FLORENCE, S.C. — A picture of two Florence 4-year-olds has gone viral.
Former first lady Michelle Obama recently shared a photo of Ryleigh Hampton and Zayden Lowe that was taken at the Drs. Bruce & Lee Foundation Library in Florence. In the photo, one of a series, Ryleigh and Zayden are dressed in outfits similar to Barack and Michelle Obama's at the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden.
The photos were staged by Ryleigh's grandmother, Shelia Hampton, and taken by Ryleigh's aunt, Shelia's 14-year-old daughter, Joi.
Shelia said she was a supporter of Democratic politics and wanted to give Ryleigh someone to look up to that also looks like her.
Michelle Obama is the first African American first lady. Barack is the first African American president.
"Representation matters," Shelia Hampton said. "It allows us to teach her and show her that this is what women can do. This says to her that with hard work and dedication, this is what you can do."
"I've been dressing up Ryleigh since she was a baby," Hampton said. "Every Sunday after church, we'd come home and take pictures. Recently, I dressed her up as Kamala Harris a couple of weeks prior."
Harris is the first African American vice president.
Once she saw Michelle Obama's outfit for the Jan. 20 inauguration of Joe Biden, Hampton said, she knew that she wanted to try the Sergio-Hudson designed look on Ryleigh.
"And you can see your results," Hampton said.
She said Zayden Lowe is the child of a co-worker at HopeHealth. Shelia and Beth both work in the same department at the HopeHealth facility on North Irby Street. Shelia added that they've been working together for around eight years.
"I wanted to make sure that I got someone that was close to Ryleigh's age and height because I really wanted them to look as a couple," Shelia said. "I knew that Zayden would be perfect. I see pictures of him every day. I knew he would be perfect. They are best friends."
Barack is 6 feet 1 and and Michelle is 5 feet 11.
Michelle Obama shared the photo after it was shared with her, starting a series of viral posts and articles across the internet. In her Instagram post, Obama said, "Ryleigh and Zayden, you nailed it!"
"It was a surreal moment," Shelia said. "It was just an honor to have her send it out with the kids' names. It was amazing."
Shelia added that it would be a dream come true for Ryleigh or Zayden to follow in the footsteps of seeking office like Barack Obama or Harris.