Editor’s note: Babble is a part of The Walt Disney Company
For fans of classic Disney films like myself, Belle, Rapunzel, and the other Disney princesses have always represented beautiful, strong, and independent young ladies. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve continued to not only appreciate the noble traits of these characters, I’ve often wondered what they would look like as grown women.
Luckily for Disney fanatics, photographer Tony Ross and designer Nephi Garcia have teamed up to create a stunning portrayal of Disney princesses as queens. The fun twist? The princess photos feature beautiful young women and the queens they become are portrayed by their own equally-stunning mothers. Talk about an epic mother-daughter day!
Babble caught up with Ross and Garcia to learn more about the inspiration behind their incredible shoot. Designer Garcia explains that Walt Disney himself motivated him to create, saying, “He created this wonderful, magical world that we all get to enjoy now! Having children of my own, I want them to know that happiness can last forever! That following your dreams is not impossible.”
I certainly won’t argue with that logic. As for Ross, he notes:
“I grew up in a busy family and we never got to spend much time together growing up past a certain point due to work … I always thought I would be nothing like my parents … and I never truly got close with them. So, when this idea was pitched, it reminded me that no matter what, we are a part of our parents.”
To the surprise of this creative duo, their photos have gone viral across the web.
“It’s been wild to see the impact … We certainly didn’t expect it to go that crazy, but it’s been amazing to see the story being told and I hope it truly makes a difference in the people who saw it,” Ross says. “I was quite surprised actually to see that people have enjoyed the project! It’s very positive and uplifting! With all the negativity going on in the world, I feel like spreading a little bit of pixie dust and magic wouldn’t hurt,” Garcia adds.
The project includes photos inspired by Ariel, Belle, Cinderella, Elena, Mulan, and Snow White — all brought to life by mother-daughter pairings. The men reached out to friends and influencers to be a part of the shoot. Clearly, everyone was on board and super excited to be part of this incredible project. Even Garcia’s wife and mother-in-law joined in on the magic!
“It was very important to me to have both of them in it. Honestly, the idea was based on the two of them. They have this amazing bond and relationship that is hard to describe. I wanted to share that to the world in my own way, and I think I was able to capture it,” Garcia says.
How special is that? Can you imagine having the chance to make this incredible memory alongside your mother? The women “loved it,” Ross says. “I believe they hold a more sentimental value to the photos since it is of them and their mothers, and that’s a beautiful thing to see a true relationship captured in photographs.”
To be honest, these photos look like an actual dream come true.
Between conceptualizing, scheduling, and organizing the logistics, the full shoot took roughly three weeks to complete — and boy, was it worth it!
While it is certainly hard to choose, both Garcia and Ross were able to narrow down their favorite moments of the project. For Garcia, it was seeing the relationship between mothers and daughters and hearing their life stories.
“That is something a camera can’t capture, but I was glad I was there to experience it,” Garcia says. He also enjoyed adding special elements into the photos for the princesses and queens to share. “For example, Belle was holding the magic mirror looking for her papa, and Queen Belle was holding the mirror in her heart, perhaps wishing she could see him again one last time.”
Ross adds, “My favorite part about this shoot was being a part of the story that had a great cause. It wasn’t just a photo for a commission or a financial-related agenda, it was just for fun and to spread a good message.”
While the creative team doesn’t have any set plans for another shoot, Garcia is in hoping to work with Ross again to photograph real couples as Disney princes and princesses on their wedding day, and perhaps even capturing the story of how Disney villains got to where they are now.
I can’t wait to see what these two visionaries come up with next!