What Ciara (yes, that Ciara) and I have in common is that we’re both working mothers, and doll enthusiasts. I loved dolls growing up, and when I found out my now three-year-old was going to be a girl, I wondered if she’d be into dolls like I was, and made plans to one day introduce her to American Girl. I got my chance last Friday thanks to Ciara.
Ciara and Russel Wilson’s Why Not You foundation partnered with American Girl to present a holiday collector doll adorned with thousands of Swarovski crystals, in addition to unveiling a holiday storefront in NYC—also decked out in 200 Swarovski crystals and 30 lbs of Swarovski crystal stardust. Ten percent of sales go to Ciara’s foundation, which empowers change in the world through various acts of charity.
Let me be clear, the dolls are great for any doll lover, but I did enjoy sharing the experience with my daughter even though we had a time limit. My daughter loves musical instruments, so she was excited to watch Pilar Hill—a 13-year-old prodigy violinist—play. She was so excited that she attempted to grab Hill’s violin while she was playing (crisis averted because I acted swiftly). Then, we went outside to watch a small girls chorus cheerfully singing Christmas Carols before Ciara came and unveiled the storefront.
It was cold that night, so my daughter began having a meltdown right before Ciara’s speech. The thing is, she was having fun until she wasn’t. That’s what it’s like with toddlers. I didn’t want her crying to interfere with Ciara’s speech, so we went back inside the store and waited for the party to move inside. Once we were back in the store, my daughter shot some hoops (attempted to, anyway), marveled over the American Girl astronaut doll (Luciana), and pretended to drive a car—because you know at American Girl you can pretty much find a doll that represents any walk of life, including a doll inspired by Ciara.
However, I was overwhelmed because while this was a party, I was still on a work assignment with the goal of getting content. My mission was to interview Ciara, but it was also close to my daughter’s bedtime and she slowly started to fade. She began having several meltdowns for the smallest things, and I started to get embarrassed. Parents know that when kids are off schedule they turn into Gremlins. So, I called my husband, who works nearby, to come in for backup because I just couldn’t work and handle the meltdowns on my own.
By the time Ciara was done unveiling the storefront, and had moved to the cafe where she was mixing and mingling, she didn’t want to do interviews. I respected that, so I handed my daughter off to my hubby and went to meet her. She and I had a moment. She asked if we had met before because she thought I looked familiar. We hadn’t, but working in media puts me in spaces where it’s possible that she had seen me in person before, yet we did feel kindred and saw each other that night. She was working, but also on mom duty like me. Her two-year-old daughter, Sienna, was there, and they looked adorable in matching black and white outfits that included black tennis skirts with black and white varsity jackets that said, “Wilson” on the back. They looked like living dolls themselves. The moment I noticed they were dressed alike came when Sienna came barreling past us with her American Girl doll (based on Ciara) in hand.
In that moment she had broken free from her nanny because she wanted to do her own thing. Toddlers like to explore, and that’s what she was doing. Her mission was to head over to another little girl but we didn’t realize that at first. I saw a familiar look in Ciara’s eye—it was a look that indicated that our conversation had to pause because she still had to be on mom duty no matter what. She stopped Sienna to ask where she was going and then the nanny, who was in swift pursuit, intervened. Ciara and I made eye contact again, she apologized for the interruption, and I shrugged it off. I immediately told her that I got it because I just had to send my 3-year-old off with her father. Ciara seemed relieved and we continued exchanging pleasantries before her team rushed me off. Working mom life is no joke, but it’s nice when you can be on the same page with someone else who gets it while on the job.
We’re in this together, no matter what walk of life, so it was nice to witness such a real moment from an internationally known superstar. I loved that Ciara wasn’t afraid to bring her daughter to work with her, but at the same time she had help. We may not all be able to afford nanny’s, but the lesson here is not to be afraid to seek assistance when you need to, especially now that it’s holiday time, and our social lives are kicking into overdrive.
Ciara’s parting words after unveiling the storefront was excited to share American Girl with her own daughter, and that she hoped all the young girls there would be inspired by the many iterations of the doll. The part she left out was that she was an inspiration too. Her American Girl event was a nice way to kick off the holidays and I think it’s safe to say that Ciara’s mission was accomplished.