I met Elisabeth for the first time four years ago when she was nine, at her sister Jessica’s Bat Mitzvah. Jessica too, was one of those people who seemed older than her years, and who I have though of often, knowing that she would grow up to be an amazing person.

At her Bat Mitzvah, her younger sister Elisabeth was such a sweet presence. I remember her being so excited not only for Jessica’s big day, but for her own future Bat Mitzvah, which at the time seemed SO long away! Well, her turn is finally here, so we took off for the happiest place on Earth the other day to shoot her pre-Mitzvah portraits!

For the record, I did not look like this at 12. I vaguely remember trying to crimp my curly hair and dousing my bangs in Aqua Net hair spray. Yeah, I would say Elisabeth is definitely a natural beauty:


Her theme? Alice in Wonderland, of course! There wasn’t too much Alice-y stuff around the park, but there were a few hidden gems:


Elisabeth is so authentic. She is sweet, sassy, energetic, and silly. She is completely ELISABETH:


A touch of a Mad Hatter:


I love these two photos. She’s so composed:


One of the things I remember MOST about Elisabeth from four years ago is her dancing! She is an AMAZING dancer, and she must have just been born that way. She recently started ballet and will already be going en pointe next year, a huge accomplishment considering she has so little formal training:


I wanted to make a few softer photos too:


We headed into Toontown for a few more fun and quirky shots:


There is just so much fun stuff there, I was loving it! Having moved here from somewhere that is very far from any Disney park, I didn’t grow up going to one. I wish I had gotten to experience these things as a kid!


Of course we had to have Elisabeth ride the teacups! Fact: I hate all rides that spin, and was feeling a little icky after even SHOOTING a ride that spins! It was worth it though:


So fun:


I love a good merry-go-round:


I love these two:


Although Elisabeth looks and acts very mature for her age, she is still, and hopefully will always be, a kid at heart:


Elisabeth, it was SO much fun to get to photograph you at Disney! I just love your spirit, your kindness and your sense of humor and fun! Your Bat Mitzvah is going to be incredible, and I am excited to be a part of it!