Plus-size influencers dress as Disney princesses in call for inclusivity: 'It would have done wonders with my self-esteem'

·3 min read
Heather Traska and Natasha Polis dress up as Disney princesses for the #PlusSizePrincessProject. (Photo: Instagram)
Heather Traska and Natasha Polis dress up as Disney princesses for the #PlusSizePrincessProject. (Photo: Instagram)

Plus-size creators across Instagram are re-imagining their childhood role models as curvy women by dressing up as Disney princesses just in time for Halloween.

Natasha Polis, a content and fashion creator with 77.3 thousand followers on Instagram alone, spearheaded what she calls the #PlusSizePrincessProject, launching it on social media on Wednesday with a photo of her and fellow influencer Heather Traska dressed as Belle and Sleeping Beauty, respectively. There, Polis shared her mission of giving younger girls the type of body representation she wishes she had seen when she was a child.

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“We take up more space than most yet our larger bodies are clearly lacking representation in media. If only I had this group of ladies to look to when growing up. It would have done wonders with my self-esteem,” Polis wrote of her friends within the plus-size community. “So here’s our response this Halloween: 21 influencers dressing up in our own style as beloved female Disney characters.”

Polis went on to call the project a “labor of love” that she’s been working on since August, connecting with the women she wanted to take part and figuring out all of their characters. One of the most difficult challenges, however, was finding costumes that fit.

“Not ONLY is it hard to find larger bodies as the hero character in TV and film but it’s also hard to find costumes in our size. Most of us had to make or DIY our get-ups for it work,” she wrote. “So .... costume industry. Make plus sizes more easily accessible cause we want to have fun and dress up too! It’s not just a straight-size thing.”

The call for more representation was echoed by each of the women involved, including Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Hunter McGrady, who dressed up as Frozen’s Elsa alongside her sister Michaela, who recreated Anna’s look.

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”It’s incredible how much is engrained in us at such a young age. The princesses I grew up seeing were all thin and white and for the most part saved by a man,” McGrady wrote. “I hope we continue to see growth in this area so that one day when I have children no matter their size, they see representation.”

Polis didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment. Her social media followers and fans of the project, however, praised the idea in her comments and shared more of their hopes for an inclusive future.

“I just want to see a plus-size character where that’s not the central focus of their character; the storyline isn’t [that] they’re trying to lose weight, and they’re in a loving instead of abusive relationship,” one person wrote. “As an actor I’ve never gotten to play something like that, but I’m hopeful that one day I will!”

Another shared that the exclusive sizing of princess costumes has barred her from certain jobs. “I’ve been told by so many princess party companies that I’m too big for their costumes. Why shouldn’t kids see people of all sizes as their favorite characters???”

When it comes to inspiring young girls as Polis hoped, one mom confirmed that the influencer has done just that. “Just went through this [with] my daughter and she proudly rambled off all the princess names then asked if we could dress up like y’all,” the commenter wrote. “Beautiful. Thank you for sharing!”

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