Dolly Style have taken part in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen three times. Most recently (in fact, just a few days ago), they failed to qualify from the third semifinal of Melodifestivalen 2019, despite becoming a big favourite to go “direkt till final”. They’re known as the cute girl band, Molly, Holly and Polly from Dollyville, aimed at young girls. However, only hours ago, SVT have released the first part in a documentary series titled “The Dolly Style Factory” (Dolly style-fabriken in Swedish) showing the dark and disturbing treatment of members of Dolly Style.
“We were given target weights”
The original Polly of the group, Emma Pucek, describes that after the happiness and excitement of Melodifestivalen, cracks began to appear in the foundation of Dolly Style that couldn’t be ignored. A tearful Emma reveals that every member of Dolly Style are told how they need to lose weight and look a certain way:
We were each given a “goal” for our weight, appearance and personality, but then on the outside, we have to show individuality and talk about “being yourself”.
I want to have the freedom to be myself as an artist, to be myself, to be Emma. This wasn’t the right way. There were lots of comments, for example, about my weight and how I looked – I often got told that I was “the hungry dolly” because of how often I ate.
It’s lucky that I have good self-esteem and I knew they were wrong, but I couldn’t stand on stage and stand for individuality and anti-bullying when they treated us like this. It was a double standard.Emma Pucek
“We were not allowed to leave”
The original Holly of the group, Alexandra Salomonsson, says that at times she got a scary feeling that she could not leave Dolly Style. Alexandra remembers feeling that she had no choice but to give all her effort into the band and that she will be with the band. Alexandra was part of Dolly Style for over four years in total.
I had a constant feeling that I couldn’t leave. If you dared to think differently and not just go along with what you were told, there was always the fear that you would be kicked out of the band.Alexandra Salomonsson
“We were artists, but we weren’t involved”
The documentary shows footage from a rehearsal in a dance studio with Emma Nors, the creator of Dolly Style. In the footage, Emma can be seen heavily criticising the band. At one point, the current Molly of the band mentions that it is difficult to do all of the vocals live and asks if they really have to do so. Emma replies “Well, then people will say that you can’t sing.”
Later in the documentary, the dollies can be seen talking about what they want to do with a performance, and what they want to wear. Alexandra actually says to Emma that she doesn’t like how the dollies are always dressed in the same way, and mentions a stage outfit that she would like to wear which is much closer to the original style of Dolly Style (including a tiara and a fluffy coat). She also mentions an idea of each dolly having their own “symbol”. Molly begins to describe an outfit she would like to wear, but the documentary cuts to a clip of Emma saying:
It’s very hard to direct them, because they are friends. Yes, they are artists, but they are artists in a created concept.Emma Nors
Alexandra says to Emma that “it sometimes feels like we are working for you. Hello? We’re artists too.” Emma’s only response is “I promise you it’s not like that.”
It’s like living in conflict with the artists. It’s really difficult but not all that uncommon. The biggest problem with Dolly Style is that I invited them to have a say on things. When you do that, it just goes the wrong way. They come up with all these ideas and I have to tell them what to do. They start thinking “We have a say in this, we want to say how this works because we’re the ones who made this”. And that’s the wrong way. To do something bigger, you need to forget about your own ego.Emma Nors
“I see Dolly Style like McDonalds”
Yes, you read that correctly, Emma Nors compares Dolly Style to McDonalds in the documentary. It’s a rather frightening metaphor in which Emma says that she would like to franchise Dolly Style and make it into a global empire. Her idea is that each country will have it’s own version of the band, and each year every band will come together in a grand “Dolly-con”. Alexandra, the original Holly, talks about when Emma first told her about her plans:
I just said “….what? Wait….what? …did I really hear that right? What did you say?” so they explained it all again….that they are going to make Dolly Style groups around the world with other girls. I remember it was that moment that I looked at Emma and thought “No…you can’t be trusted.” There was nothing I could say, nothing I could do…it became really difficult.Alexandra Salomonsson
The idea for Dolly Style was originally formed by the three original members. At the time, they were just school girls with a very common dream for school girls – to be part of a famous girl band. Unfortunately, the three original members have left the band, and the Dolly Style concept has been left in the hands of Emma Nors.
The current band’s reaction
The members of the current band have released a statement on their social media platforms:
In English, the statement says:
“Hi all of you wonderful people!
We have seen the documentary and think it is terrible how it appears. The purpose of the documentary was something completely different from the beginning and we are so disappointed with how it has become. We absolutely do not share the view with what was said in the documentary, and Molly, who has been involved for many years now, find it even more sad that it has been angled so wrong. We have NEVER had weight requirements, THAT you need to know. Dolly Style, and Emma, have always stood for people being who they are.
Emma is a great leader, entrepreneur, enthusiast and PERSON and she would never ever want to harm the group, either former or current members. Dolly Style has been a concept group from the start and this has always been known about. We regret that you’re seeing another side of your former idols and we will never think it is ok to talk badly about someone.
We love you Emma and we think it is so incredibly sad that the documentary was so far from what it was supposed be at the beginning. Hugs from Molly, Holly and Polly.”
You can view the first episode of the documentary yourself here.
What do you think of this? Have your thoughts about Dolly Style changed after hearing this news? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and on social media @ESCXTRA.