CRESTVIEW — Six years ago seems like a lifetime for Latrell Higgins.
That was when the adopted Crestview teen became an internet sensation after his mother took photos of him posing as a newborn — at the age of 13.
Now 19, Higgins’ adoption story will be featured in a short film that will soon premiere as a commercial for technology company Hewlett-Packard.
Higgins said the film process has been surreal.
“I thought it was pretty cool actually because it all happened so long ago,” he said of the company’s interest in creating a film. “I didn’t expect something to come up after so many years."
Back in 2013, Higgins and his sister Chanya were two years into living with their adoptive family in Crestview, when the teens shared that they had no baby photos of themselves to look back on. The teens had been adopted into a family with five biological children, and one more born after their adoption, so newborn photos were commonplace in the Higgins' household.
“I’m a photographer and I was doing a newborn shoot and he (Latrell) was kind of sad that he didn’t have any newborn photos,” said Kelli Marles, Latrell and Chanya’s mother. “We did it in humor, and didn’t realize how people would take it until after when it blew up.”
In the weeks following Latrell’s newborn-style photo shoot, the photos and the touching adoption story were featured in the New York Times, InTouch Magazine, People Magazine, Huffington Post, Yahoo News and other media outlets.
“It was kind of everywhere for awhile,” Marles said. “I was really overwhelmed because people told me that seeing those photos made them change their minds about older child adoptions, so that was the most exciting part about this.”
Fast-forward to October of last year, when Marles got a call from a Redglass Pictures representative, who said her son’s adoption story was a perfect fit for their short-film project called “History of Memory.”
“They wanted to do a documentary commercial about how photographs can change people's lives,” Marles said. “It was all so beautiful, they did such an amazing job, it’s emotional.”
Marles and Higgins are now heading to New York for the film’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this weekend. This will be Higgins’ first time in The Big Apple, and he said he has mixed emotions about the event.
“To be going for something as big as what I’m going for, it’s really cool,” he said. “But, I’m also nervous because I’ve never done something like this before.”
When asked what he hopes people watching the film get out of it, Higgins said, the most important part is the message of love.
“There are a lot of older children who do need to be adopted, who can’t because of the stigma of older children, so I think it’s a good message,” he said. “I just hope people take the joy and happiness from it, and not only see the bad part.
"It’s not a bad thing, it is a happy thing, a joyous moment in life and not a scary situation like most people think it is.”