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Photographer Puts Diversity Of Girls' Choices, Beauty Into Sharper Focus

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - An Alabama photographer is spreading the message of what it means to be a little girl and an athlete.

Some are calling a series of viral photos "sugar and spice," reports CBS2's Christine Mitchell.

Heather Mitchell is a mom to two daughters and owns a photography business.

It took one conversation at her 8-year-old daughter's softball practice to inspire a thought that would resonate with thousands of people around the world.

"I just hope that Paislee learns to love the game this year, this is her first year, I feel like she's athletic," said Mitchell.

It was another mother's response that left her feeling unsettled.

"'Ahhh, she's not athletic she's a girly girl," said Mitchell.

"I like to dress up in high heels and fancy dresses, but I also love to play softball," said daughter Paislee.

"That night I kept thinking about it and playing it over and over in my head, and I thought, why does she have to choose? Why can't she be both?" said her mom.

Heather Mitchell Photography
Heather Mitchell Photography (credit: HMP Couture Imagery)

She could be both. And Heather showed the world with photos in which girls didn't have to choose. The pictures, and their message, went viral.

"Just overwhelmed that we have this voice to say 'you, little girl, can do it,'" she said. "Nobody can tell you you can`t do it."

Now with a platform to stand on, Heather needed to share more.

"We had a lot of feedback on our first post that we didn`t have diversity," she said. "But it was paid sessions, it wasn`t models that we chose. So today, we get to choose.'

In a follow up photo shoot, girls of all kinds came together to show everyone just how tough they can be.

Mitchell's message that whether you're a little girl adopted out of the foster system, or born with a partial arm, or even fighting cancer, girls from all walks of life can be beautiful athletes.

"Whatever life has thrown at you, there`s no limits," she said.

Mitchell says she failed her photography class in college, but now, she's booked for the next three months.

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