These Parents Dressed Up Their Daughter As Powerful Women. The Outcome Was Worth It.

'I can kind of see how she’s looking at herself and the world ...'

Cover photo courtesy of: Marc Bushelle Photography. Toni Morrison by (c)Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. 


At just 5 years old, one young girl named Lily has already experienced what it's like to embody the likes of Nina Simone, Mother Teresa and Shirley Chisholm. 

Thanks to her parents Janine Harper and Marc Bushelle, Lily has expanded her imagination to the possibilities of her future. As Lily's photographer-dad puts it, "Her confidence seems to be shooting through the roof," he told A Plus.

Harper and Bushelle were inspired by the photography work of Jaime Moore. Moore captured her 5-year-old daughter in photographs dressed as "real women," who she believes, serve as good role models for her daughter.

Excited to embark on their own project, Lily's parents captured Lily embodying various influential women. 

"We wanted to do something similar for Lily," Bushelle told A Plus. "Something that she would be able to learn from ... when she's a lot older, I wanted her to be able to go back and learn even more from these heroines."

The project kicked off in February where Bushelle captured Lily in empowering photographs dressed as powerful and inspiring Black women in light of Black History Month.

'Lily as Queen Latifah' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Queen Latifah image via Frank Ockenfels.
'Lily as Queen Latifah' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Queen Latifah image via Frank Ockenfels.

After receiving a great deal of positive feedback on the project from friends and family on Bushelle's Facebook page, the couple decided to continue the photography series in honor of Women's History Month in March. 

Titled "The Heroines Project," Bushelle continued to capture Lily as inspiring women, including and celebrating women of all backgrounds.

'Lily as Mother Teresa' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Mother Teresa image via Princeton Historical Society.
'Lily as Mother Teresa' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Mother Teresa image via Princeton Historical Society.
'Lily as Malala Yousafzai' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Malala image via Geoff Brokate. 
'Lily as Malala Yousafzai' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Malala image via Geoff Brokate. 

As Bushelle captures these uplifting shots of his daughter and Harper writes the copy that's associated with the images, the couple has found one important discovery throughout this process:

It's working on Lily.

'Lily as Josephine Baker' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Josephine Baker image via Popperfoto / Getty Images
'Lily as Josephine Baker' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Josephine Baker image via Popperfoto / Getty Images

Bushelle noted that his daughter enjoys the photography series that's accompanied with history and information on the heroines that he and his wife share with Lily. 

"She is over the moon," Bushelle explained to A Plus. "She really enjoys doing it. She enjoys learning about these different women. I think a lot more about the history is sinking in than we realized. ... I can kind of see how she's looking at herself and the world."

Embodying powerful women like Simone, Chisholm, Mother Teresa, Malala Yousafzai, Misty Copeland, Queen Latifah, Admiral Michelle Howard, Toni Morrison, Grace Jones, Josephine Baker, Dr. Mae Jemison and Bessie Coleman, Lily now has a large list of occupations that she not only has an interest in — but believes is attainable.

'Lily as Grace Jones' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Grace Jones Image via Gavin Bond
'Lily as Grace Jones' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Grace Jones Image via Gavin Bond
'Lily as Bessie Coleman' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Bessie Coleman image via National Air and Space Museum / Public Domain
'Lily as Bessie Coleman' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Bessie Coleman image via National Air and Space Museum / Public Domain
'Lily as Toni Morrison' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Toni Morrison image via Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. 
'Lily as Toni Morrison' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Toni Morrison image via Timothy Greenfield-Sanders. 
'Lily as Admiral Michelle Howard' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Admiral Michelle Howard image via US Navy/Public Domain. 
'Lily as Admiral Michelle Howard' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle. Admiral Michelle Howard image via US Navy/Public Domain. 
'Lily as Shirley Chisholm' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle.
'Lily as Shirley Chisholm' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle.
'Lily as Nina Simone' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle.
'Lily as Nina Simone' Courtesy of Marc Bushelle.