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You could practically hear the collective gasp at the August 4 launch of the RuPaul Doll collection at the Arcadia Gallery in New York when singer-actor RuPaul arrived--out of drag. There he was, further branding his RuPaul personality with a celebrity doll line, and he showed up not as the flamboyant RuPaul but as RuPaul Andre Charles, the man under the makeup and hair. While many were saddened that RuPaul left the heels at home that night, one could not help but smile (and giggle) at the larger-than-life photographs (taken by Mike Ruiz) on the gallery walls. They depicted the RuPaul dolls in various acts of devilish fun. For those desiring the real thing, the three dolls in the RuPaul collection (each one represents a different stage in the artist's colorful career) also were on display.
Billed as the first transvestite fashion doll and produced by Integrity Toys, the RuPaul Doll collection will be in stores later this month. Each doll has a suggested retail price of $59.99. The RuPaul Doll collection was the brainchild of RuPaul and nontraditional marketing/consulting company Two Sheps That Pass. TSTP president Vera Sheps says initial inspiration came from the Cher celebrity doll. "We thought that a doll along (those lines) would be fun."
Talks with Integrity creative director/partner Jason Wu followed. The RuPaul Doll is the first venture under Integrity's new Produced by Jason Wu division. For the first project under the new umbrella, Wu wanted a celebrity who was instantly recognizable yet not overexposed. He also did not want to follow the current teen-pop-star or reality-show-personality trend. In other words, he sought a strong image that was capable of shaking things up. Mission accomplished. Expect the branding of RuPaul to continue. According to Sheps, RuPaul greeting cards, wrapping paper, and gift bags are on the way. (Michael Paoletta, via Reuters)