A woman who has built up a £5,000 collection of 12 ‘reborn’ dolls has revealed that she even took one out with her on a date.
Natasha Harridge, 19, a customer service apprentice from Rugby, explained on This Morning how her fascination with the dolls, which are created to look strikingly similar to real infants, began as a child, and she now has a collection of 12 that she refers to as her children.
Natasha said on the show that they go everywhere with her, including in one instance, on a first date, but admitted her sister and mother ‘don’t like them’.
After Natasha explained her first date didn’t lead to a second, many people took to Twitter to suggest she should leave the dolls at home – even though Natasha insisted her date didn’t mind her hobby, they simply didn’t click.
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Natasha Harridge, 19, explained on This Morning how her fascination with the dolls, that are made to look strikingly similar to real infants, began as a schoolchild, and she has now since built up a collection of 12 worth £5,000
But revealing that she even took one of her dolls on a date with her many This Morning viewers suggested it might be better to leave them at home
‘Didn’t have that click? Sure you didn’t just scare him off? Who takes a doll to a date? Seriously??’ asked one shocked viewer.
‘She wants children in the future, best stop taking dolls on dates with you then love,’ added another.
‘SHE TOOK IT ON A DATE. Honestly the fastest way to no second date,’ said a third.
Natasha told presenters Rochelle Humes and Phillip Schofield that after splitting with her boyfriend of two years she decided to go on a first date; but was worried about travelling on the train to Birmingham from Rugby and so took a doll for comfort.
‘It was actually really good, some people are creeped out by them, so I usually I don’t take them with me.
‘But I was getting a train to Birmingham and I hate trains and I thought I would take [Lucas] with me. I thought he would really hate him but he said it wasn’t that bad.’
However she added that although he called her back they were staying just friends as she didn’t feel a ‘click’.
The 19-year-old said that she used the dolls as a way of helping her self-confidence after she was bullied at school by her classmates and wanted a way to cope
Her collection include dolls, that are made to look strikingly similar to real infants, ranging from newborn up until four years old
Pictured: Natasha and her doll Isiah. She said her fascination first began when she was younger and begged her mum to have one but they were too expensive
Natasha said that she had been desperate to have a reborn doll, first seeing them when she was 12, and had begged her mother for one but had been told no because they were too expensive.
She said eventually she began to build up her collection as a way of coping with school bullying.
‘It’s the responsibility for something as delicate as a baby,’ she said helped her.
‘I will admit I wasn’t a perfect child… I did fight… I didn’t know how to react properly and this was a way to cope.’
They are named Hannah, Sierra, Isiah, Holly, Aubrielle, Isabella, Jasper, Noah, Lucas, Autumn, Pablo, George, Otto and Fawn and each have thousands of subscribers where she documents her escapades with them.
But she insists that the dolls will take a backseat when she has children of her own: ‘The dolls will still be a part of my life but my children will come first.’
Natasha has started Instagram and YouTube accounts about her dolls so her followers understand that some people use them as a form of therapy
Natasha started collecting them in 2014, and has previously said that her own collection helped her to overcome the loss of her brother and niece in 2015 and 2016 after her mother and sister both miscarried children
Natasha started collecting them in 2014, and has previously said that her own collection helped her to overcome the loss of her brother and niece in 2015 and 2016 after her mother and sister both miscarried children.
Despite the comfort the dolls have given her, Natasha’s family and friends aren’t so keen on them.
She said in a previous interview: ‘My parents don’t really understand why I collect the reborns but they too support the hobby, and my sister finds the reborns creepy but knows that they make me happy.’
She researches child development in order to achieve the most realistic role play videos, and has 2,300 subscribers on YouTube and 6,000 followers on Instagram.
Natasha said: ‘I research about what babies do around a specific age and try to add that into my role play for YouTube to help with realism.
Natasha treats the dolls like they are real and says they have boosted her self-confidence.
While Natasha has had her fair share of negative comments, she says she’ll keep enjoying her hobby.
‘People assume they are real and ask if they are real, I sometimes go along with it or tell them that they aren’t real,’ she said.