By Nelson Groom and Jasmine Kazlauskas
A Barbie fanatic has revealed he has spent decades amassing a collection of 12,000 dolls worth ‘millions’ – but admitted his hobby takes a toll on his love life.
Since Singaporean Jian Yang, 39, began his love affair with the leggy lady in his tender years, he has assembled an army of 12,000 Barbies and other dolls that fill several rooms of his home.
The PR consultant claims the legions of figurines, which also include Osama bin Laden, Sleeping Beauty and Elvis Presley, are worth millions – and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
But Jian admits that his rising profile became a hindrance to his love-life when his partner was expected to justify ‘dating the doll guy’.
Jian said: “I try to keep my relationship private, it’s not fair to make my partner justify dating the doll guy.”
“I was five years old when I first saw the magic of dolls, how they represent memories, dreams, ambitions, and possibly even the realisation of ambitions.
“For me, it’s about owning your favourite characters.”
Jian said he has spent ‘hundreds of thousands’ of US dollars picking up dolls with values ranging from $5 USD to $15,000 USD each.
He admitted he is at a loss to the total value of the collection but said it could be worth ‘millions’ to those who knew what to do with it.
However, to him their worth transcends money as they are tightly woven into the fabric of his life.
Jian said: “My kitchen’s spice rack actually has all the Spice Girls on it, my Paris and Nicole are actually friends, and I have two Kens in a closet.
“It makes me giggle (to myself, which is a little sad), but to me that’s the value.
“The dolls are not as precious to me as being a ‘collector’ would entail: they are toys, and toys are meant to be played with.
“I get it: one day I’ll die, and if my descendants play it right, they could be millionaires.
“But if they don’t, then they will just have a cluttered store room, so the value is irrelevant.”
Jian Said his work affords him access to rare dolls in far-flung corners of the globe, and he always fits in a trip to the toy store for every work-trip.
Barbie was launched in 1959 by Mattel Inc, who have sold billions of the iconic dolls despite sales waning in recent years as beauty standards transform.
But Jian said Barbie’s reign may continue if her makers can change their formula.
Jian said: “My work gives me opportunities to travel all over the world, and I always sneak in a few hours to visit a toy store.
“Mattel is doing great things, but world has changed – Are moms concerned about anorexia? “Will girls really be attracted to a curvier Barbie?”
“Barbie has a bright future if she predicts trends, rather than follows them.”