Collector Spotlight on Romona Jennings, a.k.a. romona4barbie
Hello. I was truly surprised and honored when I was told that I was considered for the collector spotlight. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my passion.
1. What was your first Barbie doll?
My first Barbie, to my recollection, was a Twist and Turn Barbie circa 1971 or 1972. I wish that I had pictures of myself as a girl with my dolls, but I don’t because many early childhood/family pictures were lost because we moved several times when I was young.
2. What is your favorite Barbie doll?
My favorite childhood Barbie is “Superstar Barbie.” I still remember my mother taking me to Macy’s to buy her all those years ago. As an adult collector, my favorite is the Byron Lars “Sugar” doll. I have most of his dolls. They are very artistic and dramatic.
3. What do you collect? Vintage? Mod? Modern?
I collect mostly vinyl dolls, lines such as the Museum line, the Basics, and high-end dolls like Fenella Layla, Galaxy and Medusa.
The oldest dolls that I have are the “Dolls of the World,” which I began collecting back in the late 80s. The Japanese doll was my first one from that line, and I still have her! I will always keep them because I love their cultural outfits and the fact that their knees bend.
I had stopped collecting in the 90s, but picked it back up in the 2000s after receiving a Barbie order catalog. Elizabeth Taylor’s “Father of the Bride” doll re-ignited my passion and, of course, that was around the time that the Internet was beginning to change society. I used to visit FAO Schwartz quite often back in the 80s, but with the advent of technology, I mostly purchase online. The Internet has also made me aware of how many other people feel passionate about Barbie.
4. How many dolls do you have in your collection?
I currently have around 220 Barbie dolls. I had a few more (approx. 350), but due to space concerns, as well as changing tastes, I have scaled them down. When I moved five years ago, I gave away about 100 dolls to a family shelter to cut down on my packing – they were becoming increasing heavy as I began to pack them ☺. I made three trips to deliver my dolls to the shelter, and the security officer (with a smile on his face) said, “Here comes the doll lady” when I came through the front door with more dolls! The ones that I gave away were mostly playline, 80s rockers, and the small Kelly & Tommy dolls. My collection had evolved more into adult collector items, such as the Elizabeth Taylor, Goddess of Beauty, Grand Entrance dolls.
5. Deboxer or NRFB? Tell us why?
99 % of my dolls are de-boxed because I have limited space; therefore I have my dolls in curio cabinets and shelves in my living room. I also like to create diorama scenes and take pictures of them from time to time. My “Tango” set is my only boxed “Barbie” couple.
I prefer to display like this because I don’t ever want my dolls in storage ever again. The one time they were there, some were stolen. Yes, I replaced most of them, but that was such a hurtful experience.
6. How do you display your dolls?
I try to keep a common theme when it comes to displaying my dolls. For example, I have a section with dolls attending a social event, a “Fantasies and Fairy Tales” shelf with Red Riding Hood, Medusa, Alice in Wonderland, etc. I also have a shelf with “Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader” dolls and football helmets.
7. What does Barbie mean to you?
For me, Barbie is magical, and she represents all things positive. Barbie is an icon, a work of art. Regarding Barbie and the self-image of girls, I can only speak for myself when I say that I have never wanted to be Barbie – but I do admit that I would like to have her Dream House and accessories ☺.
8. Any advice for collectors?
If you can, buy the dolls that you really want right away. I waited on the Queen Elizabeth, Cleopatra and Vera Wang’s Romanticist dolls too long, and they sold out. So far, the lowest I’ve seen Cleo for on Ebay is $300 + s&h! (faints).
9. What do the holidays mean to you and how do you celebrate them with Barbie?
The holidays mean seeing family, sharing stories and fine food together, although I always manage to breakaway and sneak in some football ☺.
Whenever I had extra, I’ve enjoyed answering “Dear Santa” letters for those who have asked for Barbie dolls. I also donate dolls and clothes to family shelters. I won’t donate dolls unless they are in very good condition. However, last year I participated in the BFC Christmas card exchange for the first time. It was fun to receive so many lovely cards from so many people from coast to coast. I had so many cards that I ran out of room on my foyer area wall.