What better way to learn about important women in history than with 11 beautiful photos starring an adorable 5-year-old girl?
Photographer Marc Bushelle, who’s also the proud father of his subject, Lily, created this photo series, called “The Heroines Project,” because he both wanted to spend quality family time with his wife and daughter and teach his daughter about strong heroines in history.
“I thought this also could be a great way to build her confidence and sense of self worth,” Bushelle told Upworthy. “This series was inspired by another photographer who did something similar with her daughter.”
In addition to viewing his work on his website above, be sure to like his Facebook page. You don’t want to miss this kind of talent!
Bushelle’s wife, Janine Harper, wrote each photo description below.
Here’s Lily looking smart as Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison.
“Born Chloe Wofford, Toni Morrison was raised in Lorain, Ohio. Morrison became the first black woman to win a Nobel Prize in literature for her novel ‘Beloved.’ Other titles included ‘The Bluest Eye,’ which began as a short story in a writing group at Howard University, where she did her undergraduate work. She went on to get a master’s at Cornell. In her work as an editor for Random House, she was instrumental in promoting the works of other black authors such as Toni Cade Bambara and Angela Davis. She shepherded other young writers as a professor at Howard and Princeton. She is known for the lyrical proses that she uses to tackle complex issues like the psychological impact of slavery and colorism in the black community. In 2012, Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”
Lily is Nobel and wise as Mother Teresa.
“Born in Macedonia, Mother Teresa became a nun at 18. While serving in India, she received a ‘call within a call’ which told her she needed to live among the poor and create her own order Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. She wore a blue and white sari and dedicated her life to helping the poor and sick. She traveled the world and treated people of many different faiths. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her work. The order she founded still operates in many parts of the world, including the Mott Haven section of the Bronx.”
Lily appears filled with hope for the future as Malala Yousafzai.
“You don’t have to be old to make history. Malala Yousafzai was born in Pakistan in 1997. When the Taliban gained control of her area, they banned the education of girls. Malala was raised in a family that valued education, so she used her words to fight them. She spoke out against them and, eventually, gained the attention of foreign media. One day, the Taliban came looking for her, bursting into her school van, asking, “Who is Malala?” When she identified herself, a fearful man shot her three times in the head. But she survived. She had to be airlifted out of the country and recovered from her injuries in the U.K. On her 16th birthday, she addressed the United Nations about the need to educate all children all over the world. She told the packed room: ‘Here I stand, one girl among many. I speak not for myself … but so that those without a voice can be heard.’ Her birthday, July 14, has been dubbed Malala Day, an international call to action for the education of girls. She became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.”
Here’s Lily as smart and strong leader Admiral Michelle J. Howard.
“On July 1, 2014, Michelle J. Howard made history by becoming the first female four-star admiral in the U.S. Navy and the highest-ranking black woman in the military. She was referenced in the Tom Hanks movie ‘Captain Phillips’ because Admiral Howard played a role in rescuing the actual Captain Phillips from Somali pirates. She was raised in a military family in Aurora, Colorado. In 1982, Howard graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. She earned a master’s degree from Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998. Her current ranking was not the first time she made history. She was the first black woman to take command of a U.S. Navy warship in 1999, the USS Rushmore. Never shying from a challenge, Howard has vowed to make tackling sexual assault within the Navy an important issue to allow others to achieve their goals.”
Here’s Lily making history as Mae Jemison.
“Dr. Mae Jemison was the first African-American woman to be accepted to NASA’s astronaut training program. She was also the first to go into outer space aboard the Endeavor in 1992. She was a Peace Corps volunteer and was working as a doctor when she was inspired by Sally Ride to change careers.”
Lily is fierce posing like Queen Latifah.
“History now includes hip-hop. A young woman from Newark demanded the world called her ‘Queen’ when it wanted to call her anything but that. She was born Dana Owens but selected the name Latifah, which means ‘delicate’ and ‘sensitive’ in Arabic. Her first album, ‘All Hail the Queen,’ dropped in 1989. Hits like ‘Ladies First’ brought feminist and Afrocentric themes to the forefront and provided a powerful counterpoint to misogyny in hip-hop. Her acting career began with a memorable turn as a surly waitress in ‘Jungle Fever.’ She would find other roles in the sitcom ‘Living Single’ and the movie ‘Set It Off.’ She was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Mama Morton in ‘Chicago.’ She became a spokesmodel for ‘Cover Girl,’ releasing the ‘Queen’ collection of makeup for women of color. She received numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe. She hosted her own talk show in 1999-2001 and again in 2013. Queen Latifah won a Grammy for ‘U.N.I.T.Y.,’ which became an anthem for treating women with respect.”
Here’s Lily looking proud and beautiful as Nina Simone.
“Nina Simone was born Eunice Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina. She displayed musical talent early on when she started playing the piano by ear at 3. Her mother cleaned houses for a woman who would become her benefactor, providing formal piano lessons that introduced her to Johann Sebastian Bach and other classical masters. Despite her undeniable talent, she was not selected for a scholarship at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. To support herself, she began to teach students and play other people’s songs in nightclubs. Her brilliant improvisations and vocal stylings started getting her noticed. The song ‘Mississippi Goddam’ came about as a result of her anger over the assassination of Medgar Evers and the church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four little girls. It began her sharp departure from popular music. She mingled with the great black minds of her time — James Baldwin, Stokely Carmichael — but it was her friendship with playwright Lorraine Hansberry that led to the creation of the anthem ‘To Be Young, Gifted and Black.’ Dubbed ‘The High Priestess of Soul,’ she put out 40 albums in her lifetime. Her performances drew on many musical genres, such as blues, gospel, and folk, to create a new type of American classical music. On stage, she presented herself as the epitome of Afrocentric regality, which challenged and continues to challenge the predominant standards of beauty. She was not afraid to call on her contemporaries and her audiences to act. Her legacy continues to inspire. Most recently, singer John Legend started his Oscar acceptance speech with a quote by Simone: ‘It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.'”
Here’s Lily, sharp and in control, as Josephine Baker.
“As a young girl, Josephine Baker was severely affected by the violence of the race riots she witnessed in East St. Louis. Her ability to sing and dance led her to her joining a vaudeville troupe, which brought her to New York City. Sensing limitations, she went to Paris to star in ‘La Revue Nègre’ and became the show’s breakout star. She is the most famous for her risqué banana dance. But as her popularity grew throughout France and the rest of Europe, she remained concerned about the plight of black people in America. She used her celebrity to demand that the U.S. venues that she performed at were not segregated. She was one of the few women who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. For her work as a spy in World War II, she was the first American woman awarded France’s top military honors.”
Lily positively owns it as Grace Jones.
“Grace Jones was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, but moved with her family to New York when she was 12. Born into a very strict religious family, Jones would rebel and go on to become a model, musician, and muse. Her androgyny, sharp cheekbones and fearlessness caught the attention of many when she danced in the legendary Studio 54 or stalked the catwalks of New York and Paris. She inspired designers like Helmut Lang and artist like Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. She was the James Bond villain May Day in ‘A View to a Kill’ and starred in ‘Conan the Destroyer’ with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hits like ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ and ‘Pull Up to the Bumper’ display her vocal range and her ability to present stunning and thought-provoking imagery to the world. People still look to her for inspiration because in a world of derivatives, she is a true original.”
Lily is ready to fly the skies as Bessie Coleman.
“Bessie Coleman was the first African-American to hold an international pilot license and the first African-American woman to pilot a plane in the U.S. Unable to become a pilot in the U.S., she studied French and went to Europe. When she returned, she became a sensation for her ability to do barrel rolls, wing walks, and loop-de-loop trick aviation.”
Here’s Lily looking cool as a cucumber as Shirley Chisholm.
“Shirley Chisholm was born in Brooklyn but did her early schooling with her grandmother in Barbados. She came back and attended the prestigious Girls’ High School. She excelled in politics and debating at Brooklyn College. Afterward, she became a nursery school teacher, earning her master’s at Columbia University. Later, she was an advocate for early education. When a position became available, she stepped up to the New York State Assembly. That led to her running for Congress in 1969 with the campaign slogan ‘Unbossed and Unbought.’ She won and became the first black woman to be elected to Congress. She went to D.C. representing Brooklyn and balked when the powers that be sought to put her on the Agriculture Committee, which she felt did not have much to do with her community. However, connecting with people despite differences helped make her effective. A rabbi in Crown Heights whose support she had sought gave her advice that led to her creating the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program with Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kansas). She was a politician who stood for integrity and accountability to her constituency. In January 1972, she announced her candidacy for president, becoming the first black woman to do so. While her political achievements were historic and impressive, Chisholm said she preferred to be remembered as ‘a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.'”