Like Gina, Niya was discontinued a few years back. I was really disappointed because to me she was such a fun character. Her hair is different from the current Maria’s because Niya’s is rooted in a permanent part from the front all the way to the back, which leaves big bald spots that have to be covered up when styling her hair. The easiest way I found to cover the bald spots is to style her hair in 2 braids or 2 pigtail. Because of this Niya’s hair is less versatile than Maria’s hair. One thing I always did like about Niya is that she had no bangs. I don’t wear bangs myself and never have. I like that Niya didn’t have bangs and I like that Maria doesn’t either.
Even though Niya has been discontinued you can still buy her at Sunshine Crafts. They have a small supply left and they are on sale for under $20, which is a super bagain. They also have Gina and all the other Springfield girls too.
If you don’t have access to a Niya doll then Maria (Sofia) makes a great alternative. Her hair is easily braided and she can be a Native American doll in a heartbeat. Because of her hair and coloring she can stand in for a lot of different nationalities including Native American, Latino, Indian (from India), Middle Eastern, Egyptian, Bi-Racial or Multi-Ethnic, African American, and some Asian nationalities. I miss Niya, but feel that Maria is a good replacement for her, and because of the difference in the rooting of her hair, it’s my opinion that Maria is perhaps more flexible and has more play value. Niya was a lovely doll though and I’m glad I was able to make her part of my collection.