She’s a mystery to thousands of girls who desperately want to know everything about her. What is her name and what does she look like? And equally as important: What makes her special and what are her talents? Her full identity is not unveiled until Jan. 1 each year, though American Girl teases its customers with clues leading up to the big reveal of its Girl of the Year doll each year.
The first two video hints posted on AmericanGirl.com this week revealed that the 2017 Girl of the Year doll is from Philadelphia and that she loves to dance. And the official American Girl website has confirmed the new doll is named Gabriela McBride.
Resourceful American Girl fans, however, have collected much more information from leaks. Several websites dedicated to American Girl news have confirmed the new doll is African American and they have photos of what they believe to be Gabriela’s outfits that will be sold initially. These unofficial images show different outfits for dancing —- teal and purple practice clothes, pink and black practice clothes and a sparkly recital outfit — dance accessories that include a boom box, and her pet cat named Maya after the famous poet. Additional video hints will be posted on AmericanGirl.com this week.
Each American Girl of the Year doll comes with a book that tells her story. For Gabriela McBride, it’s simply titled “Gabriela” by Teresa E. Harris. The summary on the back cover of the paperback posted on book sellers’ websites gives us insight into the doll’s story: “Gabby loves expressing herself – especially in the dance studio – but lately, poetry is becoming her art choice, and for a good reason: Gabby struggles with stuttering, and spoken word poetry helps her speech flow more freely. Still, compared to how confident she feels on the dance floor, speaking can be scary. When the city threatens to close her beloved community arts center, Gabby is determined to find a way to help. Can she harness the power of her words and rally her community to save Liberty Arts?”
Want to get your hands on the first batch of Gabriela McBride dolls? They will be for sale online and in stores on New Year’s Day. The advantage of going to a store to make your purchase is that participating stores, such as the one in Orlando, will have themed activities and crafts and a Gabriela McBride giveaway only available during the debut events. Orlando’s American Girl store is located at Florida Mall, close to the theme parks and other tourist attractions. The Girl of the Year events are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Jan. 1 and 2 and are free and open to the public.
Here is the official description of the launch events: “Gabriela is passionate about the arts, and her favorite forms of self-expression are dance and poetry. In the spirit of Gabriela, girls will have an opportunity to watch and learn as spoken-word poets share their techniques as they perform at the store. While supplies last, attendees will receive a free giveaway and a sweet treat. Girls can also take part in a fun “marquee sign” craft, in a nod to Gabriela’s love of the performing arts.”
The Orlando American Girl store opens at 10 a.m. each day, which is when the Girl of the Year sales begin. Managers do expect customers to line up outside the store before it opens, but they do not anticipate shortages of the doll, they said. Before you shop, be sure to sign up for the new American Girl rewards program.
Are you planning to attend or have you attended a Girl of the Year welcoming party at the American Girl store in your city? Tell us about it in the comments.