Regis and Kahran Bethencourt of CreativeSoul Photography are storytellers who use portraiture to center and uplift the beauty of Black girls. We’ve marveled at their beautiful imagery throughout the years, and now, their creativity has entered a new realm. A series of their photographs have been translated into dolls as part of an exciting collaboration with Disney.
The CreativeSoul Doll Collection reimagines what a classic Disney Princess would look like through a diverse lens. “The dolls contain natural hairstyles and intricate Afrocentric fabrics and adornments,” Kahran tells My Modern Met, “while paying tribute to four Disney Princesses—Tiana, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Cinderella.” The couple worked in their signature bold colors and reimagined traditional hairstyles and fashion to create a series that’s as striking as it is original.
The Disney collaboration came about after the company saw CreativeSoul’s viral Princess Series. For it, the couple had collaborated with makeup artist and hairstylist LaChanda Gaston on portraits of girls imagined as Black princesses. Inspired by those portraits, Disney reached out to the couple to develop a collection of dolls. “CreativeSoul was involved throughout the entire process of photographing the dolls,” Kahran explains, “to helping to select fabrics, molds, skin tones, hair textures, and accessories.”
The importance of representation, particularly in toys, can’t be overstated; it’s powerful for people to feel seen in the things they hold dear. “The hope for the collaboration is to provide more representation and inclusivity,” the couple says. “We hope to positively impact the self-esteem and confidence of kids of color around the world by giving them dolls that reflect their own unique beauty. Additionally, we hope that the dolls will also educate and raise awareness about the importance of diversity and representation in media and toys.”
The CreativeSoul Doll Collection is available for purchase starting Feb 3, 2023, through the shopDisney website as well as Walt Disney World Resort, and Disneyland Resort. In addition to the dolls, there will be a series of five photo prints—including a bonus print that pays tribute to Elsa—of the models who inspired the toys.