Jazz Jennings, 16, was born male — but she identified as female from the very beginning of her life. And dolls? Well, they were a pretty huge part of her early years.
So how cool is it that now Jennings will have a new doll — one designed in her honor?
(Pretty damn cool.)
“Ever since I was little, I always loved playing with dolls,” Jennings said on Thursday. “It was a great way to show my parents that I was a girl, because I could just express myself as I am. So this really resonates with me, because it was something so pivotal in my own journey.”
Why Jazz Jennings? Well, if you didn’t know, Jennings is a pretty impressive soul, well known as one of the youngest people to come out (and be documented as) transgender.
In fact, a 6-year-old Jennings was interviewed by Barbara Walters on 20/20 in 2007 in an episode about transgender kids. Her appearance — and her poise — garnered her plenty of attention. One of her biggest fans? Robert Tonner, chief exec at Tonner Doll Company, who was knocked out by Jennings and her family.
“I was very impressed with Jazz when I saw her on Barbara Walters 10 years ago,” Tonner said. “I thought she was an amazing kid with amazing parents.”
Jennings has (already!) authored two books and is currently the star of a TLC reality show, I Am Jazz.
Tonner decided a doll was in order (go, Tonner Doll Company!). So the Kingston, New York, company will be producing Jazz Jennings dolls as a limited-edition run mid-2017. A prototype hits the spotlight this weekend at the NYC Toy Fair — and we’re eager to hear what the response will be.
“Sometimes it does get overwhelming, and it’s hard to be receiving all this attention,” Jennings said in the interview with 20/20. “But when I see that I am really benefiting other people by sharing my story, it motivates me to keep moving forward.”
Jazz, you’ve got this life thing down. (Not to mention the coolest name ever pretty much.)
Jazz and her parents created the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation to foster awareness about issues affecting the transgender community, especially trans kids. She was also named one of Time’s 30 Most Influential Teens in 2015, just to make us feel even more like big old slackers.
The doll’s outfit will match her pink top and jean shorts casual outfit from the cover of her second book, Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen. That model? $89.99. Another red carpet-ready version of Jazz’s doll will likely sell for more than $100. We’re not inclined to complain about the price considering the American Girl Doll line is just as pricey… and this is a doll with a far more compelling story.
Interestingly, Tonner said, “I don’t even know if the word ‘transgender’ will be on the package. She’s a great kid. She’s a very brave, special person. And that’s what we’re trying to get out there.”
Jazz herself is pretty, well, jazzed. (Come on, you saw that coming.) “I think this sends a very positive message about the transgender community,” she said. We couldn’t agree more.