The photo where she is running away from the ball is my favorite photo ! I told my photographer that Cinderella HAD to leave her glass arm behind at the ball. It’s not only part of the story, but it’s hilarious! I’m sure the prince thought she might need her arm back.
The whole concept started to come about when my daughter was studying Cinderella stories from around the world at school, and I realized that there were still no princesses who looked like me, who had some sort of physical difference. When I started to think of what that kind of princess would look like, I had the idea for Cinderella to trade out her glass slipper for a glass arm, and I knew I wanted to turn that idea into reality! I made Cinderella’s dress and Prince Charming’s uniform, and Gilbert Lozano set to work making the beautiful glass arm for me. When I first saw the glass arm in person, it felt like a real fairy tale come true!
When this photo shoot went viral last year, I was absolutely blown away by the amount of love and support from people all over the world. I think that this photo shoot really challenges people’s perceptions about disability in a positive way. Too often, disabilities are portrayed as a great tragedy, or the sole focus of a character’s life. But Cinderella shows that her life is so much wider and more interesting than just her glass arm, and her physical difference is really just one facet of her story! I had so many parents of other kids with differences reach out and thank me for sharing this unique spin on Cinderella. This was the first time many of them had seen a character who could really identify with them, and it just shows how powerful representation can be. A limb difference doesn’t have to be negative; it can be a space where you can create beauty and art!
For me, cosplay grew out of a love for theater and Renaissance faires. I’ve always loved costumes, so creating my favorite characters was a fun new challenge. My very first cosplay was Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and I made my daughter a matching costume!
Cinderella has completely changed my perspective on the power of cosplay! It’s inspiring to become your favorite character, but I think it’s even more empowering to bring part of yourself into your creations. Cosplay is for everyone, and we don’t always have to strive to be a perfect match to the characters we dress up as. Often the character we recreate is even more meaningful when we can combine our love for ourselves with the love for the character.
Right now I am working on a steampunk version of Belle, complete with mechanical arm of course! If anyone would like to follow my progress and upcoming projects, they can check out my Facebook page Be the Spark Cosplay at facebook.com/bethesparkcosplay or on Instagram @bethesparkcosplay.