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Authentic representation meets playtime in first doll by new toy brand Jilly Bing

When Elenor Mak shopped around for a doll for her young daughter, the search left her disappointed. "What I found: clichés, stereotypes and a glaring lack of representation," says Mak. So she built a new toy brand, Jilly Bing, that's launching with a doll named Jilly. "Jilly is feisty, fun and fearless. She is not a stereotype. Jilly represents everything we want our Asian American children to be."

The doll, who "has a sweet tooth for tarts, cookies and anything made with red bean," comes with a chef's hat that can be flipped inside-out into a plush egg tart sidekick called L'il Tart; smiling egg tarts also feature on the pattern of Jilly's dress. Priced at USD 68, the first 500 dolls just shipped. Jilly Bing plans to expand with a line of distinct dolls that reflect the diversity of the Asian American community.

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Dolls are more than just playthings. Children seek out toys and characters that mirror their own identity, providing an avenue to understanding themselves and the world around them. With Jilly, Asian American kids not only have a doll with their hair and eyes, but also one that celebrates their heritage and encourages them to embrace their individuality.

While the toy market has witnessed a surge of diverse dolls in recent years, authentic representation of the Asian American community remains scant. For too long, parents felt the frustration of not finding toys that share their child's unique appearance and cultural background. Jilly Bing dolls aim to rectify that omission for US families. Toy makers in other countries: time to ensure children of all backgrounds can access toys that accurately reflect their cultures and distinctive features?

Related: Coming to major retailers later this year, the first all-Latina line of fashion dolls