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Portraits of Women Working as Disney Princess Impersonators NYC | Portrait Series for Refinery29 on Women Who Impersonate & Work as Disney Princess NYC

Refinery29 Feature On Real Life Disney Princesses | Portraits of Ordinary Women Who Work Impersonating Disney Princesses Cinderella, Belle, Ariel & Jasmine[/hide]

Refinery29 Feature Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Works Impersonates Disney Princess Jasmine sitting on steps to Jacuzzi Hot Tub New Jersey
Refinery29 Feature Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Works Impersonates Disney Princess Jasmine sitting on steps to Jacuzzi Hot Tub New Jersey

Omaris Contreras as Disney Princess Jasmine

 

Refinery29 Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Impersonates Works Disney Princess Ariel Little Mermaid Red Head Bryant Park Midtown NYC
Refinery29 Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Impersonates Works Disney Princess Ariel Little Mermaid Red Head Bryant Park Midtown NYC

Brittney Lee Hamilton as Disney Princess Ariel (The Little Mermaid)

 

Refinery29 Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Impersonates Works Disney Princess Belle Yellow Dress Empty Parking Garage Rooftop Downtown Church Steeple New Jersey
Refinery29 Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Impersonates Works Disney Princess Belle Yellow Dress Empty Parking Garage Rooftop Downtown Church Steeple New Jersey

Sapphire Nova as Disney Princess Belle

 

Refinery29 Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Impersonates Works Disney Princess Cinderella East River Sunken Steamboat Binghamton Ferry New Jersey
Refinery29 Real Life Disney Princesses Portrait Ordinary Woman Impersonates Works Disney Princess Cinderella East River Sunken Steamboat Binghamton Ferry New Jersey

Lisa Scrivanich as Disney Princess Cinderella

THE STORY

Refinery29 photo editor Amanda Gorence had first encountered my work a few years ago. A couple of my projects, including Black Girl and Happy Valley, have been featured on the popular photography blog Feature Shoot. Amanda worked there at the time and especially loved the Black Girl project. Then last year sometime, Amanda started following me on Instagram. A few weeks later, she asked me to come in to the office of Refinery29 (where she had recently been hired) for a meeting, which I happily did. We hit it off, but I honestly didn’t think anything would come of it.

Fast forward to January 2016. I send out a New Year’s newsletter and Amanda replies asking me if I’d be interested in shooting a feature for the online women’s publication. It was photographing portraits of women who work as professional Disney princess impersonators, and it was right up my alley. I had actually done a project similar to this called Modern Medieval, which Amanda had also seen and is one of the reasons she thought of me for this project.

I photographed 5 princesses in total: Ariel (Brittney Lee Hamilton), Cinderella (Lisa Scrivanich), Belle (Sapphire Nova), Jasmine (Omaris Contreras), and Princess Tiana (Epiphany Elease). The concept behind the portraits was simple really: juxtaposing the fantasy of being a Disney princess against the reality of the women’s everyday lives and surroundings. The princesses are photographed against suburban and urban backdrops in New Jersey and New York City. Amanda and I felt we’d get the strongest imagery using a medium format camera shooting on film, which is how I shot the other projects Amanda loved so much. So I used a Mamiya RZ67 with mainly available light and am very happy with the resulting portraits.

You may see the whole feature on the Refinery29’s website here.