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Matt Burt, 24, is not a parent, but he has opinions about Disney princesses.
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based graphic designer finds the iconic princess characters to be "larger than life," cultural phenomenons that people look to for inspiration, he told TODAY Parents. That inspired him and his colleagues at the financial website Simple.Thrifty.Living. to re-imagine the icons as women with successful careers.
"I wanted to create something other people might look up to," he said. "My teammates and I chose roles that not only fit the specific princess, but also showed them thriving in their career and in traditionally male-dominated fields."
In Burt's imagination, Merida is an Olympic equestrian and archer, Rapunzel a neurologist. Sleeping Beauty's Aurora is, naturally, a coffee company CEO — after all, she understand how hard it can be to wake up without it. Moana's special relationship with the ocean drew her to become an officer in the Navy, and mouse-loving Cinderella is an animal-rights activist.
"Jasmine is my favorite," said Burt. "I think her role as a U.N. ambassador is a perfect fit for her, and it matches her personality from the movie."
Burt's versions of the princesses have caught the attention of fans far and wide.
"I'm incredibly humbled by it," he said. "People from across the world have taken time to write me — not something that usually happens to a graphic designer."
One student in the Philippines wrote Burt an email explaining how much his reimagined princesses inspired her.
"She said it was a reminder that she doesn't have to follow social norms to be successful," he said. "I also have had parents emailing me asking if they could print out the graphics for their daughters."
Burt never expected responses like these, but he is glad his illustrations are living happily ever after.
"(The response is) truly touching, and I'm grateful that others are enjoying what I created," he said.