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I make hyper-realistic reborn dolls with birth defects – they sell for over $1k but my husband thinks they’re ‘freaky’

MEET the woman making reborn dolls with birth defects who refuses to listen to trolls branding them ”monsters.”

Chelsea Pierce, 40, designs dolls with unique “congenital identifiers” and birth defects, like birthmarks or scars.

Chelsea Pierce

Chelsea Pierce, pictured with her daughter, Allie, makes hyper-realistic reborn dolls with birth defects[/caption]

Chelsea Pierce

Her creations sell for over $1,000, but her husband thinks they’re ‘freaky’[/caption]

The mom of two spends between five and 10 hours a day hand painting the designs – with some dolls taking up to a week to finish.

Reborn dolls are hyper-realistic dolls that are hand-painted by an artist to resemble a newborn infant.

After posting her creations online, Chelsea has received criticism from trolls who said she has “ruined” the doll by adding the birth defects.

Pierce is passionate about educating others with her work by celebrating the differences in people.


Even though Pierce loves each doll she makes, her family doesn’t get quite as attached to them as she does.

The Atlanta-based business owner confessed that her husband, Josh, 44, who works in IT, isn’t a fan of the life-like dolls and asks her to keep them in the cupboard.

“Josh really isn’t a fan – he finds them too freaky, especially the ones that have their eyes open,” she said.

“My children don’t have the same obsession with dolls that I did at that age either.”

Her two kids, Allie, 15, and Jack, 12, are very supportive and help take photos to sell on social media.

Pierce doesn’t keep any of the dolls and sells them for $700 to $1,200, depending on the design.

The dolls’ defects include birthmarks, scars from surgery, and large moles.


Pierce has even designed dolls as gifts for influencers with congenital identifiers, including a little girl called Winry, who was born with a large mole birthmark known as congenital melanocytic nevus (CMN).

“I’ve had nasty comments saying, ‘Who would want a child like that?’” the artist said.

“But I think it’s so important we celebrate these unique qualities.”

It helps children understand that it’s not only OK to be different, but also beautiful.”

Chelsea Pierce

“It helps children understand that it’s not only OK to be different, but also beautiful.”

Growing up, Pierce always had a love for dolls and enjoyed painting as a pastime.

She went on to study English literature and child psychology, pairing her course with art therapy.

When Pierce found out about reborn dolls in 2015, she decided to combine her passions and began designing her own in 2018.

“As a child in foster care, I didn’t have many toys that were mine,” she said.

“But I had a doll I absolutely adored. She was always so special to me.”

Pierce began designing her own reborn dolls in 2018
She was ‘inspired’ to design the dolls with birth defects after knowing a girl at school with a port wine birthmark on her face

”Learning to paint the dolls was hard. The first one I painted looked terrible!”

“But with lots of practice, I realized I could make a living from it.”


Pierce was “inspired” to design the dolls with birth defects after knowing a girl at school with a port wine birthmark on her face.

“I always thought that girl at school was so beautiful. I wish I had told her,” she said.

Pierce, pictured with her favorite doll as a child, grew up in foster care and didn’t have many toys of her own
Chelsea Pierce
Chelsea Pierce

Pierce’s reborn dolls are hand-painted to resemble a newborn infant.[/caption]

She tries to make sure each birthmark or scar looks “different and unique.”

“No two babies are the same, so neither are the dolls,” she added.

She buys each doll blank from another supplier and said it takes up to a week to complete, including painting and “rooting” each hair strand into the head.

She called applying them “a painstaking process, but it creates the best hyperrealist look.”

Chelsea Pierce

Pierce said learning to paint the dolls was difficult, admitting the first one she made ‘looked terrible’[/caption]

“Some people are branded ‘crazy’ for having reborn dolls, but that’s not true,” she said.

“They’re serving an important purpose and filling a hole for people.”

She admitted that she does “sometimes get attached” and held onto a few longer than she should have.

“But I see it like fostering a kitten and the goal is to find them a loving home,” she explained.

“If I can help just one person feel seen and represented, then I’ll be pleased that my work is making a difference.”

She showcases her skillset and family dynamic on her Instagram account Pumpkinsparklesbabies.

Chelsea Pierce

Each doll takes up to a week to completely design[/caption]

Chelsea Pierce

Pierce’s daughter and son, Jack, pictured, are very supportive and help take photos of the dolls to sell[/caption]

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