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Disney reimagined: Wyethe Smallish

Wyethe Smallish ’23, currently studying Illustration and Communication Design, started re-drawing Disney characters with fuller and more proportional figures this August. The recordings she took of the process went viral on TikTok and resulted in a Buzzfeed feature in September of 2022.

The videos, available on Smallish’s TikTok, make slight alterations to the bodies of well-known characters like Cinderella, Belle and Adam from “Beauty and the Beast” and Jasmine from “Aladdin.” Her video reimagining Megara from “Hercules” as more curvy and proportional currently has 8.3 million views and over a million likes. “I have been using my art to learn to love my body just the way it is,” Smallish said in the Buzzfeed story. “I started with Cinderella, and once I had her drawn, I had an unexpected emotional response… It would have made a huge impact on me as a young girl to see Cinderella with a proportionate waist and fuller arms!”

Commenters have also experienced emotional responses to seeing common and relatable mid- and plus-size representation. One viewer commented on Smallish’s Cinderella video, “…honestly this is just an average size! Disney just makes us feel like medium is large.” Another expressed relief after seeing Aurora’s (“Sleeping Beauty”) transformation: “I feel like I could breathe easier watching this,” they said. “I believe art and creativity play an integral role in healing the world, because what we see in the media has an enormous impact on our own self image,” Smallish stated in an email interview with MIAD. “Expanding diversity and increasing representation through illustration is one way we can make a more inclusive world.”

Smallish appreciates the role the MIAD community has played in her development as an artist. “I have met some wonderful students and faculty that [helped] push my craft to a whole other level,” she says. “My typography 2 class this past semester was one of my favorite classes I have ever taken! I have fallen in love with typography and I am SO okay with it!” Smallish is not the first in her family to attend MIAD. In fact, both her parents as well as her grandmother attended the college. “…it’s just always been the place I have wanted to be!” she says.

Keep up with Wyethe on her website, Instagram and TikTok, read the Buzzfeed feature and learn more about MIAD’s Illustration and Communication Design majors!

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