When Mary Read’s mother disguised her in boy’s clothes as a means of getting money for her dead son, she sparked a flame that lit the way for her daughter’s career. Like a real life Mulan, Mary used the disguise to join the military where she became known as a brave, albeit mad, soldier.
Later in life, Mary donned the male costume once more to launch her career as a privateer. Before long, she was a full-blown pirate - and a fearsome one at that. Always the first to fight off an attack, Mary had the entire crew convinced she was a man. In fact, when the ship was captured, it was only Mary and fellow crew-woman-in-disguise Anne Bonny, who defended the ship as the male crew hid in the hold.