Category: Weird Articles
Published on Monday, 16 June 2014 00:00
Us Singaporeans are fully aware how many of us go absolutely crazy every time McDonalds' releases a series of Hello Kitty dolls. News reports and articles have fully exemplified our irrational obsession with Hello Kitty; from grown men getting into fights outside McDonalds' to queuing 12 hours in advance just for a Hello Kitty plush. However, no other kitty fan in Singapore can be compared to one woman in Britain who has proven to be the most obsessed of the lot.
29-year-old horse trainer Natasha Goldsworth has her entire one-bedroom flat in Exeter completely flooded with Hello Kitty collectibles. She has spent a total of £50,000 (S$100,000) in 15 years collecting 10,000 Hello Kitty merchandise. That is a lot of money.
Every corner of her tiny apartment is now filled to the brim with Hello Kitty items including jewelery, furniture, clothing, curtains, and 4,000 cuddly soft toys. It is hard to imagine how she manages to move around her house without tripping over a mountain of kitties and drowning in the deluge.
Natasha admits that men get repulsed by her kitty kingdom, but she says she is happy enough to turn them away if they can't support her obsession.
“Boyfriends in the past have tried to make me give her up, so I got rid of them. It's part of who I am and I'm not changing for anybody,” she recalls. “One boyfriend tried to tell me not to wear my Hello Kitty clothes and said I should grow up or wear something that doesn't make me look so young.”
“Others have asked me to sell my collection and I've had to tell them no. If a man doesn't like my kitty kingdom and can't accept me for who I am then I'm not interested in them,” she adds.
Natasha's love for the mouthless Sanrio character began when she was just a teenager in 2000. Her Japanese school friend gave her a little Hello Kitty notebook as a gift and she fell head over heels in love with the cat. She then started buying bigger items like curtains, lunch boxes, a gum ball machine and even a themed Christmas tree.
In 2004 when Natasha was 19, she moved her and her kitties to her current residential address in Exeter, Devon. Since then she has heaped Hello Kitty products by the truckloads into every square inch of her apartment with almost every item imaginable. From kitchenware to clothes, appliances to crockery, doll houses, jewelery, tiaras, lamps and furniture sets has everything to do with Hello Kitty.
“I live in my little pink lagoon with all my kitties, they cheer me up and I like having them around me,” Natasha says. “Before people come over I do have to warn them about my kitty kingdom because some people just can't handle it.”
Standing at almost a meter tall, her biggest item is a giant Hello Kitty wearing a polka dot dress. “I call her the boss and she's almost as big as me. She has to live in the hall because she's too big for my bedroom,” Natasha says proudly. “As soon as people notice her they always say 'wow, look at that huge kitty!'”
Natasha does not seek to buy mass marketed Hello Kitty collectibles, and instead goes online to track down rare and limited edition Hello Kitty merchandise. Most of her items are imported from America and Japan. She also sources items through http://www.hellokitty4u.com
, a website she writes and edits in her spare time.
Her most valuable item is a limited edition Hello Kitty plush wearing a handmade Hanita wedding dress which she bought previously for £250 (S$530), but its market value has now gone up to an impressive £600 (S$1,260).
“When I get married I want to wear the same Hanita dress. My dad's already agreed to wear a pink tie and I want to have Hello Kitty on top of the wedding cake,” Natasha says.
Natasha had to reign in her spending on Hello Kitty after she was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and forced to give up work as a horse trainer in 2011. But the collection continues to grow as friends and relatives buy her nothing else but Hello Kitty stuff for Christmas and birthdays.
“Everyone knows I don't buy myself high street Hello Kitty, so they'll give it to me for Christmas and my birthday. Luckily, I've got some friends in Japan and America who post gifts to me too,” she says.
Natasha's particular obsession is with Hello Kitty handbags, of which she owns hundreds. She admits she has had to sacrifice other things to fund her addiction, and says he hasn't been on holiday or out for dinner for years.