A WOMAN has been trolled online thanks to her hobby of collecting lifelike ‘reborn’ baby dolls – which she has spent thousands of pounds on.
Raya, 22, a childcare worker from London, lives with three “babies” Bellamy, Ottilie and Brynn, with a fourth doll on the way.
In February she bought her first reborn doll, Bellamy, which was sculpted in Germany and ‘brought to life’ by an artist in the UK – and she’s been blown away by the ultra-realistic creations ever since.
She recalls being “obsessed” with looking after dolls as a child, often asking for the latest models as gifts.
In the meantime, it has become a passionate hobby, with which the young woman also photographs clothing and accessories for her small business.
Unlike many people who buy reborn dolls to cope with the loss of a child, Raya collects them as works of art and is happy to show off the incredibly realistic collection and her routine of caring for them on TikTok — where her videos have exceeded 400,000 have collected views.
In the clips – in which Raya chooses not to show her face – she shares “morning routines” with the babies, including feeding them, changing them and getting them out in a car seat – which she says she does for entertainment purposes.
But while she’s received some support for her unconventional roommates, not all have been so receptive.
Raya claims she has been harshly criticized for being accused of “wasting” important baby items, told to be “dissected” and even received death threats.
“I’ve had comments like ‘You need to be cut’ or ‘That sucks’ in my videos and even people telling me to ‘jump off a cliff,'” Raya told NeedToKnow.online.
“I think people are very quick to judge something and someone they don’t know about.
“This hobby isn’t as common as others, so we always aim to be different.
“The born again community also gets a lot of hate for ‘wasting’ real baby products, but that’s not the case [most] from us.
“We are constantly reusing something and not throwing anything away.
“All the baby products I have collected over time will continue to be kept for my real child and even if I didn’t have the reborns I would still buy all the cute baby outfits as I adore them.
“I try not to let the hate get to me because at the end of the day they don’t matter and I just enjoy them.
“Outside of TikTok, the dolls are on display, not touched or played with – they are a special collection.”
For the part-time volunteer, she claims to have spent a “small fortune” on her collection and while she doesn’t want to reveal the total amount, the most expensive dolls can cost as much as £5,000.
She said: “I only have a few bottles and pacifiers for prop purposes so I haven’t overstocked at all – but I do like to buy the more expensive types of baby clothes.
“I love the neutral styles and there are always plenty in stock in the sizes I need. I love high street stores but due to the affordable prices there is a lot less in stock.
“I’ve spent thousands on baby clothes, but there are people in the community who have a lot more than me because they’ve been collecting for a long time.