What Lies Behind the Make-Up

Originally Published 01/04/17

Living Dolls Inc became a registered company in New Zealand; October 21st 2011, and from there it began to make headlines and attract considerable amounts of media attention. Sole director and fashion couturier Sophia Lee owned the majority of the company (75%) and among various fashion awards she was even recently listed as one of Christchurch’s ’10 Magical Characters’ however there have been many instances that the media has not reported.

Less than one year after the official registration Living Dolls Inc teamed up with a variety of other performers and producers to run The Big Fat Living Dolls Show 2012. An event that saw its own article on Stuff and spawned not only a lot of controversy but a court-case that went largely undocumented. For some time following a visit to livingdolls.co.nz would present the following warning:

The site has since gone down but is still available through the web archive here.

Just days ago, March 30th 2017, make-up artist and judge for Miss Diamond Doll 2014, Jordaniel Malendine, released a public video regarding the results of the pageant. In the video he claims that the judges scores were changed and apologises for his part in it. View the video here or read the transcript below. In just a matter of days this video has been shared by numerous facebook users and viewed more than 3,000 times.

‘Hey guys, so for all of you wonder what I’m going on about when I’m talking about Sophia Lee. This all stems from a couple of years ago back in 2014 when she asked me to help judge the Diamond Doll Pageant on August 9th. At the end of the show we were asked to tally up the results and we tallied them up a good five times and it kept coming up with the same name. Sophia then asked me to come out the back with her and Mel Anderson, where we tallied up the results again, and it kept coming up with the same name. That name was not Shauva unfortunately. That name was actually Shannon Clare.  Mel Anderson and Sophia Lee both agreed and said to me that they thought Shannon Clare did not fit the brand and was not the right look and in Sophia’s own words ‘looked like an old junky’ she then asked me who my favourite was and who I thought had potential to be a diamond doll and a living doll. And I said Shauva. The actual runner-up who should have taken the crown, if they didn’t want Shannon Clare was Jo Garland, and this is a secret that I’ve had to keep now for three years. Sophia casts a spell over people, she’ll use you for your creativity, she’ll use you for your skills and your talents, if you specialise in hair make-up, modelling, photography, she will befriend you and use you for those talents and then when she can’t get anything out of you anymore she’ll just drop you. So I am sorry that its taken me three years to let this out and let people know. I’m extremely sorry to you Shauva for letting this out when you’re going through such a tough time at the moment but I felt after reading your status on Tuesday about how unhappy she made you and how much she had used you, and how you have now disassociated yourself with her and the brand I felt it was time that I let you know the truth. For that I am truly sorry. And Sophia, if you’re watching, if someone is relaying this information to you, do the right thing. Tell the truth. Pay your debts. Stop using people. And use your own goddamn talents.’

Living Dolls Inc was removed from the company register October 9th 2015. The facebook page ‘Living Dolls Inc‘ remained active however and up till February 2016 was still requesting people message the page to make bookings. The final post was made March 23rd 2016 more than five months after the company no longer existed. Less than a year later a new page appeared ‘Living Dolls Emporium‘ and on January 3rd announced the very first Living Dolls store would be opening in February.


Updated 11/04/17 

A collection 0f former associates of Living Dolls Inc released details for ‘The Payback Project‘ on April 3rd 2017. Though Living Dolls is not specifically mentioned in a video explaining the project make-up artist JD Malendine does name Sophia while explaining that the group feels strongly about making it up to the people ‘who have been ripped off by a dishonest yet known local Christchurch designer’. Read more about the project here.

On April 10th 2017 Sophia Lee posted this status on her official facebook page. ‘To all our valued clients. If you have not received your photoshoot or photos please send me a private message for amendments.’ It is not known if she is referring to clients of the former company Living Dolls Inc, or the Living Dolls Emporium, as the facebook page still lists her as CEO/Managing Director of the businesses respectively.


Have you worked with Living Dolls before? If you’d like to make a public statement please get in touch with us on our facebook page.

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