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These photos of “real life” Disney heroes show us where their stories went next.

The images in the video above were republished from Tony Ross (Instagram @tonyross001) with full permission. Please enjoy.

If there’s ever an eyebrow to raise when it comes to the ‘Disney Princess’, it has to do with imperfection.

Or rather, a lack thereof.

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The Disney Princess has long been synonymous with stick-thin-red-lipped-narrow-hipped ‘beauty’; a ‘look’ so unattainable, yet so highly sought after by the young girls who watch these Disney films.

It’s only recently we’ve recognised an issue with the picture-perfect Disney princess… that it’s not right having our young girls solely look up to passive, pretty, ageless women with smooth faces and velvety voices.

That it’s simply not real.

As far as Disney women go, Moana was a big step.

Moana re-defined the Disney Princess: she was strong – both in form, and in will; she was smart – an admirable combination of brainy and streetwise; she had integrity and grit and displayed a range of emotions that transcended Disney’s regular spectrum of happiness and sadness.

"Moana re-defined the Disney Princess: she was strong - both in form, and in will." Image credit Walt Disney Animation Studios.
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But photographer Tony Ross has taken exploration of the Disney Princess one step further.

The Creative Director and professional photographer asked young women to pose as real life, relatable versions of Disney's most loved princesses. Think Mulan; Ariel; Snow White.

With the help of costume designer Nephi Garcia, he dressed them up. Made them up. Styled them. And photographed them.

Then he did the same with their mothers.

He imposed the images side-by-side. And in doing so created a stunningly natural depiction of each Disney Princess: young and old.

Image credit: Tony Ross (Instagram @tonyross001).

The result is nothing short of stunning.

To a genre of shallow beauty, Ross brings... elegance.

He captures these women with emotion and pride and complexity: in a single frame, he makes clear that these women are more than a pretty face; a broken heart waiting to be rescued by a certain Prince Charming.

You can watch our compilation of the photographs, here:

Video via Tony Ross

Check out more of Tony's photographs on his Instagram page, here

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