American Girl dolls are iconic and were every young Millennial girl’s dream and now many fan favorites are getting rereleased in honor of American Girl’s 35th anniversary. The rerelease collection, which was launched to teach about American history, features only one Latina doll. Josefina Montoya is one of the six dolls released along with Felicity Merriman, Kirsten Larson, Samantha Parkington, Addy Walker, and Molly McIntire. She made her debut in 1997 representing New Mexico in 1824 before the Mexican-American war when it was colonized by the U.S. She was developed with the guidance of an advisory board made up of historians, educators, curators among other professionals with deep knowledge of the American Southwest, according to the American Doll website. The original doll line was released in 1986 with Kirsten, Samantha and Molly.
Josefina lives in a ranch near Santa Fe with her father and her three older sisters, her mom had died before the beginning of the series.The anniversary doll has a braid with a flower, faux leather moccasins, a white camisa with short puffed sleeves edged with lace and a cross necklace that, according to American Girl, likely comes from Mexico City. Her godmother Tia Magdalena is a curandera which is what Josefina aspires to be. She’s portrayed as idealistic, caring, and hopeful and lives by the idea that “kindness really is the best medicine.”
Series author Valerie Tripp along with the American Girl team deeply researched the area and history to ensure accuracy. They share that the Montoya rancho is modeled closely after la Hacienda de los Martínez in Taos and El Rancho de las Golondrinas outside of Santa Fe so they spent time at both museums doing in-depth research.
Tripp spent several months living in New Mexico interviewing elderly women to understand their daily lives and Latinx culture: “These women told me about laundry, cooking, sewing, and other household chores. But most of all they told me how people in families like Josefina’s cared for one another,” she said, according to the American Girl website. “And how, through hard work and strong faith, they made their families feel healthy, safe, and—above all—loved.”
Each rerelease will be in a retro-inspired American Girl box with their corresponding first paperback book, Meet Josefina, with a vintage cover along with their original outfit and authentic accessories. Josefina is the first Latina American Girl doll, there’s also Marisol Luna released in 2005 (the brand’s third “Girl of the Year”) and in 2018 American Girl announced their “2018 Girl of the Year” was Luciana Vega, a Latina who aspires to be an astronaut. Since the rerelease of Josefina is a Collector’s Item, the price is hefty for a doll at $150 (interest-free payments are available).