As a child, Mandy Pursely had her right arm amputated and admits feeling the struggles of not seeing anyone “who looked like her in the media,” reports Laura Abernethy of the U.K.’s highest-circulating newspaper Metro. A friend asked her if she could share pictures with a little girl who had one arm. With Mandy’s cosplay, she showed that girls with prosthetics can be princesses too.
Earlier this summer, Mandy took pictures of herself dressed in her handmade Cinderella gown for a costume competition. However, a medical problem entailed that she could not participate in the contest and planned to save it for the following year. Mandy recounts, “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.”
|Photo Credit: Mandy Pursely/ Be the Spark Cosplay on Facebook (via Metro UK)|
She never saw herself represented in the media. Over time, she realizes that being different can make a person “strong, beautiful, and unapologetically unique.” When someone can’t find a princess they can look up to, “You make up your own,” says Mandy. Mandy spent hours making her gown and a prince’s uniform. The glass arm was designed and created by a construction company, a medical clinic, and artist Gilbert Lozano.
Mandy posed with Ryan, her husband, for their photoshoot, taken by photographer Kelly Anderson. Mandy announces, “This costume is dedicated to all the little girls learning to navigate the world with their “lucky fins” or other challenges. She encourages girls to write their own story and be their own princess. Her post went viral, amassing over 24,000 shares and 32,000 likes. Mandy was overwhelmed with the love and support she received. But her “most favorite part” is seeing all the “lucky fin” princesses and princes in the comments.
|Photo Credit: Kelly Anderson and Mandy Pursely/Be the Spark Cosplay on Facebook (via Metro UK)|
Mandy created a cosplay page Be the Spark, hoping to create more costumes of characters to showcase the “beauty of differences.” She adds, “We cosplay characters because they inspire us to be bold, to be kind, and to make a difference in the world. But the secret is that we had those powers inside us all along.”