Illustrator reimagines Disney princesses as modern career women
Presented by: Tricia Ennis
Disney movies, especially Disney princess movies, have become cultural touchstones for generations of women. Whether your first brush with Disney royalty was in the early days of animation, during the Disney renaissance of the 1990s, or the modern era of Frozen and Moana, you probably have a favorite.
Girls grow up identifying with one or more of their favorite princesses, but while the House of Mouse may have given us teenage adventures and happily-ever-afters, none of them really consider what happens when your favorite princess grows up.
Enter artist Matt Burt, who decided to explore exactly that in a project for his employer Simple.Thrifty.Living. In the collection, Burt takes a look at each of Disney’s pantheon of princesses, from Snow White to Moana, and considers what each of them would pursue if they had the chance to tackle modern-day careers. Burt takes all aspects of each character along in this exploration, giving each princess her own, personalized career path and offering fans, young and old alike, an additional level of inspiration. Now you don’t just wonder when your prince will come, but whether you’d rather be a scientist or a businesswoman, or an activist.
“I’ve seen numerous reimaginings of the princesses but not one like this — showing them as successful career women,” Burt said in an interview with Scary Mommy. “To many people, the Disney princesses have become so much more than just characters in movies. I wanted to create these to inspire others in hopes that they can find a career that they love and a career that makes a difference.”
So how did each of the princesses fare? Let’s break it down, shall we?
1. Snow White (Psychologist)
Disney’s first princess was always a kind and caring person and she had a face and demeanor that people wanted to trust and easily cared for. But what does a princess and homemaker do when she wants to enter the workforce? She becomes a clinical psychologist. After all, she has plenty of experience with the range of emotions, thanks to her friends, the Seven Dwarves. “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,” explains Burt. “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.”
2. Cinderella (Animal Rights Activist)
“While she has her Fairy Godmother to thank, Cinderella would not be where she is without the help of her animal companions, says Burt. “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.”
3. Aurora (Coffee Company CEO)
Aurora has a very particular understanding of the struggle to get up in the morning, so Burt imagined her as the CEO of a coffee company. “Aurora made it her career to help others stay awake,” explains Burt, “and what better way to do that than coffee!“
4. Ariel (Music Producer)
When Ariel and Eric defeated Ursula, Ariel got to keep both her legs AND her beautiful voice. She’s turned those gifts into a successful career in the music industry, both as a recording artist and as a music producer.
5. Belle (University Chancellor)
Belle became famous in her poor provincial town for being that weird girl who constantly had her nose buried in books. Books were the great love of her life, of course, even the Beast figured that out early on, so after Beast turned back into Adam, Belle buried herself in her studies, earning her PhD in education and becoming a university chancellor. Says Burt, “She is committed to affordable and equal education for all.”
6. Jasmine (UN Ambassador)
Jasmine is one of the more interesting princesses, having fought for her right to marry who she pleases, and choosing someone of a much lower station than herself. Burt, therefore, decided that Jasmine’s calling was in the United Nations, as an ambassador. According to Burt, her main initiative is in supporting women’s rights worldwide.
7. Pocahontas (Environmental Activist)
Pocahontas wanted all of us to consider the ways in which we are all connected, both to each other and to the natural world around us, so of course, she became an activist. “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.”
8. Mulan (Lawyer)
What do you do after you save all of China? You become a human rights attorney who specializes in ensuring that women have the same opportunities as men in academia.
9. Tiana (Chef)
What could be more fitting for Tiana than continuing on her dream to become a successful chef? In Burt’s version, she’s not only successful, she’s award-winning.
10. Rapunzel (Neurologist)
Rapunzel grew up with magic hair that not only glowed when she sang, but also had magical healing properties. Now that she’s out of her tower, she’s decided to go to medical school to become a neurologist. Says Burt, “It’s now her dream to help as many patients as she can and provide exceptional medical care.”
11. Merida (Olympian)
Merida has, naturally, stuck to her roots when it comes to her professional career and become a two time Olympian, medaling in both archery and horseback riding. According to Burt, “She’s already won multiple golds, but aims to add a few more in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.”
12. Elsa/Anna (Climate Scientists)
“Elsa, Anna, and the citizens of Arendelle know a few things about the effects of climate change.” Says Burt. “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.”
13. Moana (Naval Officer)
Moana has the sea in her bones. She is descended from voyagers and so in our modern world, she grows up to continue her exploration of our oceans as an officer in the Navy. “She has been awarded multiple honors during her service, such as two Navy Achievement medals and a National Defense Service Medal,” explains Burt. “With such a successful start, there’s no telling how far she’ll go in her career.”