While you might prefer to avoid Disney altogether, for many children Disney movies and characters are a big part of their childhood. This mama and photographer, Camillia Courts, chose to run with the princess stories and dress her daughter up (and herself) to create elaborate Disney scenes.
According to The Huffington Post, Camillia and Layla began their foray into serious dress-ups after a family visit to Disneyland’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique back in December 2014. Courts wanted to get a photo of her daughter wearing a new costume purchased there, and it was so popular among their family and friends, that they decided to do it again. A new hobby was formed and they now have more than 42,000 followers on their Instagram page!
Here are a few of their creations!
Camillia started out buying the costumes but eventually teamed up with a local seamstress to custom-make each one, and a talented make-up artist to complete the effects. Layla has dressed up characters from Snow White, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Moana, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and more. Camillia sometimes joins in on the action, but prefers to dress up as a villain, saying “I think being the villain is way more fun than wearing the crown”.
Camillia says the project has not only been a unique experience for the two of them but had another positive effect on daughter Layla. “She’s a very shy child and I see her light up when she gets into costume,” Courts said. “She’s gained a lot of confidence since we started the project and has really come out of her shell.”
Courts originally bought all the costumes for Layla to transform into Disney’s most beloved characters. Now, she or a local seamstress makes them so that they’re more accurate and so Layla can put her own twist on them. The creative mom takes the photos in their town in British Columbia, Canada, and sometimes switches out the backgrounds to perfect that magical look.
While many of Layla’s photos show her dressed like Disney princesses like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Rapunzel, the 7-year-old has also done her best impressions of Rowena Ravenclaw from Harry Potter and Violet from “The Incredibles.” She’s dressed as Princess Leia and BB-8 from the “Star Wars” films, too.
Courts participates in the costume action sometimes, though she prefers the villains to the heroes.
“Every once in a while I like to get in on the fun, and I think being the villain is way more fun than wearing the crown,” she said. “I have a fantastic makeup artist named Missy MacKintosh who has transformed me into Maleficent [from “Sleeping Beauty”], The Evil Queen [from “Snow White], and my favorite, Ursula [from “The Little Mermaid”].
Layla’s favorite Disney princesses are Ariel from “The Little Mermaid,” Belle from “Beauty and the Beast,” Jasmine from “Aladdin” and “Moana.” Her favorite photoshoot so far has been “The Little Mermaid” project she did in which she dressed as Ariel and her mom dressed as the villain Ursula.
“I think that’s because she liked seeing me all purple!” Courts told HuffPost.
Courts said photographing Layla in costume has been “an incredible and unique opportunity” to document her daughter growing up, and has shown her how much Layla has grown in the last two years. The experience has also given Layla more confidence.
“She’s a very shy child and I see her light up when she gets into costume,” Courts said. “She’s gained a lot of confidence since we started the project and has really come out of her shell.”
Courts and Layla work together to choose ideas, costumes and accessories, making it a fun experience for both of them.
“It’s really very special and even if she wanted to quit tomorrow, I will look back on how much fun we had playing dress-up,” Courts said. “It’s truly been magical.”