Rhode Island resident Arianna Taft is five-years-old and has given a whole new definition to the term “Warrior Princess.”
In the midst of her intense ongoing battle with highly aggressive cancer, Arianna decided to have a photoshoot with photographer Ashley Richer where she dressed up as iconic Disney princesses. Smiling all the way, Arianna posed dressed as Snow White, Merida, Belle, and Elsa. For her father, Ryan, it was an unforgettable experience.
“To see her dressed as her favorite magical princess and all the other ones is just incredible,” he tells PEOPLE (the TV Show!). “I look at the photos and I know it’s Ari, I know it’s my daughter, but it literally looks like she could be starring in her own movie, which is just super special and amazing.”
Arianna was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year when doctors discovered a massive and advanced tumor on her kidney. It has since spread elsewhere.
“She had a 13-centimeter tumor on her kidney,” Ryan shares of his daughter’s journey. “They removed the tumor and the kidney, and the surgery was a success, but she still had cancer on her other kidney, her lungs, her liver, her lymph nodes.”
Richer, the photographer, was first inspired to do the photoshoot when her son’s friend, Lia, lost her battle with cancer. “She lost her battle right before she turned two. And after that, I just knew I had to do something like, what can I do to help these kids when they’re sick?” she recalls. “I decided to do what I know best, which is creating magic from a camera.”
“It wasn’t until I started doing these sessions that realized that this was exactly what I was meant to do,” Richer adds. “Just make other people’s lives better by something so simple as taking a photo and then just being creative with it.”
Learning of Arianna’s story from a client, Richer went to work, reaching out to Ryan and buying costumes of her favorite princesses. She had Arianna pose in front of a green screen, adding beautiful backgrounds later.
Though she lost her hair due to chemotherapy and radiation, her bright smile still shines most of all. “Instantly like she was a model, like having so much fun, smiling the entire time,” says Ryan’s girlfriend, Taylor Seaboyer, of the shoot.
Seaboyer continued, “She just looks like Elsa, when she gets her magic powers and she’s just conjuring up a storm. That is everything that Arianna’s embodied since that movie came out.”
“I know we’ve been smiling nonstop since she got to go down there,” the proud father explained. “It really is one of the big bright spots throughout her treatment process.”
Arianna still has a long way to go before she completes her treatment, but this little princess continues to smile and shine through it all.
“You hear cancer and you think all the bad things that are associated with it, but… she hasn’t allowed a single day to be difficult,” he explains. “You can’t look at her and see what she’s going through and not feed off of that strength. To see her do something that’s really like a once-in-a-lifetime experience just puts into perspective to enjoy all the little things, but also the big things, and to really focus on the positive. She’s just representative of bald is beautiful and bald can be a Disney princess, and she’s loving on every minute of it.”