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Meet The Sarawakian Who Creates Stunning Borneo Barbie Dolls To Honour His Culture

We want one too!


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Meet The Sarawakian Who Creates Stunning Borneo Barbie Dolls To Honour His Culture
Wesley Hilton

So creative and beautiful!


Ever since the Movement Control Order (MCO) took place, have you tried exploring potential new hobbies, perhaps like cooking or baking?
 
Well, for one guy, he decided to utilise his free time by pursuing his hobby with love and passion – Barbie dolls.
 
But not just any Barbie dolls, they’re custom made dolls that look close to Malaysians’ hearts and culture.
 
Meet Wesley Anak Juntan or known as Wesley Hilton, an Iban descendant who recently made the coolest dolls we’ve ever seen; Borneo Barbie dolls.
 
Unduk Ngadau
Ruran Ulung.
Wesley, who works full time as a flight attended for out national carrier Malaysia Airlines, says that due to the MCO and the closure of our country’s borders, he has been staying home most of the time and will not be flying anytime soon until the end of July.
 
The Sibu native has been customising Barbie dolls since 2017 and his first custom doll was a flight attendant Barbie, clad in the Malaysia Airlines kebaya uniform.

For Hertiage And Culture

Keligit
“I have so much passion towards Borneo culture and its heritage, especially for my tribe, Iban. I have always loved all of the beautiful costumes and how intricate they are,” Wesley told Rojak Daily.
 
“Borneo has a lot of tribes and every tribe has its own specific costume. Therefore, I thought if I could make it to Barbie size, that would be amazing”.
 
The flight attendant also added that he wishes to promote and educate others about the beauty of Borneo culture.
 
Wesley in his traditional Ibanese costume.
“Someone once told me that my dolls are a good example of how to teach the younger generation about our culture and the importance of preserving them.”
 
Well, amazing is definitely an understatement, because just one glance at his collection of Barbie dolls would make your heart skip a beat (and your bank account itching, asking to be spent).

It’s All In The Details


To the common layman (especially us non-Sarawkians), Wesley’s designs look pretty intricate and well-put together. And getting those details in are definitely not an easy feat.
 
“It takes two to three days to complete one look and it’s very hard considering the size of the doll and the accessories I have to create. It involves a lot of hardware, sewing, beading, painting, and all kinds of arts and crafts you can imagine. “
 
“But the real struggle is for me to think of how and what to use to make the accessories to look exactly the same but in a Barbie size. I have very detailed eyes so I tried to make everything as close as the real costume if possible.”
 
The Kumang costume is a hit with customers.
Well, all those hard work and details definitely paid off, as all of his dolls usually sell out in less than 24 hours, prompting even more requests and orders soon after.
 
“The Kumang Barbie (Iban Barbie) is a hit with customers and it’s my favourite too, as the headgear known as ‘Sugu Tinggi’ is actually very enchanting in real life.”
 
Wesley uses original Barbie dolls from Mattel, and each customised doll is sold between RM350-RM650

There are 12 types to choose from, Wesley told us.
 
He makes Borneo Ken dolls too!
Seriously, we can't wait to see what other dolls he will be creating in the future.
 
If you love these cool dolls as much as we do, head on to Wesley’s Instagram @wesleyhilton to place your orders!

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