SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – They just wanted to give their niece a toy that matched their reality, but their makeshift doll set may be on its way to bringing more diversity to toy aisles everywhere.
“They look exactly like you,” Natalie, 8, shouted with excitement when she opened the same-sex couple doll set her uncles gave her.
Matt Jacobi and Nick Caprio, of Scottsdale, Arizona, have been a couple for more than 11 years, and they’re planning a May wedding, with their two nieces as flower girls.
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Swipe left to open these doors! 11 years ago, we were on a rooftop in Chicago, having an impromptu photo shoot. It was our first year together and Nick was attending @columbiachi, while I was working for @enews. I can’t believe how long it has been. We are beyond grateful.🖤 #LoveIsLove #GayCouple #InstaGay #WeddingSoon #LGBT #WeddingCountdown
Natalie, one of the girls, was celebrating her birthday on December 8, and because she loves dolls, her uncles were hoping to get her a doll wedding set.
“We really wanted to give her something that she could enjoy, but also something that would be meaningful to her and somehow connected to the wedding she will be a part of,” Jacobi said.
The couple stumbled across the almost perfect set. It had a groom, two flower girls, a wedding cake and — a bride. Every set they found had a bride, which didn’t represent their love life.
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Hi @mattel! Happy Holidays. We had a difficult time finding a same sex wedding set to give to my niece for her 8th birthday. She and her little sister are flower girls in our upcoming May wedding. We thought it would be special to give her something with a little meaning behind it. What a bummer you don’t make one with two grooms. Anyway, we had to get creative and make a couple purchases. I hope our custom gift inspires you to make a #GayWedding set! 🌈 . Kindest Regards, Matt Jacobi (America’s Favorite #Guncle) . . #LGBT #Grooms #Instagay #LGBTwedding #GayCouple #Guncles #RelationshipGoals #FamilyGoals #MarriageEquality
“When we saw the toys in all the aisles, Nick and I looked at each other and had a moment. We just didn’t feel connected to any of them,” said Jacobi.
Upset they couldn’t find what they were looking for, Jacobi and Caprio got creative. They bought one of the Ken and Barbie wedding sets and an extra Ken, ditched the Barbie, and made their own same-sex couple wedding set.
After seeing his niece’s reaction, Jacobi wanted to give others the chance to experience the same emotion, so he posted the photo of his custom Barbie set on Instagram in hopes of catching the attention of Barbie-maker Mattel.
“This toy brought so much joy and happiness to my 8-year-old niece, and there are thousands and thousands of families just like Nick and I. I just had to do something,” Jacobi said.
FOX 8 reached out to Mattel. A spokesperson with the company confirmed they have reached out to schedule a meeting with the couple.
Mattel has been creating Barbie and Ken couple sets since 1961, and in recent years, the brand has been redefining what the dolls look like.
In 2015 it broadened the number of skin tones, eye colors and hairstyles available for the dolls.
In 2016 Mattel realized people don’t all come in one shape, so why should Barbie? So, the toymaker introduced the first curvy and petite Barbies.
Last year, Mattel introduced the first Barbie to wear a hijab, as well as a collection of diverse Ken dolls.