The very first BJD that I ever fell head over heels for was the Custom House St. Mina. She is a sad character doll from the Korean cult classic The Doll Master. I remember when I saw her on their website, I was totally mesmerized, and every day I'd visit the site to see her pictures over and over again. And of course, back then, the thought of spending $600 on a doll was just unheard of and as much as I wanted her, I didn't think I'd be able to afford her. After a few months of that I started squirreling away money. When I almost had enough, another stunning BJD was released-- Rainman's Soah--and I jumped on that one for fear that I wouldn't get one. Shortly after, St. Mina sold out at Custom House and I was utterly heartbroken.
Almost a year later, a friend told me about another friend who was thinking about selling a St. Mina in their collection, and I pounced on the opportunity. It was literally with fear and trembling that I approached this seller because I actually did not have the money saved up yet, and wanted to know if they'd be willing to do a layaway. I was just over the moon when they said "yes!" So, on July 12th, St. Mina--a.k.a. Miss Wilhemina Faith-- arrived in Denver. I was immediately taken with Mina-- her incredibly expressive eyes, her posability, her lovely petite frame (compared to the other girls). She seemed SO ALIVE, her glittery black eyes deep and bottomless... I loved her hooked nose, her aristocratic air, and the fact that her face totally reminded me of Ichimatsu dolls.
When I worked in the Children's Library years ago, they had a beautiful doll collection that included old Ichimatsu dolls that were just enthralling to see. They also had several very large Japanese friendship dolls that came to Denver in huge wooden crates back in middle of the 20th century or so. One of my many projects was to inventory this big doll collection, and I really lingered over these pieces. I was so sad because the library's plan was to donate them to a Doll Hospital or a Doll museum or something; I don't remember the all the details.
Anyway, I've tried out many looks for Mina and haven't really settled on any one in particular. But here is her story: She is a cousin of Hana Soah and Amelie Soo (LeeLee), and came to America to live with them. There is a quiet sadness about her and has something to do with some tragedy in her life, but she never speaks of it and no one really knows what happened or why she is so sad. She has her mother's reserved manner, and her cousins often do not know what to make of her or how to help her adapt to the culture shock of being in the U.S.
Wilhelmina Faith is also a famous stage actress in Korea and very much enjoys the level of anonymity available to her in the States, where she is not as well known or celebrated. Like her cousins, she has some musical abilities and sometimes plays the shamisen or the erhu.