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Woman born missing her right arm wears glass prosthetic in magical Cinderella photoshoot – “I felt like a real princess”

Woman born missing her right arm wears glass prosthetic in magical Cinderella photoshoot – “I felt like a real princess”

Woman born missing her right arm wears glass prosthetic in magical Cinderella photoshoot - "I felt like a real princess"
Woman born missing her right arm wears glass prosthetic in magical Cinderella photoshoot. Photography Credit: Kelly Anderson

By James Stratton

We’ve all heard the phrase “Cinderella Story.” It’s a classic rags-to-riches tale that inspires children everywhere.

When Mandy Pursley’s daughter started reading it, it inspired Mandy to do a magical photo shoot.

“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,” Mandy recalled.

Mandy, a cosplayer from Southern California, was born without her right forearm.

Mandy and Ryan Pursley recreating the magic of Cinderella.
Mandy and Ryan Pursley recreating the magic of Cinderella. Photography Credit: Kelly Anderson

When she read Fairytales as a child, she never saw herself represented. “When I was growing up with a physical difference, I never saw girls like myself represented in the media.” Mandy wrote in a Facebook post.

“So it took me a long time to realize that what makes us different can also be the thing that makes us strong, beautiful, and unapologetically unique.”

Mandy and Ryan Pursley recreating the magic of Cinderella. Photography Credit: Kelly Anderson
Mandy and Ryan Pursley recreating the magic of Cinderella. Photography Credit: Kelly Anderson

Mandy wanted to be that inspiration for her little 8-year-old. As a graphic designer she designed her magical dress as well as a Prince Charming uniform to be worn by her husband, Ryan Pursley. The Disney princess themed outfit was completed with a special glass prosthetic thanks to her very own “fairy godfather” Gilbert Lozano, she said in the post.

Mandy and Ryan Pursley recreating the magic of Cinderella. Photography Credit: Kelly Anderson
Mandy and Ryan Pursley recreating the magic of Cinderella. Photography Credit: Kelly Anderson

I spent countless hours sewing Cinderella’s ballgown and her Prince’s uniform,” she wrote on Facebook. “This whole project was done with a lot of love.”

Mandy and her very own Prince Charming, a Marine Staff Sergeant at MCAS Miramar, then posed for the inspirational photoshoot by photographer Kelly Anderson.

“I think it sends a really great message to little girls, especially,” Anderson added. “You can be creative. You can be beautiful. You can be the main character in your own story.”

Mandy shows us we can be the change we want to see. We can put that positive and inspirational message out into the world. We can be the shining example to motivate others and galvanize new ideas.

“I felt like a real princess and it really felt like a dream was coming true,” Pursley told KNSD of the shoot. “Honestly, I cried because it was so beautiful and amazing to see this be a reality.”

Woman born missing her right arm wears glass prosthetic in magical Cinderella photoshoot - "I felt like a real princess"
Woman born missing her right arm wears glass prosthetic in magical Cinderella photoshoot. Photography Credit: Kelly Anderson

Mandy said it perfectly in a Facebook post, “What do you do when you can’t find a princess you like? Make up your own!”

She ended the now viral post with a powerful message to little girls – “This costume is dedicated to all the little girls learning to navigate the world with their ‘lucky fins’ or other challenges,” she wrote.

“I hope you know you are beautiful, and that you are UNSTOPPABLE! Write your own story, and be your own kind of princess.”


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