Mexican dolls have always been a passion of mine. Back when they were viewed as bootlegs and copies and not worth collecting, I guess I kinda got attracted to their quirkyness and the mystery and dearth of information surrounding them. More data can be found about them on the Jem Encyclopaedia, which I set up in part to document all the bits I found about Mexican Jem dolls over the time I collected, but here is the core of my own Mexican collection, of which I am still very fond. Others have taken up the Mexican torch, added information, and built up collections and databases - but Britrock was the first place to really take these seriously, and promote them and explain them as variants licenced by Hasbro, not just oddities and knockoffs that collectors should disdain. That's my contribution to the Jem community, for better or worse - the increased interest in Mexicana.
I have one regret in making Mexican dolls such a public entity with my obsession, and that is the fact that the fad rise of their popularity created some pretty ugly behaviour among a few Jem fans. I need to say this without being misunderstood - nothing, not even obtaining that rare item nobody else has, is worth sacrificing your moral integrity for. One of the main reasons I stopped collecting Jem actively was because on a couple of occasions, that moral integrity in the community was breached in an unforgivable way.
That was a long time ago, but the reason I didn't forget it was not so that I could sit here and type this in a preaching kind of a mood. It was one of the turning points for my collection, and the realisation that I could either be ruthless and grab everything or I could be fair and grab what I could legitimately acquire without compromising my sense of honour.
So, as a result, my Mexican collection has some gaps. I didn't go to the lengths some people did to get stuff, and I am proud that I didn't. At least I know, when I look at all of my dolls, that all of them were acquired fair and square.
That said, I want to go on to the more fun part of my collection - meeting the dolls themselves. Another reason that I am so fond of my Mexican dolls is that the craze was sort of started off in me by a good friend who I met collecting Jem and who is still one of my best friends in real life. Maybe you could say she's one of the most precious things I collected over the last 14 years xD. In any case, aside from my boxed Jem, my first Mexican dolls came from her. She made a fashion for a third one, and on top of that, helped me pore over auctions to spot Mexican dolls before people knew how to label them correctly. Between us, we were a stronger finding force than I could ever have been alone. This part of my collection therefore is tied very much to me in the values of that friendship - another reason why I didn't want to taint this part of my collecting with the questionable behaviour of certain unnamed others.
So there are two main types of Mexican dolls. Pure dolls and hybrid dolls. I divided them this way originally just to try and make sense of them, but the labels have stuck. Pure dolls are all 100% Mexican, whereas the Hybrids - usually harder to find - have normal heads and Mexican bodies and accessories. The heads are normally Second Edition heads and Hologram ones often have earrings.
Pictured above, to the left and the right, are two such hybrids - Roxy and Aja. Both are pictured with their full outfits. You'll notice the colour variations on parts of those outfits - but those are the way they were released. The odd thing about Mexican dolls is that they are quite prevalent in the UK, not just in Mexico. It seems like they were a substitute for Second Year Dolls towards the end of the line - or sold alongside them, which I think is a bit more likely. Hasbro did odd things in the UK anyway - thirty years of My Little Pony collecting has taught me that- so really none of this came as any surprise.
Now to my Shana dolls. There's a reason I have two. On the left is the Shana doll that I received from my friend when I first got into collecting these dolls. She's missing a hand, as you can see. Mexican doll hands break a lot - they are also prone to oddness. She's wearing the full accessory set for Shana in Mexican release, but the accessories she has on really belong to the doll on the right - with the exception of the bow. The doll on the right has her own bow still in her very curly hair.
The reason that the Shana on the right isn't wearing her own clothing is quite categorically simple. Award Night is the only outfit she can actually wear. Reason? Mexican dolls are notoriously delicate and easily broken. When I bought Shana, she came with every scrap of her accessories, her box, her packaging - everything. But she was severed in the middle because the clip that holds the parts together had broken. Shana can still be displayed, but only in an all-in-one outfit like this one. Consequently, she lives in Award Night. Between the two of them, they make one complete Mexican Pure Shana.
In terms of the hybrid Shana doll, the only accessory mine has that is her own is the earring that is in her one ear. She doesn't have both earrings but they are the same as the earrings worn by my proper Second Edition doll, and so I am not that fussed about replacing the other.
As other parts of this site will have told you, I really like Second Edition Shana. This, however, is a very odd ensemble. I dressed her in Love's Not Easy because it's one of the prettiest Shana outfits and I thought it would be a good one to support her standing upright (she isn't broken, but you know, once bitten, and all that). It fits her nicely even though Mexican bodies are slightly larger. You can see the difference in skin tone, too, between the regulation head and the Mexican body. Note her hands, too. I'm sure those hands are her own, but that pale colour isn't discolouration. Her hands are caucasian. As I mentioned in the Encyclopaedia, Mexican doll hands are so brittle and delicate at the joint that the idea of replacing hands with caucasian ones under any circumstances seems unlikely. I wouldn't dare do it as a collector, so I can't imagine a kid's father or mother doing it. I think she came with those hands. A real hybrid like no other.
At the top of the page, I mentioned Hybrid Aja and Hybrid Roxy. Here are their pure counterparts. They're both dressed in custom fashions - Aja's was made by my good friend, and Roxy's by me, based on the outfit she wears in Roxy Rumbles. Both of them came without accessories, but generally the accessories between Pure and Hybrid dolls are mostly the same. There is some confusion with Aja's skirt, but in general, that is the case.
Roxy is wearing gloves - they go with the outfit, but that's also about protecting those delicate hands. You can see, however, the colour of Aja's hands, which you can compare to Shana's in the picture on the left. Definitely a match, though not a very logical one.
Both Roxy and Aja have quite wild hair. This is also a feature of the Mexican dolls - though I think Roxy is really quite pretty as a Mexican doll.
Mexican dolls generally stand a little taller than average Jem dolls, too - but not so much as you'd notice especially.
And now for some Misfits. These three are a likely trio. As I mentioned above, there are two types of Mexican dolls - pure and hybrid. But I may have told a little fib. The reason I did was because in general I don't think that most collectors acknowledge the existence of the third type of variation yet.
I first noticed it with the other doll my friend traded me - a Kimber with a normal body and Mexican head. Because the head was loose, neither of us knew whether it was always a match or not, but then I acquired the Pizzazz doll, which threw things wide open.
On the left we have Pure Mexican Pizzazz, dressed in Gimme Gimme Gimme. She's pretty standard. Her hair's a lot more yellow green than the normal doll, and a rougher cut as well.
Next to her, in the middle, is hybrid Pizzazz. She's wearing a fashion I made - I began making the outfit from the roller rink in Scandal, but I never got to finish it. Not yet anyhow. I got rid of all my fabric so probably not any time soon, to be honest - but fortunately it covers up enough to be going on with.
Now, the doll on the right is what I call reverse hybrid Pizzazz. The reason is that she has a normal body, and a Mexican head. If there's a hybrid one way, no reason to rule out a hybrid the other way - but evidence for it is scarce. The conviction I have that this is not a one off event is that Pizzazz's head is not removeable from her body. It is fixed firmly in place and shows every sign that it always was this way. It adds credence to the idea that Mexican dolls mopped up loose bits at the end of the line and were the UK's equivalent of the Superstar doll, albeit through a proper Hasbro licence (as printed on their boxes, making them official Jems, not knockoffs). It's an interesting thought process, though...how many oddballs there may still be out there.
On the right is Mexican Stormer. I don't have the hybrid for this doll. For some reason, I never really went looking for her. Though I do know she exists, for some reason, she's never hit my radar. I think that probably makes her one of the rarer Mexican dolls, because I have had multiples of several Mexican dolls but not a single hybrid Stormer - or for that matter, Kimber, but let's not go there, it brings back some bad memories.
Stormer, like Shana, is very curly. She's wearing her full ensemble - but I didn't get a flower with her, so am not sure if she had one or not in the box. As you can see, like the dolls above with instruments, the guitar is much more like a second year guitar than a first, which correlates with the second year theme the hybrids all tend to have. I think she has a particularly dreamy expression. Probably writing music.
There are no known Mexican versions of any dolls sold only in Second Year. That's a bit odd, to be honest, but since Mexican dolls are always sold in First Year style boxes, I guess they had a limited remit and received limited material.
I have four Mexican dolls in their original boxes. Like the dolls I got from the friend mentioned above, two of these came with the aid of another friend; a collector of My Little Pony who was interested in Jem but who parted with them because she knew how crazy I was about Mexicana. I guess my Mexican collection really is founded on friendships after all. I think it's better that way - though obviously I would like to add the two missing hybrids to my collection at some point. Fairly and honestly, of course.
The MIB dolls are below. All of them are pure. Don't mind the carebear. He just wanted to get in on the shot..