A woman has gone viral on TikTok after showcasing the hyperrealistic dolls she crafts with clay – and users can’t believe they aren’t real.
Vincenzina Care, 27, from Toronto, Canada, realised she had a passion for the toys when she was just seven years old, after she was gifted a doll by her mother.
She was heartbroken when the doll broke shortly after she was given it and decided to make her own replacement.
In a bid to make her work more inclusive, she incorporated health conditions and facial differences into her dolls – including conditions such as Down’s syndrome, dwarfism and craniofacial differences.
Vincenzina uses polymer clay and hand-sculpts the dolls based on pictures of herself as a baby, and pictures from friends and family who give her permission to use these photos.
She will then either sell them as one-of-a-kind toys or produce them in vinyl to be sold across the world.
Usually, the process can take up to three years to complete depending on the condition and the size, but her miniature dolls can take just a few months.
“I started making dolls with different health conditions because I thought that it was important to represent all people in dolls,” Vincenzina told Jam Press.
“[Dolls] were always used as a representation of perfection and I think we are all perfect however we are born.
“Some [of these dolls] are the result of months and months of studying a condition and using my imagination to sculpt the features that I want the doll to portray, to make it the most ethically universal.
“I love showing expressions that people can relate to in dolls with different conditions and putting the personality back into the reality of all conditions that are usually dehumanised because they are different.
“I have made dolls with Down’s syndrome, dwarfism and cranio-facial duplication.
“My dolls are made to explore and study other conditions, so I can spread awareness. My main goal in life is to represent as many conditions as I can.
“I like to dress them like any mother would dress their child and to show the world that they are equally worth celebrating and valued as a little life.
“After I have used an outfit, I usually donate the clothing to mothers and friends, so they can dress their beautiful babies.”
Unfortunately, Vincenzina lost her job due to the pandemic but was luckily able to transform her craft into a full-time career, alongside working part-time with children teaching art, and working in admin.
She says she finds the process of creating the dolls “very calming” and even found it “therapeutic” when she was younger.
Now, she tracks her progress by keeping cabinets full of her older dolls – which she compares to her recent creations as a way to see how her sculpting work has improved.
The dollmaker showed off the fruits of her labour on TikTok, and one post showcasing a doll with cranio-facial duplication went viral with over 106 million views.
She captioned the post: “It doesn’t matter how long you live, every life deserves love and appreciation.”
The clip, which shows a baby doll that appears to have two fused heads, has racked up 4.6 million likes – and left users stunned that the toy wasn’t a real baby.
“Who else thought the baby was real at first?” one person commented.
Another viewer added: “Omg…I thought it was a real baby.” [sic]
Someone else commented: “POV: you thought it was real.” [sic]
“I thought it was real. I was about to cry,” said another person.
“I thought this was a real baby and was looking to be adopted. I was ready with an application,” commented someone else.
Vincenzina said: “Although I have made many videos explaining why I make them and that they are dolls, a lot of people think they are real.
“I have mostly positive comments, but there are some people who aren’t very supportive.
“I understand for some it’s very hard to grasp a new outlook, when society has represented difference in such an ugly light for years.
“My family and friends are very supportive of my dolls and my message, as it took me years to show them first what my main goal in making them was.
“My mother loves to knit and crochet outfits for them and my father helps me make props to display them.”
Vincenzina receives on average six orders per month and is booked up for the foreseeable future, charging £4,000 per custom doll.
Despite making an income from her dolls, she also donates them and shares the proceeds to causes which will help spread awareness.
She added: “[I hope to spread the message] that everyone is beautiful and deserves to be celebrated no matter who they are or how they were born.”