From our bodies to our brains, we all have those little quirks that make us feel insecure. The funny thing is, often that thing makes us so self-conscious is the very same trait that someone else loves about us. Enter UsUs, identical twin sisters Cayla and Rayelle Hache, who created the Misfits, a family of felt dolls who wear their insecurities loud and proud, reminding us that life is too short to spend time staring in the mirror wishing we could change something we can’t. The Misfits began as a thesis at OCAD called “The Beauty of Belonging,” and grew into a passion project that the two sisters remain devoted to despite the fact that Cayla lives in Toronto and Rayelle is based in Los Angeles. We talked to them about their felty family of lovable friends. Read on, and help suggest a name for the newest Misfit!
She Does The City: We love that each Misfit represents a different trait that society has decided is “embarrassing.” What inspired you to create the Misfits?
UsUs: Because we grew up just like anyone else, dealing with the awkwardness of adolescence. Except that, being identical twins, we dealt with all the awkwardness of growing up twice over. In an effort to tell us apart, people pointed out, verbally and physically, our “defining features”: She’s taller…She’s smarter… She’s thinner…She’s the better artist…You get the idea…
However, we were fortunate to grow up with a very close family who also shared a great sense of humor and understanding. Together, we learned to deal with the ups and downs that life brings – as the saying goes, “laughter is the best therapy.” It sure worked for us.
So, here we are, fully grown adults making characters to help us and others deal with our not-so-favourite traits. The stories we’ve written are straight from the heart and have been inspired by our own experiences or those of close friends and family.
SDTC: What’s the creation process of the Misfits like?
UsUs: Well that’s a tough one to describe…for the stories, it’s a lot of sharing of our own experiences and the experiences of those close to us and the feelings associated with those growing pains. We really do our best to get behind the feelings that can result from some of the negative experiences we go through while growing up; to create a new positive perspective. Because our approach is heartfelt and humorous there is also a lot of laughter, tears and those wonderful “ah ha!” moments when we feel like we have made a real connection.
The dolls almost make themselves once the character’s story has been created. At that point it’s just up to us to cut, sew, and add the finishing details to bring each character to life.
SDTC: What were both of you doing before you created Misfits?
UsUs: We were studying at the Ontario College of Art and Design and The Misfits were part of our final thesis project. I don’t think we knew then that years later the family of characters would have grown so big, but we are sure glad they have.
SDTC: Are there any new Misfits coming soon?
UsUs: Of course! We have 4 new misfits in development that we will premiere at this years One Of A Kind Christmas show. Here they are: Ginger Gerry, Reggie the Vegginator, Independent Izzie and a Shy one that has yet to be named, any suggestions?
SDTC: Favourite Misfit?