Just in time for the holidays--the Michelle Obama doll will debut on Nov. 20, retailing for $12.99. The well-dressed 6-inch action figure is an homage to a fashionable icon, their maker says, but the White House doesn't appear to be making pre-orders. After snubbing some first-family kitsch in the past, Michelle Obama's camp is refusing to comment on her little likenesses.
The doll's outfits include the red and black dress the first lady wore on the night of the presidential election last November, the purple dress she wore when she and her husband exchanged a fist bump on the campaign trail, and the black and white floral-patterned dress she wore during an appearance on the daytime talk show "The View."
Made by New York-based toymaker Jailbreak Toys, the dolls will be available for purchase online, at Powell's Books, and in specialty stores across the country, according to Jailbreak vice-president Alyssa Sellers. Sellers told Yahoo! that the company's previous Barack Obama action figure has been a big seller in stores like Urban Outfitters and Borders, selling more than 200,000, and that the company hopes to enlist more mass-market retailers to carry their new product. Jailbreak founder Jason Feinberg told CNN that the company began developing the Michelle Obama doll months ago after it became apparent that the American people were "very enamored" with the first lady. The company's website describes the doll in the following way:If there's one person in America who has captured the public's imagination even more than Barack Obama, it's his wife Michelle. So following the runaway success of the Obama Action Figure we simply had to make Michelle because Barack and Michelle are a team in the best and truest sense of the word and you can't have one without the other.
Just like in real life, the Michelle Obama Action Figure isn't simply be [sic] a female counterpart to Barack. She's her own lady with her own style and energy and, of course, her own fashion sense.
The Michelle Obama doll is the latest in a long line of first family-related merchandise to hit the market. In addition to the Barack Obama action figure, other notable Obama-themed dolls include a Barack Obama bobble-head and Chia pet, and the controversial "Sweet Sasha" and "Marvelous Malia" dolls made by Ty, the same company that introduced Beanie Babies to the world. At the time of their release, Michelle Obama's spokesperson, Katie McCormick Lelyveld, condemned the products saying, "We feel it is inappropriate to use young private citizens for marketing purposes." Ty claimed at the time that the dolls were not inspired by the Obama daughters, and that the similarities in name and likeness to the girls were merely coincidental.
Previous first ladies have also had dolls made in their likeness; Laura Bush was honored with a doll equipped with a four-minute audio chip that played 25 different phrases in the former first lady's voice. Less flattering Hillary Clinton voodoo dolls were popular in the 1990s among conservatives disturbed with the prominent role she played in her husband's administration.