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Meet the sisters who drew inspiration from the '90s for two new American Girl dolls


SPICE GIRLS: (Singing) Yo, I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want.


How do you remember the '90s? "Jurassic Park" and "The Matrix." "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" and AOL. Tupac and Biggie. Well, how about this?


SPICE GIRLS: (Singing) Really, really, really wanna zig-a-zig, ah. If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.

RASCOE: "Wannabe" by the Spice Girl. Now the American Girl doll franchise wants to give a shoutout to the decade. The company has been releasing dolls since 1986, depicting girls throughout the country's history, like Felicity caught between the loyalists and patriots in 1770s Williamsburg, Va., and Claudie living during the Harlem Renaissance. Now there's a set of twins from the '90s, Isabel and Nicki Hoffman.

JULIA DEVILLERS: Isabel and Nicki are 9-year-old fraternal twins growing up in Seattle, Wash., in 1999 with their mom, who's a tech worker, helping to fix the Y2K bug and their dad, an independent coffee shop owner.

RASCOE: That's Julia DeVillers, who wrote Isabel and Nicki's stories with her twin sister, Jennifer Roy.

JENNIFER ROY: Isabel is extroverted. And she loves dancing to pop music. Nicki is thoughtful, introverted. And she's happiest while skateboarding, writing her zines and song lyrics and listening to alt rock sound that got its start in Seattle, where they live.


RASCOE: DeVillers and Roy were kids of the 1990s, though not in Seattle, and wanted to incorporate the era's fashion and culture into the dolls' story. You can see some of the '90s artifacts on the American Girl TikTok account with Isabel and Nicki playing.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Isabel) Things from the '90s you may have forgotten about.

RASCOE: Like Tamagotchis.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Isabel) No, please don't die.

RASCOE: Blowup furniture.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Nicki) Beware of thighs getting stuck on this.

RASCOE: Chokers.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Nicki) This goes with every outfit.

RASCOE: Landlines.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Isabel) Hello?

RASCOE: And dial-up internet.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Isabel) Come on already.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Nicki) You have no idea how this works, do you?

RASCOE: But check in the comments, and you'll see the disbelief from millennials, who are realizing their childhood is historic.

ROY: I feel disrespected. I feel attacked. I'm having an existential crisis. Help. I'm withering to dust.

RASCOE: But Jennifer Roy says...

ROY: People are realizing that it's not just feeling old, but it's feeling nostalgia. And that's what a lot of these accessories and the dolls themselves and the books, of course, the stories - that's what we want them to bring out.

DEVILLERS: Yeah. People are saying that they feel seen. And, you know, isn't that something that you want when you're reading a book and bringing some characters into the world?

RASCOE: Plus, DeVillers and Roy think the Dolls can bridge a gap between children and their parents who grew up in the '90s.

ROY: To children, this is history. And they have no idea what some of these things are. We are living history right now. So, you know, in the future, people will look back as history. So historical doesn't necessarily have to be negative. It can also mean, you know, important enough to remember.

RASCOE: That's Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy, authors of the stories behind the new American Girl dolls. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Ayesha Rascoe is the host of "Weekend Edition Sunday" and the Saturday episodes of "Up First." As host of the morning news magazine, she interviews news makers, entertainers, politicians and more about the stories that everyone is talking about or that everyone should be talking about.