Teen's re-creation of late mom's glam senior photo goes viral

Yahoo Lifestyle
Kaylee Pirrotta-Rivera, right, and her mom. (Photo: Twitter/slimkay29)
Kaylee Pirrotta-Rivera, right, and her mom. (Photo: Twitter/slimkay29)

Almost four years after the death of her mother, one teenager has found a creative way to honor and connect with her. Kaylee Pirrotta-Rivera, 17, has been eyeing her mom’s glam senior photo since she was a kid.

“[I got the idea] when I was younger. I’ve always wanted to re-create her picture,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. So she did.

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In the original image, her mom, Lyndsay, is posing against the typical senior portrait backdrop, but her look is anything but typical. She turned it into a fashion photo shoot with a feathered, off-the-shoulder trim that matched the backdrop, and gave the camera a fierce “smize,” her flashy earrings sparkling as much as she was. “I’ve always had the picture, and thought it was inspiring and beautiful,” says Kaylee.

Now that the young beauty, who has over 16,000 Instagram dedicated followers, is the same age as her mother was when she took the original photo, she saw it as the perfect time to re-create it. All dolled up in a similar look, Kaylee posed in front of her mom’s photo and shared the snap on social media. It quickly went viral, touching the hearts of her followers. The tweet has more than 28K retweets and 171K likes.

And we are not surprised, considering the amount of work it took Kaylee to re-create the original image to a T. She has the exact same feather trim peeking in at the bottom of her photo, very similar earrings, an identical hairstyle, plus the same fierce look on her face. “I used a lot of drugstore products, and high-end products,” Kaylee says about her makeup. “It took an hour for me to do my makeup.”

To create the unique top, she purchased feathers from a craft store, “and I literally had a tube top on and wrapped the feathers around my shoulders and chest.” The earrings were borrowed from her grandmother, she says, noting, “They weren’t my mom’s but a close comparison.”

While this isn’t Kaylee’s official senior photo, we can’t imagine anything better and more bold. Instead, her professional photographer aunt did the shoot with her in about 15 minutes.

Unfortunately, Kaylee also lost her father, who died at the beginning of her junior year, just two years and four days after the death of her mother. But beauty and fashion have helped her through these losses, especially because they connect her to her mother, she says.

“Me and my mom had an amazing relationship. She was someone I looked up to,” Kaylee gushes. “She was a cosmetologist, and I grew up being her doll when she did my hair and makeup.” The teen loved the process so much that it inspired her to pursue cosmetology, which explains why her YouTube channel is filled with hair and makeup tutorials. “Beauty and fashion keeps me busy and makes me feel closer to her, as if I was with her again,” she says.

The internet was moved by this creative and courageous creation. “Coming from someone who has lost a parent, this is awesome! Beautiful picture #Respect,” one person tweeted. “Damn your mum slayed & you did the pic justice,” someone commented on the Instagram post. “You’re carrying her legacy with grace and beauty keep being you keep being strong and keep influencing.” Some are stunned by her makeup expertise. “Congratulations, your so talented ,” someone said. Another wrote on Instagram that Kaylee “did her beauty justice.” While one declared it an “amazing recreation.”

Others are simply impressed with the idea. “I proclaim this becomes a THING,” someone said. “This is a great idea and I need to steal tf out of this idea when I take grad pics,” wrote another. One follower even created a version of Kaylee’s shot against the same backdrop.

“People have been coming up to me saying congrats and loving the photo. Saying it was beautiful and they wanted to see me do more looks,” she says.

But she says that most importantly, her mom would have been “happy and proud” with the image, noting, “She would’ve been my hype man.”

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