Former First Lady Michelle Obama has many fans all over the world, but one in particular, Parker Curry, has been making headlines after appearing in a heart-stoppingly gorgeous viral photo. Two-year-old Parker was with her mother at the National Portrait Gallery when she took in the stunning portrait of Michelle Obama, painted by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald.
"Parker was in front on the portrait, and I really wanted her to turn around so I could get a picture with her, and she genuinely, honestly would not turn around," her mother, Jessica Curry, a small business owner from Washington DC, told CNN this past weekend. "She was uncooperative with me because she was just so focused on the portrait and studying it, and she was just so fascinated."
In that moment, a fellow museum-goer named Ben Hines captured the shot of Parker completely awestruck by the portrait and later posted it to Facebook, writing, "Donna Hines & I made a pilgrimage today and we were delighted to wait in line behind this fellow art lover & hopeful patriot." The image quickly went viral, racking up more than 35K shares.
It wasn't long before Mrs. Obama herself saw the image, posted to painter Sherald's Instagram. The former First Lady reacted with three heart-eyed emojis.
Little Parker was equally smitten. "In further discussion with (Parker) yesterday and today, I realized that she believes Michelle Obama is a queen, and she wants to be a queen as well," Jessica Curry told CNN. "As a female and as a girl of color, It's really important that I show her people who look like her that are doing amazing things and are making history so that she knows she can do it."
Not only did the little girl get to pay tribute to Michelle Obama's gasp-worthy portrait, but today, Tuesday, March 6, she got to meet her in person. The lawyer and writer took to Instagram and Twitter to share an adorable post, featuring a still and a video clip, documenting her time with the toddler.
"Parker, I'm so glad I had the chance to meet you today (and for the dance party)!" Obama wrote alongside the post. "Keep on dreaming big for yourself...and maybe one day I'll proudly look up at a portrait of you!"
Obama had previously noted at the official unveiling on February 12, "(Girls and girls of color) will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this great American institution. ... And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls." Parker's experience couldn't be a more heartwarming example of the true impact of Obama's portrait (not to mention, entire legacy). What an incredible illustration of the power of representation.