Meet 18-year-old Jasmine Dauphine from the Washington, DC, area.
Like many teens, Dauphine has been dreaming of her prom for years. She started planning her outfit way back in the middle of her junior year, looking to the world of haute couture and high fashion for inspiration.
"Originally I wanted to wear a brown mermaid dress, but then I wanted to take inspiration from Zendaya’s 2017 Met Gala look and SZA’s 2018 Met Gala look," Dauphine said, "and I found the perfect dress online."
With her dress secured from Lunss, she even made herself a headpiece out of a headband and some zip ties.
Dauphine's prom was supposed to take place this June, but it was canceled, like high school dances across the country, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"At first I was OK with it because it was a pandemic, and I still am OK with it!" she told BuzzFeed News. "But then I got really sad when I fully realized that I won’t be able to ever go to prom."
So like others who missed out on their dances this year, Dauphine decided to still get dressed up back in June and had her sister take pictures to commemorate the prom that never was.
"I took this photo shoot because I still wanted to say I did something for prom, and I wanted to bring a little joy to myself even if it wasn’t a whole prom event," she said.
The pair went to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial where Dauphine posed for some incredible shots in her fiery, billowing dress.
As Dauphine was about to leave, a photographer stopped her and asked if she too could take some photos of her because she loved her dress.
"I noticed Jasmine from afar and the creative in me was, like, OMG, I have to take a picture of her!" said Sara Isabella Ortiz, a 24-year-old wedding photographer who happened to be visiting DC from Florida. "I simply walked up to her and kindly asked, praying she would say yes."
The dreamy photos captured by Ortiz further showcased the stunning look.
Ortiz recalled rushing home to edit the photos as quickly as she could so she could send them over to Dauphine.
"I am 10,000% certain she captured not only my attention," she said, "but everyone's attention that day with her beauty!"
It's been several months since that photoshoot, but on Wednesday Dauphine decided to tweet the photos.
They've since gone spectacularly viral and have been liked more than half a million times on Twitter, where many people are in awe of Dauphine and that dress.
i want to throw her a prom just for her because OH MY GOODNESS https://t.co/neRd4vLdLy
the dress! the hair! the face! the skin! she would’ve eaten everyone else up. so beautiful 😍🤩 https://t.co/VQ2Oea6YJj
she’s the best dressed person of the year https://t.co/hm4epoijGc
*Screams in Tahani.* THIS IS DIVINE! https://t.co/W2UaVr6TgU
Dauphine said the responses to her photos were overwhelming. "When this went viral, I was so shocked," she said. "I think I stared at my phone for 10 minutes trying to comprehend the numbers that I was seeing. It was so crazy to me."
During Thanksgiving, her family kept congratulating her and making jokes about her new viral fame, while her excited friends have been sending her links to all the pages where her look has been reposted.
Ortiz, the photographer, also can't quite believe the response to the photos.
"I’m completely shook. It just feels so unreal! Like, is this really happening?!!!" she said. "It’s so crazy because when I saw Jasmine that day I knew she was someone super special."