Richard Schaefer, a 21-year-old man from Orange County, California, has spent years posting pictures of himself dressed up as his favorite female Disney characters to social media.
Boasting a massive collection of 40 costumes and 30 wigs, the self-described “Disney addict” says his decision to cosplay — a combination of the words costume and role-play, where a person dresses up as a character from a comic book, video game, or movie — came after people began commenting on how similar his appearance was to that of a woman.
“I decided to start cosplaying as princesses because of how androgynous people used to say I was,” Schaefer told the Daily Mail. “Curiosity got the best of me, so I decided to transform myself into my favorite princess—Ariel, who I have loved since I was a child. I was pleasantly surprised at how convincing I looked so I decided to stick at it and try different princesses too.”
The paper’s interview with Richard features various photos of him donning wigs and makeup, morphed into his favorite Disney princesses and female figures.
Schaefer says it takes him two hours to alter his appearance. He wears corsets and chest padding to help fill out the lace fabric of his princess dresses. He even studied professional makeup techniques to help him look more “doe-eyed,” to better reflect the facial features of a Disney starlet.
“Being a princess definitely helped me to become a more confident person,” he said, explaining how he managed to get over being bullied as a kid by finding the princess image of himself that he’s truly happy with. “Not only do I feel beautiful as a person but I feel even more beautiful when I’m just myself, the ball gown is just an added bonus.”
Schaefer visited Disney parks frequently as a kid, and began posting his Disney-inspired photos to Instagram in 2013. He now has over 88,000 followers on the social media platform.
When he’s not dressed up as Snow White, Cinderella, or Sleeping Beauty, Schaefer dresses up like Disney’s famous male characters, including Peter Pan and Aladdin.
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