Mandy Pursley’s cosplay photos have gone viral thanks to her unique approach to Cinderella.
The cosplay professional grew up without seeing amputees like herself represented in fairy tales.
“I remember being enthralled watching Jim Abbott play baseball, because he was the only amputee I had ever seen on television,” she told Insider in an email. “But I still never saw amputee women being portrayed as normal, beautiful, or strong, so it took me a long time to realise that being different and unique can actually be a positive trait.”
After her daughter started studying Cinderella stories in school last year, Mandy grabbed the chance to become the role model her younger self deserved and created her own fairytale ending.
In place of the famous glass slipper, this fairytale princess could have a glass arm.
“Representation is so powerful,” Mandy said. “It is so much easier to believe in yourself when you are able to see people who look like you achieving the same dreams that you have. People who have differences really just want to feel included and accepted without feeling the need to hide what makes them unique.”
A talented seamstress, Pursley actually handmade Cinderella’s ball gown herself. Along with artist Gilbert Lozano she also helped design and create the glass arm, and photographer Kelly Anderson captured the magical ensemble. Her husband Ryan of course played her “real-life Prince Charming.”
“My favourite part has been hearing from the parents of children with ‘lucky fins’ like mine, who shared how excited their kids were to finally see a princess who looked like them,” Mandy said. “I hope that people with all sorts of differences are encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response to this character who shows that beauty is so much deeper than physical perfection.”