Dolls Talks with Jian Yang

Aktualisiert: 3. Juli 2021


There are so many meanings we put into the word “a man”... My today’s guest discusses this issue in his recent TEDx talk. To be honest he is very well positioned to do that given he is a successful businessman, a swimmer, a skater, a cyclist, a skier, a wakeboarder, as well as an owner of a stunning collection of 12 thousand dolls, has Asia's largest collection of Barbies, is an author of the amazing barbie book…

The incredible man who even let us have a 3D walkthrough of his Singapore house!


- Hello Jian, I would normally ask my interviewees to introduce themselves. However, I think it is a rare occasion when you do not need an introduction. So, I have a challenge for you: how would you introduce yourself in a single sentence :-)?

I'm a regular guy whose entire identity has been taken over by his 12,000 strong Barbie collection, due to accidental internet fame.

Jian Yang Puppensammler und Barbie-Buchautor

- You are a businessman and an instagrammer and I know for the fact that these are two full-time roles, how do you cope?

I think that life is only as complicated as you make it out to be. Yes, I'm a partner in an advertising agency, and yes, I Instagram, but I do both with entirely clear objectives. I work for passion and I Instagram for fun. If the passion dies at work, I find ways to resurrect it (like how we just won Toys"R"Us as a client which brings me immense joy, even if it's just to put on my portfolio). If Instagramming stops becoming fun, I have no qualms about closing the account. I know a lot of people take "influencer" status very seriously, but if I needed to summarise my priorities, I'd say I'm a career-guy first, and my instagram is just there for me as a photo journal of my own hobby, and the only person I do it for is for myself. It just happens to be public.

- In 2013 you were named the "largest male collector of Barbie dolls in the world"! How did you start? What or who inspired you?

I've always seen that as a fat joke. Because it's the collection that's the largest. Not the collector.

I've always loved barbie, even before I knew she was "for girls". I had my first - stolen from my sister - in 1984 and I've never looked back. Back then she was just another toy. No labels, no prejudice. Just a kid having fun with his toys.


- How big is your collection now, Jian? Are there only barbie dolls or have you ever been tempted to collect any fashion dolls or other toys?

I've got about 12,000 dolls now but honestly, I'v