Meet the Truro man whose spare room is dedicated to a 200-strong collection of dolls, from shop-bought Barbies to £600 Japanese imports.

Former X Factor contestant Duane AJ, 34, started collecting at the age of five - for which he says he was bullied during his childhood. But he says he now wants to speak out and break the stereotype - saying men can collect dolls too.

"It's an expensive hobby,” he says. “I have to make sure all my bills are paid each month before I buy any dolls.

"I don't know why I love them so much, but I do. I believe I was born to collect dolls.

"I just want to raise awareness for guys who collect dolls. It's fine to do what you enjoy, whoever you are."

Duane - who as a singer made it to the 'boot camp' stage of X Factor in 2006 - got his first doll at a car boot sale when his grandma offered to buy him something he liked.

He became "obsessed", and for every birthday and Christmas, family would buy him different types of dolls.

But when he began taking them to school, he was picked on by classmates for his hobby. "Growing up, my family always fully supported my hobby - they never made me feel like it was wrong,” he says.

"But at school, the boys would take the mick and call me ‘gay’. It got the better of me and in the end I stopped taking them."

From there, Duane continued collecting dolls in secret - even as he moved into adulthood. He began to stop being ashamed and embrace his passion, spending all his spare cash on new dolls.

He has everything from £20 Barbies through to Japanese Smart Dolls, which set him back up to £600 due to having to also pay to import them – not to mention accessorising them with £70 genuine Jimmy Choo shoes.

His current favourite is a limited-edition Alice in Wonderland doll acquired on eBay before Disney even released them in the UK, costing around £100. "That was such a good dealat the time because there's only 500 of her in the world - she's such a rare diamond."

Duane's enormous collection is worth thousands of pounds - and occupies an entire room in his house where he lives with his husband Nick, 35, who is fully supportive.

"I couldn't have married someone who wasn't,” says Duane. “He just lets me get on with my dolls. We live in a three-bed house - one is our bedroom, one is his office and one is my dollroom!"

A far cry from hiding them away to avoid bullies, Duane now loves to film and take pictures of the dolls to show off on social media to his 38,000 followers.

"It's only since I have got to adult life that I stopped caring what people think,” he says. “I look at it as you’re not here for a long time, so you just have to live your life."

Duane won't rule out selling some dolls in the future as a "retirement fund". But for now, he has no plans to stop growing his collection, and meets other doll collectors regularlyto discuss their latest purchases.

Trolls on social media attack him for his hobby and say "dolls are for children and girls" - butthat won't stop Duane.

He wants to destigmatise men and boys collecting dolls - so other little boys aren't bullied as he was. "Collecting dolls doesn't make you any less of a man.”