Dolls Talks with Bella
Updated: 5 days ago
You can hardly find anyone in the doll community, who has not taken part in Monday4Dolls - doll fashion challenge - at least once. But who is that creative mind that entertains us every Monday?! An architect by trade, who draws her inspiration from doll photography, she does not consider herself to be a doll collector but nevertheless is followed by over 100,000 doll enthusiasts worldwide. She is Izabela Kwella of Bella_BellaDoll!
Hello Izabela, would you please introduce yourself:-)?
Hello, my name is Izabela Kwella. I'm an architect from Poland. In social media, I’m better to know as Bella. Together with my twin sister Justyna we run an Instagram account named @bella_belladoll, bringing together a community of artists, photographers, and toy collectors who share our interests.
- Congratulations on reaching a new social media milestone of 100K followers! How does that feel to know that 100K people are following you?
Thank you so much. We celebrated this milestone for few days to let people know we are grateful they are with us. However, this number actually changes nothing. We just keep doing what we love.
- If you could pick a theme song to describe where your life is at right now, what song would you choose?
This is an excellent question. Since the beginning of this year, I’m very attached to the soundtrack from the Disney movie Moana. My daughter is a huge fan of it. We literally listen to this soundtrack every single day. I get very emotional while I listen to some of those songs. The movie is about a girl who follows her intuition and sets off on a journey to find her destiny. The song I'm referring to is "How Far I'll Go."
- What is one message you would give to your followers?
Do what you love and don't care what people think about it.
- What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their doll Instagram page? What content is the best received? Any tips on how to grow the audience?
I could literally write a book about it. There is so much to be said, but I think the most important is to have fun with it and enjoy what you do. But if you insist on giving just one tip to new Dollstagram users, I would say: Don’t ask people to follow you. Just don’t.
- As a child, were you a player or a maker?
I dreamed of having a barbie doll when I was a kid, but I never got one. I’m a kid of the ’80s, raised in Poland. Mattel dolls were available in my country but were way too expensive for my parents to buy. I had two barbie-looking dolls and one ken-looking doll but never got a real Barbie.
- How did it all start? What/who inspired you to start your doll collection?
On my 31st birthday, my husband fulfilled my dream from childhood. He took me to a store with toys and bought a real Barbie doll. I grabbed one for my twin sister, too, because we shared a dream to have a barbie doll.
- Mattel is coming with a strong message for all girls about believing in yourself and dreaming big. What advice would you give to your 10-year old self?
This is something I’ve started thinking about a lot since I become a mother of a baby girl. I consider how I should raise her and what message she should get from me. If I could meet 10 years old me, I would advise her to learn how to say no and don’t do stuff only to please others. I would ask her to be gentle to herself, don’t push too much, and learn to let go.
- How big is your collection? And what is the most special item in it?
I don’t consider myself to be a doll collector. I think about myself as a doll photographer. I try not to buy many dolls. In my collection are around 20 dolls that I use in my photography. I have a few more dolls still in the boxes waiting to be released. I have two dolls I like very much. It is an MTM Yoga pink top, which plays an Iness character in our doll story, and BMR 1958 Millie close mouth, the face of our Photoshoot for the international photography project the Traveling Doll Pants.
- Your doll photography is fascinating! Are you indoor or outdoor photographer?
My favorite type of doll photography is an outdoor one. I enjoy looking for new places, photo ideas, the right perspective, and exploring good light. I live in the beautiful city of Gdańsk. We have fantastic places for doll photography, a historical city center, an industrial shipyard, and wonderful seaside.
- Tell me about your doll photography projects!
I have two photography projects that I like the most. The first one is a wedding project from 2019. These photos changed me and my attitude to what I do. The project was positively received in our community and media in general. We even had a chance to talk about it on Polish national TV.
The second project is the Traveling Doll Pants project which we co-host together with Patricia from @dressthatdoll. This project is a unique photography adventure that connects doll photographers and lovers from all over the world.
- What is your biggest achievement as a doll photographer?
I had huge pleasure in exhibiting my photography in Poland and China. In October 2018, some of my photos took part in two international toy photography exhibitions in Shanghai. Last year we had an exhibition named "Doll in the city” in Gdynia, Poland.