The lofty daydreams of kids often include pretending to be their favorite characters. But they’re not alone. Many adults would also love to morph into a fictional favorite, giving them their own storylines.

A photo series by professional photographer Tony Ross and costume designer Nephi Garcia provided the opportunity for several mom-child pairs to do just that. The two teamed up to bring Disney princesses to life, but with a sprinkle of maturity.

Two pictures were taken of each famous character: a young princess version, and an older, wiser queen version. Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Mulan, Cinderella, and Elena of Avalor were all given the royal pictorial treatment with gorgeous gowns and backdrops.

Inspired by Mother’s Day and the thought of seeing these independent and fierce young ladies as sage, regal women, the two wanted to show another side of these princesses. In an interview with ABC News, Garcia spoke about how these tales usually end:

“In the movies, and in the animation, it always ends at the wedding. So I wanted to give these women … a sense of adulthood and maturity. . .

I wanted to show people that the princesses weren’t just about the frills and the lace, but they can handle a sword, they can handle a throne.”

Another element that they wanted to emphasize was the theme of family bonds, and how they grow and strengthen over time. With mothers and daughters, it was also important for them to show parallels to one another. So, Ross and Garcia went on a quest to scout for models.

All were real-life family members, including mothers and their children, and one mom-in-law/daughter-in-law duo. Though it was fairly easy to get the “princesses” on board, the moms took some extra coaxing. What drew them was the chance to create a new story, and a vision of themselves in beautiful, queenly attire. It was sealed.

To find the perfect locations for the shoot, Ross and Garcia drove all over Southern California and some parts of Utah! Each photo required its own unique background to nail the stories that we all know and love.

If you’re familiar with each of these princesses, then you know they’ve all had to fight to overcome huge obstacles. Where they landed after going through their battles and some growing pains has often been left up to our imaginations.

As you glance at these whimsical pictures, you’ll be reminded of their stories and struggles. For example, Princess Belle – modeled by Garcia’s wife Bethanie and her mom – is clutching a mirror while thinking of her father. Queen Belle is still holding on to his memory through the mirror.

Click on the video to see these Disney faves come to life and blossom into their stunning, older selves. This was a fun way to honor moms for Mother’s Day but also helps to demonstrate that with age also comes wisdom – and renewed beauty!


What do you think of this magical photo shoot? Would you love to do something like this with your mom or dad?