Zona Harris has practically made a career out of her hobby: doll collecting, especially Barbie dolls. She has photographed and co-authored a popular Barbie doll price guide, attended numerous conventions, been the president of a Nashville Barbie collecting club for more than a decade, and been a strong voice in Nashville’s doll collecting community.
Harris first started collecting dolls about about 1985 when she saw magazine advertisements for a Danbury Mint, porcelain Princess Diana Doll in her wedding attire. “I thought it was beautiful and after about three months I ordered the doll. When it arrived I was very pleased with it, and I ordered a few more porcelain dolls.”
After having two surgeries, Harris became depressed. To cheer her up, her husband bought her some Barbie dolls. “At first I was not impressed with them, but then I saw a picture of the Bob Mackie Queen of Hearts doll and thought it was stunning. I had to have her.” Harris says it was like Pandora’s box had opened for her.
Her husband had the idea to make a price guide for Barbie. “I had always loved photography and had a nice 35 mm single lens reflex camera, but I knew I needed to brush up on my skills. I wanted to illustrate the book, so I signed up for a home study course in professional photography.” After completing several photography courses including Professional Digital Photography, Harris began to consider photography not just a hobby, but a possible future career.
In 1994 another collector told Harris about a Barbie Collectors Club in Nashville. They visited the club and enjoyed bonding with other collectors and learning from the other members. “A lot of the members collected vintage Barbie dolls, so I got my childhood bubble cut out of the closet, and the doll really brought back some ‘warm and fuzzy’ feelings about all of the time I spent playing with the doll during my childhood. I was totally hooked.”
Later Harris became the club secretary and then the president of that club, and she has served as president of the Music City Barbie Doll Collectors Club for the last twelve years.
Over the years, people who have seen Harris’s photography have asked her to take photos for them, including weddings, CD covers and resume shots for local actors. “I think one reason I really love photography is the fact that my late ex brother in law was head of Photographic Services at Tennessee Tech University. He always had a camera with him, I loved his work and he was a big influence on me.”
Most recently Harris has turned her attention to skincare, partnering with the doctors who created Proactive on their new global brand of anti-aging clinical skin care products, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists. Perhaps that is not so surprising given that doll collecting, photography and skincare all overlap with the creative worlds of fashion and beauty.
Connect with Zona Harris on Facebook at Zona’s Creative World.
- Doll Collecting Examiner
- Doll Collecting Examiner on Facebook
- Dolls 101 Blog
- Rodan + Fields Examiner
- Skin, Health & Beauty Examiner
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