Marian Scott was left devastated last month after she was stopped from participating in school picture day because of her dyed red hair extensions.
But the Michigan third-grader has turned her frown upside down with a new set of photos that showcase not only her red hair, but her fabulous fashion, too.
Marian made headlines in October after she was told by Paragon Charter Academy staffers that her red hair violated the school dress code, which stated that hairstyles must be “conservative” and “of natural tones.”
Her father Doug Scott said at the time he found the incident “upsetting,” and that Marian was forced to stand in the hallway with tears in her eyes as the rest of her classmates had their photos taken, Today Parents reported.
But Marian recently got her own moment in front of the camera thanks to Chicago-based photographer Jermaine Horton, who shot Marian in a variety of glamorous poses, including one in a rainbow gown.
Horton wrote on Facebook that he’d heard Marian’s story on the news, and was “furious” because he feared the impact it could have on her self-confidence.
“I’m so blessed to have been a part of this to give her an amazing day that showed her that she truly is beautiful and her hair color was the BOMB!” he wrote. “Of course we kept it for the shoot!”
Scott said that at first, his daughter was a bit camera-shy, but came out of her shell once they started playing Ariana Grande songs in the studio.
“The other day she told her mom that she wants to be a model,” he told Today Parents.
Marian had a blast, too, telling NBC affiliate WILX that she had fun posing and “got to be [her]self.”
“Confidence is a process, especially when you’re rebuilding someone’s confidence, especially a child, because they’re so fragile,” Horton told WILX. “So we want to make sure that she feels not just great that day, but going forward, that it’s ongoing that she still feels that support.”
Scott and his wife LaToya Howard pulled Marian out of Paragon Charter Academy after the incident, and she now attends public school, where she’s able to proudly rock her red hair.
“There’s no uniform or restrictions on hair,” Scott told Today. “She feels like she can be herself.”
At the time of the school pictures, school spokesperson Leah Nixon told PEOPLE in a statement that the handbook clearly outlined the school’s policies.
“We take great care to ensure our families are well-informed about this policy, and also work closely with students and their parents if there’s a concern,” the statement read. “We understand the importance of good communication in helping strengthen the partnership we have with our families, and will continue to make this a priority to create a school environment where everyone is valued and has their voice heard.”
Scott, however, expressed frustration that the school had not reached out to him and his wife to inform them of the policy and the picture problem.
“If they at least would’ve reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, come get her, she’s got a hair issue, we need you to change it, that’s not allowed, it’s in the handbook,’” he told WILX. “They didn’t even go to those extents. They let her stay in school. So if she’s not a disruption to the class, then why is she a disruption to the picture?”
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