The little girl awestruck by Michelle Obama's portrait dressed up as her for Halloween
Earlier this year, Barack and Michelle Obama's official portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit displays paintings of every United States president and first lady, and the Obamas broke up a long, long, long line of white people. To mark the historic occasion, they commissioned black artists to paint the portraits (another first) who were both known for their unconventional modern styles.
Michelle's portrait was particularly striking. Baltimore artist Amy Sherald painted the first lady in a regal, sleeveless Milly gown, with a grand, sweeping skirt. In her speech at the unveiling, Michelle said, "I'm also thinking about all of the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who, in years ahead, will come to this place and they will look up and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American institution."
One month later, a photo of a little girl entranced by Michelle Obama's portrait went viral. The awestruck girl was 2-year-old Parker Curry, who was visiting the museum with her family. Parker gazed up at the former first lady with her mouth hanging open, and the photo, taken by Ben Hines, gave everyone chills. "I was trying to get her to turn around so I could take a picture, but she wouldn't cooperate," Parker's mother, Jessica, told BuzzFeed News. "She just wanted to stare at it. She was fascinated."
After the photo went viral, Michelle Obama reached out to Parker and her family to invited them to her office in Washington. Finally, the mesmerized toddler and the first black first lady met face-to-face. Michelle shared videos of the two having a dance party on Twitter and Instagram. "Parker, I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you today (and for the dance party)!" wrote Michelle. "Keep on dreaming big for yourself...and maybe one day I'll proudly look up at a portrait of you!"
Well, you'll never guess who Parker decided to dress up as for Halloween. (Okay, you probably can.) Speaking with CNN, Jessica said "her first immediate response" was to dress up as Michelle Obama - in the portrait dress, of course. Parker's dress was created by by Alisha Welsh, who runs the Magnolia Lake Children's Clothing in New York. Back when Parker's photo went viral, she reached out to the family, offering to make the girl her own Obama dress as a gift. When Halloween came around, the Currys took her up on that offer.
Jessica said that the dress arrived in Halloween morning, and that when Parker saw it, "her jaw dropped." "She was just like, 'Wow.' She was really excited. She was giggly," said the mother. When she asked the toddler if liked the gown, Parker replied, "It's perfect." In fact, Parker even asked to wear the dress again to school.
Speaking with BuzzFeed, Jessica added, "She twirled in [the dress]. She danced in it,"”Jessica said of the dress. “Running up to the houses she would pick up the front of the gown so she wouldn’t get it dirty. It was so cute.” “Parker talks about Michelle Obama every day. She lets people know every day that she is the one who met Michelle Obama and she is friends with Michelle Obama."
On Twitter, Michelle Obama responded to the adorable Halloween photo, writing, "You nailed the look, Parker! I love it!!!!" It all comes full circle!