When a friend asked Mandy Pursley, a cosplayer from California, if she had any photos to share with a little girl born with one arm, she delivered spectacularly. The photos she shared of her stunning cosplay as Cinderella with a glass arm instead of glass slippers quickly went viral and became the internet’s new favorite take on the iconic character.
“When my daughter was studying Cinderella stories at school last year, I realized that even though there were so many beautiful tales from around the world, there were still no princesses who looked like ME,” Pursley wrote on Facebook. “When I was growing up with a physical difference, I never saw girls like myself represented in the media, so it took me a long time to realize that what makes us different can also be the thing that makes us strong, beautiful, and unapologetically unique.”
Pursley went on to explain that she dedicated herself to creating her own princess–one that looked like her. “This costume is dedicated to all the little girls learning to navigate the world with their ‘lucky fins’ or other challenges,” she wrote. “I hope you know you are beautiful, and that you are UNSTOPPABLE!!! Write your own story, and be your own kind of princess.”
Pursley’s inspiring story immediately caught the attention of thousands online. Her post has been shared by nearly 25,000 people so far, many of whom commented on how touched they were by her story. “I honestly am lost for words,” one commenter said. “Your (sic) absolutely amazing.. a true inspiration for anyone and everyone. Don’t ever change.”
According to an edit on the post, the reaction to Pursley’s story has been overwhelmingly positive. “I am literally just blown away by all the love and support here,” Pursley wrote in the edited section. “All of you fabulous people have created this beautiful corner of positivity and light and are just shooting it out there and it is AMAZING.”
Pursley noted the best part of the reactions she’s gotten is the “little ‘lucky fin’ princesses and princes” who have been mentioned in the comments. “Please shower these kids with all the love too because they are adorable and awesome exactly the way they are,” she wrote. “I know they are going to write some great stories one day too!”
Pursley currently works at Be The Spark Cosplay, where she surely carries the same wholesome energy to every costume she drums up. Thanks to her, those princes and princesses who were so inspired by her Cinderella cosplay will get the chance to come up with their own special costumes and perhaps see more inspiration as she continues to change the way we see our favorite characters.
Mandy Pursley did not respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment by publication time.