Just when you think you've seen all the reimaginings of Disney characters anyone could possibly come up with, another one pops up—and this time, we're getting a look at what Disney Princesses might look like if they were old. Created by 22-year-old artist Isaque Arêas, this latest series shows how Belle, Jasmine, and more classic Disney heroines might have aged over the years — but with a twist: He calculated their ages based off of when their movies were released, giving us a peek at a whole range of different characters in different stages of their lives.
Arêas isn't the only artist to have imagined what our favorite Disney characters might look like in their later years; what's unique about this particular project, though, is the fact that Arêas based each character's age off of how old they might theoretically be today. If Mulan, for example, was around 16 years old when her movie was released in 1998, she'd be about 33 now; meanwhile, if Snow White was roughly 14 when she first hit the scene in 1937, she'd be in her early 90s now.
Arêas tells Bustle via email that he's been drawing since he was a child. When his parents realized that art was his favorite class at school, they enrolled him in design courses to develop his talents. He cites the works of Disney and Marvel as particular favorites; “I always tried to copy Terry Dodson's and Phil Noto's art from the [Marvel] comic books when I was a teen,” he says, with the goal being to learn by doing — by emulating his favorite artists.
This particular idea, Arêas says — the idea of picturing how the years might have affected Disney's princess characters — first came to him in 2013. After spending two years honing his skills as an artist, however, he decided to revisit the idea earlier this year. “I was wondering how Disney Princesses would look like if they were actresses in their own movie,” he says. “Seems a little bit crazy, but, paraphrasing Frozen, 'I love crazy.'”
But Arêas also had a goal beyond simply creating a whimsical reimagining of classic characters. He tells Bustle, “The first objective was to show people that even if you are getting old, you can be a princess outside and inside” — whatever being a “princess” means to you. While “princess culture,” as it's sometimes called, can be problematic, it's worth noting that what “princess” represents isn't limited to conventionally beautiful damsels in distress being rescued by strong, conventionally handsome men: Princesses can be strong, smart, resourceful, and more. You know how being a feminist doesn't necessarily mean eschewing everything feminine? The same might be said for being a princess.
Furthermore, the project is striking a chord with many. Says Arêas, “I realized the project was a great idea when I saw women commenting, 'Belle is my age now and she looks like me,” or 'Snow looks like my granny.'” And that? Is actually pretty fantastic.
Images: Courtesy of Isaque Arêas, Life, Art and Times/Facebook