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Disney animation has been an influential part of culture and society for nearly 100 years, entertaining generations of people throughout the United States and across the world. They have created some of the most iconic animated movies in cinema history and at the center of it all has been the Disney princesses.
In many ways, the princesses have become larger-than-life characters. They’re characters people look up to, relate to, and learn from and, to many people, are more than just animations in movies. In recent years, artists have reimagined the princesses as many different things, but there’s one that hadn’t been done: The Disney princesses reimagined as empowered women with successful careers.
Matt Burt, a graphic artist who works for us on special projects, came to us and asked if he could create a series of illustrations that show the princesses in strong roles. We happily agreed.
When it came to selecting the careers for the women, Matt and the team had a few goals in mind. The first was to have their career be one that made an impact. We wanted them to be succeeding in their position — either a fast-rising star or towards the top of their career ladder. Additionally, we wanted these roles to be ones that are traditionally male-dominated. Because so many people see the princesses as a source of inspiration, we wanted to show that you can succeed in a career that you want, even if it is outside of societal and gender norms. Finally, we wanted to make sure their career fit the personality and characteristics of the princesses.
Matt said the design process for this project was one of the lengthiest he’s had to work on. “In all, it took nearly three months to illustrate all of the princesses. One of the hardest parts was drawing 2D versions of princesses in 3D movies, such as Merida from Brave and Rapunzel from Tangled,” Matt commented. “In particular, drawing Merida’s hair was a challenge and made me appreciate the work of the movie’s graphic artists.”
Overall, Matt said Jasmine was his favorite princess to illustrate. “From her look to the career we chose for her, I thought everything came together perfectly on her.”
You can check out all the illustrations from Matt below as well as a description of each princess’s career:
Ariel has always excelled in music, having natural talent and a passion for singing. Considered the best of her talented sisters, Ariel took her skills and made it her career. She went multi-platinum with her single, “Part of Your World,” and now both writes her own music and is a producer at her own label, Seven Seas Records.
Aurora knows how hard it is to wake up. After being awoken from her enchanted sleep, Aurora made it her career to help others stay awake — and what better way to do that than coffee! Aurora is the founder and CEO of Spinning Wheel Coffee, one of the leading coffee chains in the nation.
There was always much more in store for Belle than a provincial life. Inspired by her love of books and knowledge, Belle went into academia. After receiving her doctorate in education, Belle has risen to the level of chancellor at a major university. She is committed to affordable and equal education for all.
While she has her Fairy Godmother to thank, Cinderella would not be where she is without the help of her animal companions. She believes where there is kindness there is goodness, and it’s her heart’s wish to see animals treated with respect. She used her position of influence to found a non-profit organization committed to promoting animal rights.
Elsa, Anna, and the citizens of Arendelle know a few things about the effects of climate change. While their companion Olaf may love summer, the sun, and all things hot, Anna and Elsa recognize what a rising global temperature might mean. They have dedicated their careers to studying climate change and presenting accurate, well-sourced information.
Jasmine has always fought for what’s right and for change where it is needed — she’s not a prize to be won. A natural politician, she now advocates for her country of Agrabah at the United Nations. One of her primary initiatives is protecting women’s rights by ensuring that women are treated fairly across the globe.
Merida competed for her own hand in marriage, so why not for a gold medal in the Olympics? Skilled in both archery and horseback riding, Merida competes for her country in multiple events. She’s already won multiple golds, but aims to add a few more in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
After experiencing discrimination both personally and in the military, Mulan turned her sights on a law degree, graduating with the highest honors. She now fights for equality on university campuses, ensuring that men and women are given the same treatment and opportunities. With all the strength of a raging fire, she advocates for those who have faced adversity due to their gender.
Pocahontas knows that we’re all connected to each other and is committed to protecting nature and what is just around the riverbend. She heads a non-profit organization committed to preserving and protecting the environment. Through a combination of activism, action, and promoting awareness, she fights for protection and sustainable use of our natural resources.
Since her birth, Rapunzel has always had the power to heal. After saving her future husband, Eugene Fitzherbert, and reuniting with her royal family, Rapunzel went to medical school and earned her doctorate. She specialized in neurology and has become a leading expert in the country. It’s now her dream to help as many patients as she can and provide exceptional medical care.
Snow White has always been known for being caring, thoughtful, and someone willing to lend a hand to those in need. Using these strengths paired with hard work, she earned her doctorate in psychology and is one of the leaders in the field of mental health. She presents her research at conferences throughout the year but always takes time to provide the best care to her clients… whether they’re feeling happy, bashful, grumpy, or anything else. It’s her mission to not only help her clients but also support other mental health professionals so they can offer their clients top-notch care.
Growing up and being inspired by her father’s love of cooking, Tiana has always known what she has wanted to do. She now stands at the top of the culinary world, winning the James Beard Award and owning one of the most popular restaurants in the country. Every day she digs a little deeper, trying out new dishes and experimenting with new recipes and flavors.
While there have been many reimaginings of the princesses, we haven’t seen them as strong women with successful careers — until now. Matt’s stunning illustrations shows these influential women at the top of their game and thriving in their chosen field. We hope these act as a source of inspiration for others and as a reminder to find a job that you are happy doing.
You don’t have to settle for something lackluster, because as Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”