by Mozzified Contributor Maryam Masud
By creating this series, I wanted to show one way we can celebrate diversity and our identity. As Muslim Americans, we have every right to reclaim Disney movies that have greatly impacted our pop culture throughout the years. In general, media sorely lacks minority presence and I’m hoping that this project will start a ripple effect to change that.
See, it’s not like wearing a headscarf automatically makes them Muslim. The point is that if the princesses were Muslim, then this is how they would dress.
I was inspired by the “Real Life Disney Series”, which is also a personal project non-affiliated with Disney. I borrowed the name of the series, “Colors of Islam,” from the title of a song by Dawud Wharnsby.
1) Ariel from “The Little Mermaid”
I’m actually writing a short story based on The Little Mermaid. As I was coming up with this piece, I began to design a lot of mermaid-inspired clothing and eventually ended up drawing the mozzified version of Ariel. The main thing that I wanted to preserve was her youthfulness and charm. There were a ton of variations of her dress, but this one suited her bright red scarf the best and remained true to her original color scheme. I wanted the fabric to look like a little bit like scales or sparkling water and the graphic print is a nod to her seashells.
2) Fa Mulan from “Mulan”
Mulan was the second princess in the series. Although her bride and her soldier disguises have far more screen-time, I chose her first outfit since it shows her true identity before she really finds herself. She’s simpler than the others because there’s a sense of humility and honor in her personality. The flower pin on her scarf is based off the comb that both her parents put in her hair. It’s not too flashy and adds just a little feminine touch.
3) Jasmine from “Aladdin”
Jasmine actually wears a headscarf and a robe at one point in the Disney movie, but I wanted to use her more iconic look. Her new outfit is inspired by a Bangladeshi salwar kameez. Her hair turned into a black slip on and the jewel on her original headpiece became a brooch to hold the shiny golden scarf in place. I ended up including a few more accents than she previously had because I doubt that royalty would wear such plain clothes.
4) Esmeralda from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”
Esmeralda was a little bit of a challenge because I really had to respect the fact that she’s a dancer and a street performer. She has really fantastic hair, so I needed something that would give justice to her existing flair. I settled for a turban-style hijab that incorporated her pink ribbon. To tackle the issue of modesty, I gave her a dark turtle-neck and changed her corset into a sleeve-less top for the sake of better coverage. She’s just a really lively and outgoing person and I like the fact that she’s a little different from the rest.
5) Pocahontas from “Pocahontas”
A lot of people requested a drawing of Pocahontas. My roommate felt really strongly about the fact that she should wear pants since the character is highly athletic and I recognized the fact that her billowing black hair needed to be preserved somehow. A really long fringe scarf did the trick. A few notable details are the necklace-inspired accessory on her scarf and the tattoo-inspired print on her sleeve. I kept the colors fairly dark and rich because I wanted to make it look like they were made of natural materials. Her pose makes me feel like she’s feeling the wind on her face or listening to the world around her.
6) Ella from “Cinderalla”
The biggest problem I faced with Cinderella is the fact that nearly every Disney girl wears blue: Elsa’s ice gown, Belle’s day dress, Ariel’s human clothes, Tiana’s costume, Jasmine, Aurora, Alice, Wendy… You get the point. Eventually, I ended up relying on the recent live-action adaption instead of the original animated movie since it really gives off a “Stroke of Midnight” vibe. The darker shade provides a nice contrast for her extremely pale complexion and the star-like sparkles.
7) Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog”
Tiana was so much fun. Unfortunately, none of her outfits reflect the fact that she was living in New Orleans in the Roaring ’20s. Somehow I had to merge the highly un-Islamic culture of the time with this concept of modesty into what I call Halal Flapper-Style Pizzazz. Unlike Ariel’s belt where each pearl was carefully drawn, Tiana’s necklace is made up of beads of different sizes and colors to resemble fireflies. Her hat has a water-lily embellishment and the silhouette of the dress has been slimmed down because it’s more in line with the fashion of her era.
8) Jane Porter from “Tarzan”
I spent a lot of time discussing Jane’s design with my friends to avoid making her look like Belle. One of them suggested that I give her a pair of boots, I really wanted to give her a trench coat, and everyone else insisted that she have a parasol. Jane’s willing to get a little messy and I tried to emulate that in her clothing choices. For example, a pair of brown leather gloves is more practical than her original white ones. Her army-green pants are based on the wrap she wears later on while the yellow dress peeking out from under her coat is based on the frilly one she originally dons.
9) Kidagakash Nedakh from “Atlantis: The Lost Empire
My favorite re-interpretation so far is probably Kida, the oft-forgotten warrior princess of the lost empire. I nearly had to start from scratch because she hardly has any clothing in the movie. Her new outfit is a combination of Greek goddess and various tribal elements. I gave her an open and flowy mullet skirt because I didn’t want to inhibit her movements. Her scarf style is inspired by a manga set in Central Asia, and all of her jewelry is based off of the source material. The designs in the fabric loosely resemble the architecture seen throughout Atlantis. Unlike the other characters’ solid shadows, her one is softer as a reference to her mystical powers.
I’m a little swamped at the moment, but expect more. I’d like to draw the majority of the princesses and maybe even some of the villains. I’ve already started coming up with ideas for Megara, Alice, Belle, Aurora, Merida, Snow White, Eilonwy, Elsa and Anna to name a few. Eventually, I want to move away from the Disney franchise and re-interpret characters like Anastasia or Odette or Princess Mononoke.
Maryam Masud is an artist and author from Arizona. She is currently studying at Zaytuna College, the United States’ first accredited Muslim Liberal Arts College. Follow her on Instagram @aeowina.