.  Several months after longing to put them on Cythna’s feet, I took the pink toe shoes out, unwrapped them, slipped them on Jess’s feet, and laced them.  Finally, I had the closest doll I could ever have to my longed-for Cami ballerina.  I am amazed and thrilled that Tonner Doll Company created Jess!


Comparing the two pictures, of Cythna and Jess wearing the “Degas” costume, we can see the similarities in the two dolls: the Cinderella face sculpt, the small-busted body, and the blonde hair.  I was thrilled!  I adore Jess–she is stunning and graceful, everything a ballerina should be, of course. 

However, my brain did not let go of the thought of a Cami ballerina.  Cinderella, Cami, and Jess may share a face sculpt, but they are, after all, three separate dolls with their own unique identities and story lines.  I pondered whether to find a Cami head and transplant it to a Jess body, but I knew the fit would not be perfect due to the slight size differences between Cami’s head and Jess’s head.  Then I had another idea, and I followed through on that one to create my pseudo Cami ballerina, my dream doll.

I bought a second NuMood Jess and a wig that would change Jess’s look and persona.  I scalped Jess–yes, I cut that lovely blonde hair–and pulled out the roots of the hair plugs.  I glued the new wig onto her head, dressed her in a pink ballet outfit and pink toes shoes, and created a new name and identity for Jess #2.  Her name is Fawn Adelaide Orabella Legh DeBold, and she is the fourth of my so-called Cami Cousins; she joins my beloved Cythna, Audrea (Knave of Hearts), and Lady Eleanor (2011 Platinum) in the companion doll world which Cami inspired me to create two years ago.  Like her three cousins, Fawn bears the names of some of my female ancestors.  In the following picture, we can see that the transformed, wigged Jess truly resembles Cami.


First, I must mention how utterly charming the Tonner NuMood dance body is, with its graceful hands, body sculpt, and en pointe feet.  Fawn can do what Cami cannot do—be the beautiful prima ballerina.  She can strike the poses, wear the costumes and shoes, and create that imaginary world that was first awakened in me when I saw a performance of The Nutcracker when I was a young girl.  I have several ballerina dolls, including some gorgeous Madame Alexander ballerinas, and will probably always have a fondness for ballerina dolls.  Still, nothing could quiet the desire in me to have a Cami ballerina—until I transformed NuMood Jess into Fawn.


Fawn’s resemblance to her Cami Cousins is more striking when you realize that the wig was chosen primarily because it is the same long, crimped style as that of the first four Cami dolls.  The color chosen is the chestnut brown color of the rarest Cami doll, the Doll Market exclusive Cami Basic–Chestnut.  For comparison, below is a picture of Cami Basic–Chestnut, followed by a close-up picture of the newly-christened Fawn.


I am hopelessly, eternally devoted to Cami, and I adore Jess.  However, Fawn is the hybrid ballerina Cami that I had longed for, dreamed of, and pined over.  She is, like the Cami dolls who inspired her, one perfect doll.  I am thrilled to add Fawn to my Cami Kingdom and companion doll circle.  My Cami Kingdom is blissful and copacetic, thanks to the creation of NuMood Jess and her en pointe feet.

Text and photographs copyright 2012 by Sheilah R. Craft; copy or use is strictly prohibited without prior written consent of copyright holder


Thank you so much Sheilah for this wonderful guest post! You can visit her blog writings on her three doll blogs:

The Cami Kingdom reference site:
Cythna’s Introspections:
The Dolls of My Life:

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