When I first came across the @chasingvelsy account ill be honest I had to do a double take - the world of reborn dolls was a new concept to me and was certainly something I knew nothing about. But something drew me in that day, maybe it was the style and photography, maybe it was the aesthetics of a beautifully curated feed or maybe we were just meant to connect. So I clicked "follow back" and soon went down the rabbit hole of reborn babies and this beautiful soul behind the account. Just from this instagram account I could soon tell that any opinion I may have initially had was now in question and with an open mind I wanted to know more. If you do too we welcome you to our honest, raw and intriguing chat with Netherland's Ezra about reborn Velzy....
Can you tell us a little about you and your account?
My name is Ezra, I’m 19 years old, I’m an interior design & marketing student in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I collect realistic dolls called “Reborn dolls”! I post my own reborn doll named Velzy on my Instagram account “@chasingvelzy”. I mainly do this because I enjoy taking photos and I love sharing that with my followers and the fellow reborn collectors! Besides reborns, I have an entire life of school, friends, family and (hopefully soon again) travels!
Who is Velzy? And How long has Velzy been in your life?
Velzy is a reborn doll. I got Velzy as a blank kit in March 2020, he is painted by an artist in New Zealand! He officially joined me on February 13 , 2021. It took quite long for him to get home, but he literally moved across the world so it kind of makes sense that it took this long during a pandemic, haha. I’d do it all over again!
Reborn dolls are sculptures made by a sculptor. After the sculptor finishes the sculpting of a baby, they are produced in blank kits (sometimes limited editions). These are practically blank canvases for artists!
What are some other reasons that others may find comfort in reborns?
Many of us know how it feels like to hold a newborn: peaceful (in most cases). A reborn baby is made to look like a real baby, so as you can imagine it feels peaceful to hold one. I understand, that as an outsider, reborns may seem a bit weird to have. However, I think they are a great addition for many. Reborns are being used for SO many reasons beside them being peaceful & just fun to have. Many use them as therapy, for depression, anxiety, loss of a loved one, photography and autism (and obviously many more reasons). Everyone has a reason for it.
My own reason for having Velzy is definitely anxiety and stress besides just enjoying and photographing him! At times when I feel low, I know I can change Velzy, cuddle him or take photos. This is so comforting for me and it makes my mind a bit less full of other things going on. It’s good to be distracted by something, that for me, is most of times a positive thing. Knowing you have something you can always rely on when you need a break, feels very comforting. I originally got a reborn doll for depression, this worked extremely well for me.
How were you introduced into Reborns? And when?
I was introduced to reborns at a very young age, I think I was about 9. My sister got a reborn and I’m not going to lie – at first, I thought they were a bit intimidating because of how real it looked. Obviously I started to admire them at some point, so around 7 years ago I got my first reborn. I sold him a few years later and left the hobby for some years. Two years ago, I rejoined, and it has been a lot of fun!
How does Velzy complete you?
This is a hard question, so I had to think about this for a bit. Velzy is a part of my life, but I still go to school, work and friends. Sometimes I don’t touch him for days or even weeks! I love him dearly and he completes me in some ways – but I do have a big, other part in my life that doesn’t include him. Velzy mostly completes me when I feel lonely or stressed. Or maybe when I had a rough day, it feels nice to come home and give him a quick cuddle or change his clothes!
Do your friends and family understand and accepting of Reborns?
I’m a bit insecure, Velzy does help me with this but I’m always a bit hesitant telling others, maybe because he is my safe place and I want to protect this. Not many of my friends know, my family does, and they are very accepting and always have been! I’m very grateful for this, because I also know others where their family finds it scary. I always ask myself: “Why judge someone’s happiness?”. I think any (non-dangerous) hobbies should not be judged as long as it makes others happy!
Do you prefer others to refer to Velzy as reborn or as though he is a real newborn?
I refer as him as “Velzy and he/him/his”, however, if someone calls him a doll or “it”, it doesn’t bother me, he is at the end of the day a doll and not a real baby. I personally don’t call him a doll, but I am fully aware he is! I just don’t really like the term because when people refer to a doll, you immediately think about a child playing with a doll you can buy at the supermarket or toy store.
Do people’s reactions shock and offend or hurt you?
Not going to lie, at first, it did. I found it hard to imagine why people could be this rude about something that makes ME happy. I assume most people don’t immediately understand what’s going on and I can imagine people think I treat Velzy as a real baby, looking at my page. I sometimes take my time to explain what Velzy exactly is, and if they don’t want to listen, I’ll just block them and move on. It’s still not always easy, but at the end of the day I want to focus on the positivity.
You seem to have a lovely community in reborn dolls of like-minded people, do you all support one another?
It’s a big community, and most of the time super supportive of one another! Most of my followers are reborn collectors and that’s also mostly the people I connect with on my page (However I also love to connect with people outside the community). Over the past two years I definitely gained some friends that I’m hoping to cherish forever! At the end of the day, we are all people with lives, but it feels safe coming to a place where there are people like me and won’t judge me for what I do! Besides that, love seeing everyone else’s gorgeous reborn babies!
Velzy is incredibly realistic (and stylish) do people mistake him for a newborn not a reborn? Do you correct them? If so what’s their first reaction?
Quite often people that don’t follow me seem to think Velzy is real, this is a hard situation because if they simply comment “so cute!” or “so tiny!” I usually let it slip through. I do talk about Velzy being a doll often, so I assume most of my followers know! If I do tell people he’s a doll, I usually receive positive reactions and lots of curiosity! I see reborns popping up in more shops as well, since they are easy to photograph! It makes me very happy to see that is slowly gets more “normal” and accepted.
If you could say or explain anything to the haters or those who miss understand you what would it be?
Good question! I think quite a few people find it not healthy (they probably assume I’m crazy for having a reborn and that I’m treating it as a real baby), but for me it’s the opposite. If I hold a baby, I feel calm and I can take a step back of a crazy life. We are not crazy, we don’t need help for having dolls, they are not toys! I think it’s extremely important not to judge each other. Why would you have to say anything negative about someone’s happiness anyway?
For those who aren’t collectors, the best way I can describe their therapeutic effects is similar to the way someone might use a weighted blanket for anxiety, or a stress ball to ease intense emotions. It’s something that provides you comfort during a difficult time. I’m in full support of whatever security tools an individual may need to healthily cope — reborns certainly fit the bill for many!
This is a little bit of a sensitive topic to talk about for me, but If it helps others, I’m all here for it. I have been in and out for depression since I was young. My parents took me to many therapists, but when I got a reborn baby, it gave me so much comfort. It truly helped me processing things. Luckily, I have been feeling very well for a long time now. Velzy makes it all a bit more stable.
You certainly have style and Velzy has a fantastic wardrobe where you get the clothes from? Thrift? Swaps? Buy new?
Thank you so much! I usually buy secondhand through Instagram and every now and then I buy something new. I find it nice to buy on a budget + it’s better for the world to buy secondhand anyway! If I do buy new, I always double check if it’s slow fashion and if I’d like to keep it for real kids one day. I try not to have more than thirty pieces in his wardrobe purely because I’d like to keep it somewhat minimal and it’s not like he needs to bechanged five times a day ;). It’s kind of addicting to buy baby clothes so I switch around quite often too! Meaning I sell quite a lot as well so I can experience other pieces and brands.
Is Velzy your first reborn? Would you like to have more?
Velzy is not my first reborn, I’ve had many over the years! Usually, I keep a baby for a few months / a year depending on how I bond with it. However, I know I will keep Velzy forever. He’s very special to me because I’ve waited so long for him! And he was made by one of the most amazing people I’ve met in this community. I’d love to have more reborns, as there are so many amazing sculpts and artists out there, unfortunately I don’t have a lot of space to keep them all and sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming to have them all laying around, for now I’m just sticking to one!
- Big Thank you to Ezra for being so open with his experiences and feelings and ofcourse for taking the time to answer our questions with such honesty and courage we know it was not easy. If you are touched and intrigued or simply appreciate good style and photography please follow this journey on Instagram @chasingvelzy or leave a message of support below.