I have this interview in my drafts for some time now and never got a chance to publish it. Things have been SOO crazy lately with the baby and everything that I never get a real chance to sit down at my computer and take care of my blogs.
I’ve met Monica and the other members of the Coleccionistas de Fashion Dolls en Madrid group and The Madrid Fashion Doll Show at last year’s Paris Fashion Doll Show and fell in love the very next second with their passion for our pink lady and their enthusiasm. This year I’m planning on going to the second edition of the Madrid Fashion Doll Show and I hope I’ll be able to make it. Until then I hope you will enjoy my interview with them.
1. Hi, everybody! Please tell my readers some things about each of you and what your job in the fanclub/convention is.
First at all, we want to thank you Ada for giving us the opportunity to spread our love for Barbie and reach collectors around the world who want to join us at our next international Barbie event in Madrid “Madrid Fashion Doll Show 2014”.
We are a big team. Some people are responsible for organizing the convention and others deal with creative and marketing tasks.
I will start talking about Nuria Santiago Valderrama, she deals with the most important part for the convention to go ahead: legal terms, payments and accountancy. She makes arrangements with hotels and gets the best deals for our convention. She’s also responsible for our club sweets and cupcakes. Her Candy Table at last convention was so popular that we have seen variations of it at other doll events. I have to say that Nuria is our strong right hand.
Our strong and creative left hand is our friend Jose Rodriguez (Mad Ken Photo). We discuss convention concepts with him and he always has brilliant ideas and suggestions. He is a very talented photographer and creates the visual line for our event. I usually call him GOD… What God says should be done.
Paco Alcaide and Luis Manuel are our couture masters. Paco Alcaide is a great design teacher. He designed our doll for first MFDS, which was licensed by Mattel. He also draws patterns and figurines for our Barbie Club events and conventions. Luis Manuel sewed our convention dolls and OOAK dolls donated to other European conventions in 2013.
Ana Maria Rivera is our guide and adviser; she no longer lives in Spain but in Puerto Rico. She was the first person in Spain to organize a Barbie event with some help of Mattel Spain.
Our Webmaster responsible for our two Websites: our Barbie Club Web “Coleccionistas de Fashion Dolls en Madrid” and the convention Web “Madrid Fashion Doll Show”, is Cynthia E. Gorosito, she is brilliant.
We have a team of people who can do many different things essential for the club and the convention; they can be bloggers, personal assistants, photographers, translators, models…. So many talents:
Lionel Masson: Editor, translator, photographer, chief, marketing.
Christelle Baudry: Rally driver for last shopping needs, model, personal assistant.
Daniel Perez: Blogger, miniatures expert, decoration.
Luis Fercort: Blogger, marketing.
Diana Blazquez: sleeping soldier ready to be re-activated at convention event helping with anything necessary.
Last is me, Monica Nuñez del Castillo, I´m the public relations whirlwind for my friends and vampire girl for very close friends… who know I do not sleep at night! LOL. There’s always something to do, someone to talk, help or just gossip.
2. When did you start the Spanish fan club? Tell us your beautiful story.
We will have to go “Back to future”… in 1999, Ana Maria Rivera created the first Barbie Club “Coleccionistas de Barbie en España” and they had a first meeting at her house in winter: about 12 people from different parts of Spain joined in Madrid. Mattel Spain donated them some Barbie stuff and a Barbie 45th Anniversary to raffle. This first meeting was published by collectors’ Bible “Barbie Bazaar” in 2000. The cover of that Magazine was the new Silkstone dolls, Lingerie 1 and 2 of the Barbie Fashion Model Collection By Robert Best. I found two passions in the pages of that magazine: Silkys and Ana Maria´s Barbie Club. There was an address on that page, so the following day I went there, rang the doorbell and said: This is Monica and I´m a Barbie collector. Ana Maria opened the doors of her house to me. At that time, I had exactly 87 Barbie dolls… it was a shock getting into a house with dolls everywhere, she had over 1000 dolls, many dolls I wished I have were there and I was able to touch them and caress their hair.
I knew a little group of collectors at that time including Jose Rodriguez and Paco Alcaide, so I joined two little groups into something bigger.
Ana Maria and Nuria Simón (from Barcelona) made together the first Barbie events in Spain in Madrid and Barcelona alternatively. There was a total of five events and four convention dolls. These events were supported by Mattel Spain.
Life, work and changes made that Ana Maria could no longer deal with so much work that a Barbie club and event means, and nobody took the control. So we all kept in contact but we just joined from time to time for Barbie chatting.
Some members of this first Barbie Club joined again a couple of years ago and we made a great Barbie Christmas Party in December 2012 that was a big success.
3. How did you decide to do a national Barbie and fashion doll convention in Spain?
I lived a gold dream era from 2000 to 2003 with Ana Maria´s events, I do have all those dolls that were made exclusively for that collector parties. I have been twice at the great USA Barbie National convention, to Paris convention, to Milan convention. I felt Spanish collectors should have the opportunity to live the American dream in Spain. Not just a simple dinner in a plain table, but a dinner were you can feel the pink power in the air, an event full of magic where collectors are the main stars and where they can share and say “I Love Barbie”, I do, I do, I do. LOL
We received precious help and advice from the Barbie community around the world and our first “Madrid Fashion Doll Show” was supported by collectors from many different countries who attended the event. There is a great Barbie community in Spain and people who will join us this year will have a special pink experience.
Robert Best and Linda Kyaw were a great help for us, and we have to say to them thank you from the bottom of our hearts because they listen to collectors and always have a nice word.
4. Tell us more about the Spanish doll collectors community. What are the favorite dolls in Spain, how many collectors there are etc.
There is a huge Barbie community in Spain. There are many collectors and you cannot find them all on Facebook. Everyday you find a collector who is friend of another collector. There are many kind of collectors in Spain who like many different kind of Barbie. Collectors who only buy Playline and Pink Label or avid collectors who have a shipping buddy and get every single doll released from Mattel… like Lionel Masson….LOL
The truth is that when you have a group where you talk about Silkstone dolls, Vintage, Mod dolls, Repros… people want that dolls. If you collect Bill Greening dolls as The Blonds, the Hostess series, City Shoppers and you post those dolls on your group, everybody wants upper dolls. People who didn´t know what a Bubble Cut is dying to have one, even a Repro. The best thing of a group where people are collecting all the time is that you can make decisions about dolls that were not completely on your wish list, but after seeing a good photo, you make up your mind.
People also help each other to get dolls and share information about where to buy safely.
5. I know you have some beautiful fashion dolls that were created in your country. Tell us more about them.
There was a dictatorship in Spain until 1976 and boundaries were closed to foreign dolls like Barbie. The most famous dolls in Spain were Mariquita Perez and Nancy (Famosa). There are many other dolls which were produced in Spain, but I think these two still have many fans today. Last year at “MFDS” we had a showroom with Nancy dolls wearing the first fashions created for her.
6. I know you created some amazing OOAK dolls over the years. Tell us more about your favorite creations.
Lewis and I started creating together last year. We met at Christmas Club Party in 2012 and, since then, we have become best friends. Lewis makes a creation, sews a fantastic dress and then I create a hair style and make up to finish the look. I think our favorite creations are “La Belle du Moulin Rouge” and “Azolonian Princess”. If you have a look to them you will see that we like many different things and styles so you never know what we will do next.
7. How much did it take you to organize the Madrid convention from 2013?
That was something amazing… We plan and did convention in less than seven months. We were able to make the party because of the fabulous collectors that are now part of my team and my blogger friends Rogier Corbeau and YOU!!! You have spread our dream among the Barbie community.
8. Can you share with us some new and exciting exclusives from the upcoming 2014 Madrid convention?
Ummm… I should keep it secret but I can tell that there will be amazing center pieces dolls as last year, which will be given away at gala dinner. On Friday, there will be a special surprise for the “MOD” Party by a very talented Spanish artist.
9. What is your favorite thing in the entire Barbie and doll collecting world?
Collector parties and meetings, it’s something very special when you join many people with the same passion for dolls. You can share information and you learn many things. Having a collector friend who understand your hopes and dreams to get that holy grail –even spending the money that you had for next appointment with the dentist– is a real treasure!!!
10. Say hello to my readers and send them a pink message!
Hi pink collectors! If you want to meet new friends and enjoy three days of wild pink party, join us at “Madrid Fashion Doll Show” Barbie Convention. Most collectors at the party speak English, French, Italian, Spanish. We are a dynamic group and you will find for sure collectors with the same interest on dolls. We will make you feel like home, we wait for you in Madrid. Pink Power!!!