1986? “Smirky Marilyn”

A couple of weeks ago (in September 2022) I was contacted by Mona Stenberg-Bøe in Norway, asking me about two Sindy dolls that she had from her childhood. She couldn’t find any information about them anywhere and asked if I knew who they were.

I had never seen anything like them before! They were short haired Sindy dolls with the same face and body mold as Pedigree Sindy from 1986, aka Smirky. First I thought they might have had a hair cut and home made swimsuits by a talented relative of Mona but she showed me their hair had no parting anywhere!

Their hair plugs were put in like a spiral from the top of the head, around and down to the neck. They also had off white paint underneath the hair. No other Sindy dolls from 1986 had this.

Mette Rønning Ervik, also in Norway, has a doll with no hair so it’s easy to see the holes for the hair plugs! She is a “Smirky Marilyn” as well, since she had short hair when Mette bought her used. But her hair was in a bad state so Mette removed it and plans to re-root her. (Thanks for letting TLSM use your photos Mette!)

Photo and owner: Mette Rønning Ervik
Photo and owner: Mette Rønning Ervik

Just in case I had missed something I contacted Paul Jackson, who’s TLSM’s go-to-person when it comes to Sindy from 1986. He had the same thoughts as I at first, but we both realised this must be a Sindy doll never shown in any of the booklets or catalogues from Pedigree and none of us had seen anyone like these before!

I contacted Pedigree as well but they couldn’t help us since they have no documenting left, sadly.

I was really excited! It almost felt like Mona had found a new animal species or something, lol! The three of us tried to find out more about this doll by asking on social media. Mona was the one finding some more people who owned this particular Sindy and they were all living in Norway! This was very interesting and made me think about the McDonald’s Sindy that was made specific for a Mc Donald’s event. Perhaps a big Norwegian company had done the same?

But then Mona also found one owner in the US and my friend Freyja in Sweden had one as well. But NO ONE of these lucky people knew anything about the origin of them. They had all been bought as used dolls except for one lady in Norway but she could not remember anything more than that she was absolutely sure she was named Sindy on the box. 

There has been a great interest regarding this doll and in one of the comments made in the Vintage Sindy Collector’s Facebook group she got the nickname Marilyn which I found very suiting as well, since it was my first impression when I saw Mona’s photos. Just in a couple of days she has got a lot of nicknames! All great! Here are some of them:

Annie Morag Honeyman McFadyen: “Honoured my Marilyn comment caught on, I feel like I’ve named a new species”

Malin Åkerblom: “Smirilyn

Ruth Kiosses: “Shouldn’t 1980s Smirky be named after an 80s icon with short bleached hair?  Smirky Madonna. Or Smirky Vera Duckworth

In the second week of November 2022 TLSM arranged polls, in different social media groups, for what to call her!

The winner was 🥁 Smirky Marilyn Sindy!

Followed by 2nd place Marilyn Smirky Sindy, 3rd place Smirilyn Sindy, 4th place Smirky Vera Sindy and 5th place Smirky Madonna Sindy.

TLSM will use this nickname until we find out what she was sold as. Thanks to all of you who voted for the mystery Sindy’s nickname!

Paul suggested this version might have been something like the Natalie doll aka the blond Marie, that had the same body and face like Sindy’s friend Marie and was still marked “Marie” on the back of her head, even though sold as a Natalie Fashion Model doll in British Home Stores (BHS).

I think we can say that our conclusion is that “Smirky Marilyn” is a rare Sindy we still don’t know much about and if she is a product by Pedigree she might be the 1986 response to the 1982 Sunshine Sindy and the 1983 Holiday Girl.

From one of the Sindy cabinets at TLSM, where 1982 Sunshine Sindy, 1983 Holiday Girl and 1986(?) Smirky Marilyn are shown together,

However, I think she’s gorgeous and thanks to Mona TLSM now has one of the few “Smirky Marilyns” out there for you to enjoy when visiting the museum! Until then you can take a good look at her here!

If you know anything more about this doll please contact TLSM or any one of us mentioned in this text. We would really be grateful!