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Ever wonder what Belle’s “provincial” life — from the quaint country village to the incredible Enchanted Castle — would look like up close? Well, thanks to dad Josh Rossi, 3-year-old Nellee Rossi got to watch it come to life before her very eyes with an epic Beauty and the Beast–themed photo shoot she won’t soon forget.
Rossi, a commercial photographer who has already portrayed his daughter as Wonder Woman, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hua Mulan, knew that their next photo shoot had to be great. With Belle being Nellee’s favorite Disney princess (and with the March 17 release of Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast fast approaching) he didn’t need to look far for inspiration.
Rossi told Babble:
“Right now she [Belle] is her favorite princess by far. I think she loves the romantic scene between Belle and The Beast. She was so excited at the photo shoot to be able to dance with me while we were shooting.”
The father-daughter duo had a magical time bringing the movie to life. (Nellee even screamed at one point, she was so excited.) For Nellee, “It’s like going to Disneyland. It’s like she IS Belle,” Rossi explains.
Rossi’s favorite part about the photo shoot? Being able to bond with his daughter.
“My favorite part was being able to create something WITH my daughter,” Rossi tells Babble. “Something we both love to do. Usually we are just playing games our kids like. This time we play a game we both truly love which is taking magical pictures together.”
But it’s not just Dad who does all the work — Rossi’s wife, Roxanna Rossi, gets in on the action, too. In fact, she booked all of the locations in Europe and handled costumes and other logistics. “It’s sort of a family event,” says Rossi.
Roxanna even posed for this portrait from Beast’s castle, a moment fans will remember from the scene when Beast loses his temper and takes it out on a nearby painting.
While Rossi enjoyed the family bonding aspect of the project, Nellee had other things in mind. “Her favorite part was by far putting on the yellow dress, dancing with me, and then doing the photo shoot … She keeps asking to do photo shoots even when we are at home.”
Well, good luck with that, Dad! You certainly have set the bar pretty high. Especially when you consider all the costumes were handmade by designer Ella Dynae for this project specifically.
This task was truly a labor of love, taking about 1-2 weeks to put together, not including the time Rossi spent photographing European locations. Rossi told PEOPLE he took background shots in Milan, Florence, the Swiss Alps, Munich, and the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany (the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle in Disneyland) to make the photos look super realistic.
While Rossi credits his daughter for being his inspiration, he also says that “anything Disney is so magical and amazing.”
While this is not Rossi and Nellee’s first photo shoot by any means, it’s clear this one is particularly close to their hearts. Nellee loved the experience so much that Rossi blew up the photo of the two of them dancing as a Valentine’s Day surprise.
“To me the photo shows the relationship that we have. It shows the love that I have for her. To her I think it probably means the same,” Rossi says. There really is nothing like the love between a father and a daughter.
Itching for more magical photos? Lucky for all of us, Rossi will be posting one Beauty and the Beast-themed image on his Instagram account, @JoshRossiPhoto, each week until the premiere of the movie.
And for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the photo shoot, Rossi put together this video: