Parker Curry got to dance with her “queen,” Michelle Obama. The track? “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift.
Parker is only 2 years old, but a recent photo of her that went viral prompted the first lady to meet the little girl who admired her portrait at the National Portrait Gallery.
Last week, Jessica Curry took her daughter Parker to see the Obama’s portraits. Parker couldn’t avert her eyes from Amy Sherald’s painting of the former first lady.
Parker ignored her mother’s pleas to turn around for a photo. She stood transfixed, looking up at a woman she thinks is a “queen,” according to her mother.
“All I wanted was just one pic,” said Curry, who is a lifelong D.C. resident. “She was just so fixated on the portrait and wouldn’t turn away from it.”
Others were watching the interaction, including Ben Hines of Alexandria, Va., who took a photo of the moment. He posted the picture of Parker in utter awe, her mouth agape, on Facebook.
The next morning, Curry said, her phone “blew up.” Her little girl had become Internet famous.
The photo, taken Thursday, has been shared, liked, tweeted, retweeted and Instagrammed thousands of times around the world. Obama reacted with not one but three heart-eye emoji.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Curry said Sunday.
Many of those who responded to the photo said they were inspired by Parker’s reaction.
Tweeted another: “I needed to cry over something beautiful instead of crying over frustrating news.”
That a little girl could be in such awe of the former first lady was precisely what Hines wanted to capture in taking the photo.
“It was a moment of awe and inspiration,” Hines said. “I was just lucky to be there for it.”
Hines had been visiting the museum with his mother. He tried to find Curry later to share the photo and explain how inspiring it was, but he lost her in the crowds. So, he turned to Facebook, hoping the Internet might help him find Parker’s mother.
But Curry couldn’t figure out what was happening. She barely uses social media.
She asked her sister, who was with her that day, if she had taken the photo and posted it. Nope. Eventually, with help from more digitally savvy friends, Curry figured out a guy named Ben Hines took the photo. Then someone who knew her tagged her on Hines’s Facebook post.
They spoke on the phone.
“It was a wonderful conversation,” Hines said. “It’s just a wonderful and very hopeful thing that happened.”
So, how is Parker dealing with the sudden fame?
For starters, she’s staying humble. When her grandmother called her a “star,” Parker replied, “I’m not a star. I’m a big girl.”