The first day of school can be a big deal for many kids, especially if you are the new kid on the block.
After moving to a new town, my daughter, Nellee, spent the whole summer singing “Speechless” and “A Whole New World” from the new action movie Disney's Aladdin. As school was approaching, Nellee was experiencing a mix of emotions. She was missing her friends from her previous school and knew she would be attending a new school and having to make new friends. And like any new kid, she was feeling a bit anxious thinking she wouldn’t know anyone.
I was also a bit nervous thinking what her school experience might bring for her; new friends, what if someone was rude to her on her first day? Bullying? Being without us for long hours was definitely a hard thought for me to process. I just wanted her to have a great experience in school. I knew I couldn’t control all of her school experiences, but I knew I could do something for her.
I decided to give her the biggest confidence boost to remind her of who she is. I didn’t want negative experiences in school to change her cute fearless personality. I know that a child’s first experience in school can have a life long impact. I wanted to make her first day of school an experience that she could remember forever.
I took inspiration from her love of Disney’s Aladdin. I decided to create three meaningful images for her that would teach her valuable lessons.
In considering options for the Jasmine dresses, I immediately thought of Ella Dynae. She is a costume designer based out of Connecticut who does the most incredible princess dresses for little girls! I sent her Nellee’s measurements and she created two stunning dresses for Nellee.
Now we were ready for the photo shoot!
For the first image, I wanted to recreate the scene of princess Jasmine coming down the stairs with her tiger. I wanted this image to convey a sense of bravery and courage. Finding a master staircase was one of the biggest challenges of this image but eventually I found one.
For the second image I included her cousin Azariah. He and Nellee are great friends and work well together. I wanted to highlight their sweet friendship with this image. They were both fascinated by the concept of the flying carpet so it only made sense to recreate that moment for both of them.
For the third image I wanted to debut Nellee’s little brother in my series who made the perfect Genie. He is such a strong little guy and he absolutely loved Will Smith as the Genie. He loves jamming to “A Friend Like Me” and one day he even woke up singing “Arabian Nights”!
And now it was time for the hard work, editing and adding some photoshop magic.
With this Aladdin series, I wanted each image to convey a message to Nellee that she could understand. So just like Aladdin was granted three wishes, I wanted to share my 3 wishes for Nellee as she begins this new stage in her life.
#1 "Be Brave and Fearless"
This picture is inspired from the “Speechless” song that my daughter loves so much.
#2 “Be a Good Friend”
#3 “You Can Make Anything Happen"
I surprised Nellee by showing her the final images of her photo shoot right before she entered her classroom.
As I watched my 6 year old enter confidently into her classroom, I left with a big smile on my face.
Photographer and digital artist: Josh Rossi
Costumes by Ella Dynae : Ella Dynae's website