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EDGERTON, Kan. — Thirteen years of hard work and dozens of patches later, 18-year-old Laurissa McMillan-DePew has earned the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve.

The Gardner-Edgerton High School senior has earned the Girl Scout Gold Award for publishing her own book, “We Are All Princesses.” 

“I grew up watching Disney ever since I was a little girl. All princesses just really look kind of the same. There’s nothing really different about any of the princesses,” Laurissa said. “I just wanted to show that no matter what you look like, you can still be a princess, even though Disney maybe wouldn’t portray you as a princess.” 

Only 5.4% of eligible Girl Scouts earn the Gold Award.

Laurissa put in over 100 hours of work taking photos, editing and publishing the book about body positivity and mental health. 

“I really struggled with body positivity myself, so that’s kind of why I decided to do the process of body positivity,” Laurissa said. 

Each page features girls from her community. Laurissa said each photo is meant to highlight the personal beauty of young women regardless of race, size or physical ability. She knows the models in the book personally from school and church. 

“Her sister is one of the models in the book. Her sister unfortunately deals with some mental health issues. We wanted to get that message out there that it’s OK if you deal with mental health. It’s OK if you’re in a wheelchair. It’s OK if you’re adopted. It doesn’t matter. Everybody is a princess,” Laurissa’s mother, Laura McMillan-DePew, said. 

There’s a copy of the book in each library throughout the Gardner-Edgerton School District. Laurissa is also asking people to take a selfie and share their own story on social media using the hashtag #ProjectIAmAPrincess. 

“I think I will continue to try to promote body positivity in girls no matter where I’m at,” Laurissa said. 

Copies of “We Are All Princesses” will be sold for $5 to cover the cost of printing. Laurissa said she won’t be making a profit from the book. You can find more information on how to purchase “We Are All Princesses” here.