It’s certainly not unusual for little girls to enjoy playing dress up, but one third-grader in Omaha, Neb., is taking the hobby to a whole new level.
Stella Ehrhart may be only 8 years old, but she sure knows her history. Every day she goes to class at Dundee Elementary School dressed as someone, usually a woman, of historical significance.
“I’m not sure where she came up with it. It was the second day of second grade. She had an awesome teacher at the public school here, and after the second day, she just decided that tomorrow she was going to dress as someone different,” Kevin Ehrhart, her father, told ABCNews.com.
He continued, “It’s been so fun to see where she’s going with it. She wasn’t doing it to take focus away from anyone. She’s just doing it to be creative.”
Stella has dressed up as everyone from political activists to Hollywood stars. Billie Holiday, Grace Kelly, Queen Elizabeth and her father’s favorite, Joan Baez, are just a few of the women who have made the cut.
It’s no surprise where she gets her creativity, however. Both of her parents are heavily involved in the theater community around Omaha.
“I’m just so proud of how creative she is. I work at the Children’s Theater here in Omaha, so out of necessity I’ve taken her into my acting classes. She’s been in acting classes with me since a young age,” Ehrhart said. “It’s just fun to see her creativity bloom. As a father it’s just fun to share that with her.”
Ehrhart is an actor, director and teacher at the local Rose Theater, where Stella has appeared with him on stage. She actually has a big debut tonight, playing the role of Rhoda Penmark from “The Bad Seed” alongside a close family friend, Laura Marr, the artistic director of Circle Theater.
Marr also had a hand in inspiring Stella to dress up as these elaborate historical figures. She gave her the book “100 Most Important Women of 20th Century” and now Stella uses it to carefully research which woman she wants to portray the next day.
“The nice thing is, she dresses as that historical figure from what she already has. We don’t have to run out and buy a whole bunch of clothes. It’s like, ‘What would Queen Elizabeth want to wear from my closet today?’” Ehrhart said.
The only time Stella doesn’t wear her historical outfits is on the first day of a new grade, because it’s family tradition for her grandpa to take her shopping for a new “back to school” outfit. The first day of second grade she wore a T-shirt and leggings, but the very next day she was author Laura Ingalls Wilder.
“I don’t know if we’re that different, but I have always tried to follow up on what they seem to be interested in. If it comes from their own initiative, they’re going to put a lot more energy into it,” Ehrhart said. “Just listen and pay homage to those ideas the kids are having. Its’ amazing to see how the smallest idea just grows and grows into a more solid and complete experience.”
Today, Stella was Oprah. But when this school year ends, so will her two-year tradition of dressing as important woman figures.
“A group of her friends decided they were going to design a new uniform to wear, so every day they’re going to wear the uniform,” Ehrhart explained.
To see more of Stella’s historical figure outfits, click here.