Ah, the wonderful world of Disney princesses. They've been a part of pretty much every childhood since Snow White first hit the silver screen in 1937. Since then, the Disney Princess roster has grown to include a total of eleven princesses. They might be targeted primarily toward little girls, but these female protagonists have made their way into the hearts of a huge range of people all over the world.
Each princess has her own unique story, characteristics, and, perhaps most noticeably, style. Those special styles have inspired and influenced people to take their love of these princesses to the next level by imitating them. This art of imitation is called cosplay, short for "costume play," and many do it well. There's one talented makeup artist out there, though, who has all the Disney princesses down pat.
Seriously, it's like Snow White come to life! But many folks are surprised when the makeup, wig, and costume come off, and they see the person beneath the "look."
This expert princess cosplayer is actually 21-year-old Richard Schaefer, a freelance makeup artist.
Since he's a man, few people expect him to also be a bona-fide princess, but he's been obsessed with Disney since he was a child. As for his love of makeup and costuming, he poured his energy and efforts into learning the craft when he experienced intense bullying as a teenager.
And it should come as no surprise - after seeing that photo of a young Schaefer clothing his Ariel doll - that the redheaded princess is his go-to imitation.
Schaefer says that people are always shocked to discover his true identity, but he loves their reactions.
"I think it's a real compliment when people think that I'm a female cosplayer because it means that my transformations must be convincing," he explained.
It does take a lot of work, though, to look this authentic. Each makeover takes about two hours from start to finish.
While he buys his wigs, he obviously does his own makeup and even makes his own costumes ... at least when he can. He explained that he tries to make everything himself, "but when [he's] too busy to make costumes, [he cheats and buys] them online instead."
He doesn't stick exclusively to princesses, either. Occasionally, he'll turn his talents to other Disney characters, such as Peter Pan and Aladdin.
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