Whether it's in movies, music, or politics, representation matters for our kids. Just look at 3-year-old Ryleigh Madison Hampton, an adorable little girl whose gone viral for dressing up as some of our country's most influential African American figures. In fact, the toddler dressed up as former First Lady Michelle Obama and totally embodied her stunning Inauguration Day look.
In a photo shoot shared on Instagram, Ryleigh and her friend, Zayden, were mini-duplicates of the first Black president and first lady, down to the belt, pose, and facial expressions. As you recall, Mrs. Obama commanded the inauguration stage in her three-piece burgundy set. The outfit, created by African American designer, Sergio Hudson, quickly went viral on Jan. 20. Anyone who was watching the historic day took note, including Ryleigh's grandmother who came up with the idea for the tots as the Obamas photo shoot.
"[Zayden] and Ryleigh love taking pictures together and thought it would be fun to try different costumes," Ryleigh's mother, Zoe Hampton, tells Romper.
That Instagram post alone has gotten over 25,000 likes since it was shared on Ryleigh's Instagram page, @its_allry, which is run by her mom. Mrs. Obama even retweeted the pictures. "Ryleigh & Zayden, you nailed it!" the Becoming author wrote.
As a Black mother, Hampton says it's important to expose her child to as much positive representation as possible. "Our children are bombarded with so many negative images in the media and on the internet," she says. "It's very important to have positive role models not only in the home but on the screens of their tablets and phones; it gives them something to aspire to become."
Michelle Obama isn't the only notable figure Ryleigh has dressed up as. Earlier this week, the tot channeled her inner Purple Rain and dressed up as Prince and completed the outfit with her own gold guitar and signature fleece.
"She is a huge Prince fan," Hampton says of her daughter.
Ryleigh has also perfected an iconic look worn by Vice President Kamala Harris as the election results were announced in November: a white pantsuit with a perfect little American flag pin on the lapel. "All things are possible," the caption on the post reads.
No word on whether Vice President Harris has caught wind of her mini duplicate yet — she is pretty busy at the moment — but it's definitely been a hit with the little model's followers, gaining over 7,800 likes on Instagram so far.
When she is not playing dress-up, Ryleigh's mom says her daughter enjoys singing, dancing, cooking in her play kitchen, and playing with makeup. So what look will will she take on next? According to Hampton, Ryleigh is a Michael Jackson fan, so that could be a clue!