Some kindergartners dream of becoming the next Paw Patrol partner or Disney princess. For 5-year-old Essie Hewett of Atlanta, Georgia, she instead has her eyes on becoming more like the longest-serving first lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt.
Last month, her mom, Liz Hewett, headed to TikTok with a series of videos to break down how a school event where her daughter dressed as Roosevelt ultimately did a complete override on Essie’s persona.
The first TikTok has racked up nearly 50K views and shows Essie hilariously appearing to hype herself up while donning a stern expression and an outfit inspired by the late first lady.
“My 5-year-old was Eleanor Roosevelt for the President’s Day thing at school, and ever since she put on that costume, she has not taken it off,” Hewett explains in a follow-up clip, which now has almost 4.3 million views.
In the video, Hewett is visibly beside herself as she goes on to list the various asks Essie has made in the name of her new passion. Her requests include an Eleanor Roosevelt-themed birthday party and a stuffed version of the first lady to sleep with at night.
And then, there’s the name.
With a serious face, the mother explains at the tail end of the video that Essie has asked that she “refer to her as 'Your Ladyship' from now on.”
President’s Day, which was Feb.20, may be in the past ini the mind of most children, but Essie’s love for Roosevelt remains strong.
“She uses this certain voice, and she calls me her ‘dear child,’” Hewett tells TODAY.com of ways the Roosevelt personality rings throughout her household.
Asked during a phone interview what she admired most about the political figure once called the “First Lady of the World,” Essie explains without pause, “I liked that she believed in human rights.”
Human rights and freedom are just some of Essie’s latest loves. According to her mother, she also loves PBS and belting out American patriotic songs.
“She was singing ‘God Bless America’ in her room last night, like with the door closed,” she adds. “Nobody else was in there. She was just laying in her bed.”
Ultimately, Hewett gives Essie’s teachers credit for inspiring her latest excitement. After all, she explains, they were the ones who took Essie’s interest in human and civil rights and suggested Roosevelt for the event, which required students to dress up as a president or first lady. Initially, Essie had wanted to dress up as Coretta Scott King, whom she learned about for Black History Month.
“It just shows that they are important in her life and that’s how important teachers are,” Hewett adds. “People have been saying that I’m a good mom for letting her do this. But it’s not about me being a good mom. It’s about how good teachers are and how they know how important it is for little girls and boys to learn about these people, and I hope they know that we appreciate them a lot.”
As for which figure could influence her next, Hewett says Essie is looking to the future.
“Today she told me she wants to be the first woman president,” she explains, adding that Essie also tossed out another option. “Then she was like, ‘Ah, well, maybe I want to be the first woman on the moon.’”