Meet Liberty Jaine, a baby girl who has spent the first 18 months of her life paying visual tribute to women everyone should know through a photography project dreamed up by her creative mom, Jenelle Wexler. Liberty’s first portrayal, at just 3 weeks old, was of Frida Kahlo. She’s since been photographed as 136 other influential women from the past and present. Each beyond-adorable photo of “Liberty as…” is posted with info about the woman she’s celebrating, rendering an Instagram feed that is equal parts heart-melting and inspiring.
Scrolling through all of its WYSKiness, we were totally captivated by Photography of Liberty and connected with Jenelle to get the story behind this dynamic mother-daughter project. Of the “fun, yet informatively positive” photos that fill the feed, she told us, “It’s important to pay tribute to the women who fought for and helped protect and further women’s causes. I want to bring attention to their specific stories to show how critical these women’s actions were in helping to shape our current society for the better.” Jenelle added, “These women continue to inspire young women today to push boundaries and strive beyond equality. I only hope these are the individuals that Liberty, herself, chooses to admire.”
So how does this “proud mama” select the women Liberty represents? Jenelle explained that she takes inspiration from everywhere. “Issues, awards, current events, women I look up to, suggestions from Liberty’s fans… there are truly so many amazing and empowering women that our project could continue for a long time!”
A hairstylist/salon owner by trade, and a photographer by hobby, Jenelle attempts to capture each woman’s essence in Liberty. To date, her three favorite photos from the project are Frida Kahlo, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Alicia Keys… with Ellen and Oprah taking her fourth and fifth spots.
Of the living women Jenelle has dressed and photographed Liberty as, a number have expressed how moved and humbled they are by such a creatively precious honor. Among them, tennis legend and champion of equality, Billie Jean King, who now follows Liberty’s Instagram, and has commented, “Love this”, and… “You’re going to accomplish great things in life, Liberty, with such a strong and creative mama beside you.”
Olympic Champion and ‘GOAT’ (greatest of all time) Gymnast, Simone Biles, shared Liberty’s photo in her Instagram stories with the headline… “This is adorable. My heart.”
National Soccer Hall of Famer, Olympian, activist and author Abby Wambach posted to her Instagram, “Also, I just saw this!!! Omg! Can you even handle?”
While we love all the women she’s represented, we’re partial to Liberty as Brenda Berkman, the pioneering firefighter, retired FDNY Captain, White House Fellow, and artist, whose extraordinary story we had the privilege to tell in 2011. In fact, the video profile we did on Brenda – her WYSKumentary – officially launched our site.
Lead photo: Liberty as Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old, Swedish climate and environmental activist; credit to Jenelle Wexler and published here with her express permission.