She has 300 children in her three-bedroom apartment, and she cleans, dresses and feeds many of them on a daily basis. Performing those tasks isn't necessary though – the children aren't actually alive.
Marilyn Mansfield, a plus-size model who has appeared in Penthouse, has over the years amassed a brood of dolls--some of them extremely lifelike--that occupy more than a quarter of her Staten Island, N.Y., apartment. The children receive solicitous care from their mother, who says they "have to be treated as if they're real because they could break and stuff." Since Mansfield has two real children of her own, her inanimate babies don't get their own room. But they do benefit from a wide assortment of furniture purchased to cater to their needs. The collection includes four baby carriages, four strollers and two baby baskets along with a baby seat, car seat, cradle, bassinet, rocking chair, dresser, playpen and full-size crib, all of which she uses to coddle her insentient loved ones. Some of the babies wear hand-me-down clothes from her daughter.
Mansfield's home and massive doll collection will be featured in the upcoming TLC series "My Collection Obsession." The show, which documents unusual collections of colorful individuals, premieres this Sunday.
While the lifelike babies enjoy the luxury of real furniture, Mansfield's more imaginative ones rest on shelves lining her hallway. They are "living-dead dolls," babies with demonic features like devil-horn nubs and blood-red eyes.
"I always was a big horror movie buff. I think sometimes what's scary to someone might be really cute to me," she says.
That morbid interest has led Mansfield to model with her most lifelike doll, Anna Nicole, for "Evil Brand
," a clothing line that boasts the "best quality in lifestyle accessories for outlaws, jezebels, greasers, punks, hot rodders, tattooed hell raisers, pin-up queens, rockabilly cats, flat top barbers, reformer serial killers and whiskey drinking bowlers," according to its web site.
Mansfield takes her Mommy role-playing so far that she even ferries her favorites like Anna Nicole in baby strollers around public parks. Per usual in such settings, there are always some passersby who stop to oooh
at her babies.
But when they look closely enough, Mansfield says, "they always think it's amazing, whether they're creeped out by them or not."
Mansfield says she can see why her obsession is perceived by some as downright creepy but insists that it doesn't interfere with her life.
"Obviously, they don't have feelings," she says, adding that her human children come first.
Her daughter actually supports the habit and assists with baby-doll park strolls. The son has zero interest. And her husband?
"He's not into it, but, you know, he respects my interest in it."
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