What if Disney princesses were young Arab superstars? This was a question that Mariam Al-Qersh, a graphic designer, kept thinking over, and it refused to stop haunting her thoughts until she applied the answer at one of her projects, “The Arab Disney Princesses.”
Al-Qersh, a 25 year old graphic designer, has always been obsessed with Disney princesses. For years, she has been dreaming about the Middle Eastern version of Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. However, for a long time, she couldn’t find a suitable replacement to adopt these Disney fairytales in reality, similar to how Emma Watson performed in Beauty and the Beast.
Nonetheless, this changed few months ago, when new young faces of beautiful talented actresses started grabbing people’s attention at Ramadan drama series.
In a set of digital portraits, Al-Qersh captured young famous superstars as Disney’s most famous princesses.
“Just like millions of other girls who grew up as a loyal Disney fan, the princesses have always been my favourite characters,” Al-Qersh said, adding: “But I think I’m more than just a fan. I’m obsessed with Disney princesses."
In her project, Mariam portrayed each of the young stars as the princess that matches her appearance and her personality the most.
“It all started when I saw young actress Hana El-Zahed in one of the TV shows that was recently screened. The moment I laid my eyes on her, I knew she was the Rapunzel I was looking for,” Al-Qersh smilingly said.
Before she started applying her project, Al-Qersh kept on looking for years for suitable actresses; yet most of the young stars “were either too old, or did not match the characters of the princesses.”
Despite this, some of them were really beautiful—but seeing their picture in a princess gown wouldn’t have convinced people that her chosen actress could actually play the role, Mariam explained.
For the character of Belle in the Beauty and the Beast, Al-Qersh settled for young actress Amina Khalil. From her point of view, despite the facial differences between the two of them, she believes that people can see Khalil as an innocent pure-hearted girl that can love the heart of an ugly beast.
As for Maleficent, Al-Qersh couldn’t find better than Sheren Reda, who always appears as a strong daring woman indifferent to others' perception of her. “Reda is just like Maleficent," Al Qersh said. "She can play the role of the source of evil and hatred, but you still can’t despise or hate her; she captures one heart with her beauty.”
Yasmine El-Ra’es portrayed the role of Mulan, the fearless clever young lady that impersonates a man to take her father spot in the Chinese military. Gamila Awad perfectly fit in the role of Ariel, from The Little Mermaid.
“I believe that the princesses are what made Disney, not vice versa; they are the characters that gave Disney the reputation it currently has, and despite several cooperation with Pixar, an animation film company, Disney still virtues its princess and produces films about them,” she said.
Young attractive actress Yasmine Sabry had all the similarities that make her the perfect candidate of princess Jasmine. With the long dark thick hair, the bronzed skin, “they both share the mesmerizing arab beauty that captures eyes and hearts.”
The project was warmly received by thousands of women who supported the the choice of stars.
“I didn’t expect such...feedback. This is not the first time I do similar projects, but I never shared them with anyone before," said Al-Qersh. "But seeing such a mass acceptance motivated me a lot to keep going and finish the rest of the projects I’m working on."
Arab princesses is not Mariam’s last project; she is currently working on another which consists of a set of digital paintings in which she imagines Disney’s superheroes meeting comic books stars.
Edited by Al Bawaba
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