While most little girls devote their lives to their dolls, not all of them can say their dolls’ lives are devoted to theirs.
Ayannah Ruffin, 13, a seventh grader at Howard T. Herber Middle School, was recently recruited to represent one of six dolls known as Journey Girls, a line of fashion dolls sold by Toys R Us that portray a variety of nationalities.
Ayannah was selected to become one of Journey Girls’ fresh faces after recruiters found her image, which her agent posted on the company’s website, in a search for six child models to match their respective dolls. Last November, Ayannah learned that she landed the gig and soon headed to New Jersey for three days of photo shoots so that the product could be on the shelves by Christmas.
Given that her doll, which is named Chavonne, is portrayed as a musician, Ayannah said recruiters chose her not only for her look but also for her ability to play guitar, trombone and piano.
Ayannah also received her own Chavonne doll, to which she believes she bears some resemblance.
“My mom won’t let me take it out of the box,” she added.
Ayannah started modeling as a toddler when she appeared in commercials for Kodak, Kool Aid, Lactaid, and in magazines ads for Kleenex.
When she’s not posing for the camera, Ayannah likes to be a regular kid by taking dance and karate lessons and playing on her school’s girls’ basketball and soccer teams.
Rachel Gross, Ayannah’s teacher, said her classmates and other teachers at Howard T. Herber are very proud of her success.
“We’re all really supportive and proud to have our little homegrown celebrity here,” Gross said.
Ayannah is contracted to appear in TV commercials and attend a signing at Toys R Us in Times Square later this year to promote the new doll line.
While her doll is constantly selling out, Ayannah said she hopes her father, who currently lives in Tennessee, will have this little version of her so they can be together all the time.
“It’s actually really exciting,” she said. “It’s like I can be in more than one place at once, and it’s what I’ve always wanted.”
She also said she wants to become a positive role model for young girls around the world who are playing with her doll.