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International model, Mala Bryan has launched a collection of dolls in various brown hues and different textures of ethnic hair with the Malaville Dolls collection. The Caribbean beauty had the idea when she couldn’t find darker dolls for a toy drive. Now, several years later, her Instagram “dolly world” has turned into a global business. Here we get to know Bryan a little better

What is Malaville?

Malaville is the space I go into when I’m doing something creative or when I’m doing a bit of mediation, it is a very peaceful place for me.

The description of Malaville on our website is this:

Malaville is a place of stunning beauty, where everyone is welcome to play. It is a place where your imagination comes to life and your heart fills up with joy. Malaville is a wonderful place of make-believe, where everything is possible and dreams come true. So come on in, and join the journey into the world of creative imagination.

What inspired you to start the Malaville Debut Collecton Dolls?

My inspiration to start the Malaville Debut Collection dolls came because as a doll collector I found it very hard to find different black dolls with ethnic hair to add to my collection.  And I realised I was not the only one having that issue but other adult  collectors and parents wanting to add diversity to their children’s doll collection. So I started the collection with 4 different brown skin tones dolls, the next collection I will add different tones.

A photo posted by Mala Bryan (@malabryan) on

Where do you find inspiration for the clothing collections?

My inspiration for the clothing collection comes from the fabric and sometimes the dolls themselves. I spend so much time playing with the dolls that it feels like they have their favour it looks.  Also it depends on where I’m traveling to with them, I tend to make them things that would go great with that destination.

Do you have a favourite outfit?

I do have a favourite outfit. It’s a flared skirts that I can turn into a dress and add a belt, and even make different designs with the belts and it gives the outfits a totally different look and feel.

What makes the Mala dolls (or Malanites) so unique?

The Malanites (hahaha the fabulous citizens of Malaville) are unique because I designed them from scratch. I chose the eye shapes, skin colour, their features I designed them all. I made them also with little to no makeup because I wanted their natural beauty to stand out.

What challenges have you faced by starting Malaville?

The challenges I faced starting Malaville was to just start! There were a few people who told me it was not a good idea as I would be competing against big companies and there were times these words did affect me.

But one I got started it was all about trying to communicate with my manufacturer that’s in a different time zone and even teaching them about black skin tones and ethic/Afro hair was tough. But apart from that once I had my samples I just talked myself into standing firm and believing that I’ve managed to have a dream manifest and that helps me overcome all challenges that come my way.

You say your dolls are for adults and children, what impact do you want the Malanites to have on African citizens?

Well I want my dolls to have an impact on he citizens of the world. I would love for the dolls of the debut collection to make it into all doll collections both young and old as I believe that even the dolly world needs diversity.

For the adults I would love them to be able to play with the dolls and feel stressful situations disappear and for them to be able to connect with their inner child, that is something I believe is very important.

For the children, I love the fact that finally I’ve been able to create a doll that many young black and brown girls can relate to and many children of other races can now have a black and brown doll to add to their collection.

The dolls were created of everyone, both young and old, black and white, brown and yellow.

Where can we shop the Mala dolls?

The Malaville dolls can be purchased at our pop-up shop: 90 Kloof Street, Gardens, Cape Town. 

For more information visit the Malaville website: www.malavilletoys.com or follow Malaville and Mala Bryan on Instagram @malavilledolls @malaville_ @malabryan