In 2014, photographer Camillia Courts and her family went to Disneyland. While wandering around the Happiest Place on Earth, she and her 5-year-old daughter, Layla, popped into Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, a charming costume shop, for a magical makeover. Camera in hand, Courts captured little Layla’s transformation into Elsa from Frozen, and shared the image on Facebook. Inspired by her family and friends’ positive response to the adorable photo, Courts decided to take the concept a step further with her enchanting series, The Magical World of Princesses.
In the princess-inspired project, Courts photographs her daughter dressed as different Disney heroines. Donning dresses (both purchased and handmade by a local seamstress), colorful wigs, and accessories fit for royalty, Layla poses as her favorite princesses, which span classic characters like Cinderella and Snow White and more modern female leads like Rapunzel and Merida. Courts often makes an appearance in the photos as well, but, comically, as the bad guys. “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, The Evil Queen, and my favorite, Ursula.” (Ursula was also Layla’s favorite, as she loved seeing her mom covered in purple paint!)
The Magical World of Princesses may seem like a series that is merely dedicated to dress-up, but, to Courts and her daughter, it means so much more. “She’s a very shy child and I see her light up when she gets into costume,” the loving mother admits. “She’s gained a lot of confidence since we started the project and has really come out of her shell.” Additionally, the photographer has shared how precious it is to both bond with Layla and poignantly document her fleeting childhood. “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.”