Disney diehard Richard Schaefer is far from your average fan. The California native, who once worked as a Jungle Cruise Skipper at Disneyland, has built up an Instagram following as a talented cosplayer who uses his serious makeup skills to transform into every character you could possibly imagine. From Ariel (who inspired his handle, @theofficialariel) to Aladdin, the 22-year-old pulls them all off, down to the very last detail.
“It started off as just an experiment with makeup that turned out to be much bigger than I expected,” Schaefer tells us via email of his journey. “I had always been teased for being so androgynous, so I decided it was time to use it to my advantage and cosplay the people I had always looked up to most: Disney characters.”
Schaefer’s ability to transition seamlessly into the male and female personalities is remarkable; he’s just as convincing a Tinker Bell as he is Peter Pan. “I cosplay male characters in addition to female characters because I feel like it’s important to show people that it’s okay to cosplay whoever you like and identify with the most — even if you don’t identify with the same gender as theirs,” he says.
His many incredible transformations are an inspiration in more ways than one. But most of all, they’re a testament to just how talented he is — and what a difference a little (or a lot) of makeup can make. Click through to see a few of his most jaw-dropping looks.