DRESSED in a frilly pink dress with knee-high socks, a furry headband around her platinum blond hair and full eyelashes, 21-year-old Jade Smith looks more like a porcelain doll than a real-life person – and that’s exactly the look she’s aiming for
“I have roughly around 40 pairs of shoes and I have around 40 key chains.
“The money has also gone into my toy collection.”
With its Care Bear-lined bed and shelves of dolls, Disney figures, Hello Kitty and My Little Pony figures, Jade’s pink bedroom looks more like that of a seven-year-old’s than an adult’s.
Jade still lives with her parents and younger sisters and the family home’s loft is stuffed with toys and clothes that don’t fit in Jade’s pink oasis.
Jade said: “My family call me a hoarder and they really wish I would downsize and become more minimalistic.
“They wish I would wear something a bit normal but they just accept me for who I am now.”
If she had her way, Jade would wear head to toe pink everyday but working as a retail assistant Jade has to make do with sneaking pink accessories into her black work uniform.
She said: “I got in trouble once at work for dressing differently. I have over 20 key chains on my phone and my phone fell out of my pocket during a shift.
“The only casual clothing I own is jeggings, which I wear for work.”
Jade, or Princess Jadette, as she is known on social media, wants to look like a porcelain doll and admits In the future she’d like to have plastic surgery to enhance her doll-like looks.
Jade said: “I would probably consider plastic surgery to make myself look younger when I am slightly older – Botox, a nose job and possibly a face-lift.”
While Jade’s pink look attracts a lot of attention when she is out and about, the retail assistant says she enjoys going out in public in her doll–like outfits because of the (mostly) positive reactions she gets.
Instead of being heckled by passersby, they ask to take selfies with her because she’s so cute-looking.
She said: “Quite a few little girls have called me princess and I have to act like a real princess because they don’t know the difference and I don’t want to ruin their illusion.
“Quite a few people always try to take photos of me sneakily or they do ask for photos sometimes.
“It’s pretty common for me to get things shouted at me. The latest one was when I was called a ‘little Barbie.’
“Some other comments are like, “are you on your way to a clown’s funeral?” and “It’s not Halloween, you missed it.’
“I would have to say people who don’t like this fashion that if you haven’t tried it – you won’t understand. It’s a great fashion to wear and it’s really good for making you feel happy. Because you get to just be yourself. And you get to have fun and not have to worry about anything.”
Jade first started to dress like a princess – or as she calls it in Lolita style – age 11, when her mum would dress her up in frilly dresses.
She said: “When I was 11 I got really interested into the Japanese anime scene. I started cosplaying and my first ever convention I discovered Lolita fashion and from then on it has just grown from what it is now.
“Lolita isn’t related to the novel at all. It is based on the fashion or style from the 80s from Japan. Lolita means ‘young girl’.”
Her unconventional appearance attracted the attention of the school bullies and Jade was subject to constant name-calling and even physically attacks.
“I was picked on for everything: my eye colour, my hair colour, having braces, having glasses. Everything was picked on. I had no proper outlet to express my creativity apart for my fashion and how I dressed,” Jade explained.
“They used to beat me up a lot and they would call me horrible names. One time someone even pushed me down the stairs in the school.”
And the more elaborate her look got, the worse the bullying became – but even when Jade tried dressing like the other girls in her class the bullying continued.
Jade said: “I did try to dress like them so that I get bullied less. But they still bullied me saying that I never truly belonged.
“It completely shattered my self-confidence. When they found out my dreams of wanting to be a model, they would bully me and throw food at me and tell me I was too fat to be a model.”
Her confidence shattered, Jade has found a supportive network in the cosplay community who admire rather than make fun of her dressing up obsession.
Jade said: “It makes me feel happy because of all my life I was bullied and this is like the one fashion that I feel comfortable in. I feel safer in this look.
“The people who also wear this, they keep you safe.”
As well as dressing up Lolita style, Jade has made character costumes that she wears to cosplay conventions, including Draco Malfoy, Jessica Rabbit and Cinderella.
The talented seamstress has her own sewing machine and makes many of the elaborate outfits herself: Jade estimates she’s mad over 100 pieces, including accessories.
Her Cinderella dress, which cost £400 to make, has 14 petticoats to it and 10,000 individual diamantes glued onto it by Jade’s own hands.
The doll-wannabe was also recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia – a chronic condition that causes muscle pain and bruising throughout the body – which she takes pain medication daily for.
“It’s incredibly painful to live through each day,” said Jade.
But the cutesy outfits and toys are a form of escapism from the condition.
She said: “It affects me because I can’t enjoy as many things as I wish I could. Walking really hurts sometimes and there are some days where I am just bed bound for a couple of days where I can’t actually move.
“The toys and the clothes do help with it because it makes me forget for even just a little while the pain that I am experiencing.
“I don’t believe this is the way for me to hide because this to me is my real self and this is me showing everyone my real side.
“I believe this is the real me because of inside I am cute, I am cuddly and I just like to project it to the world.”