The transformation always begins at the top. A full face of makeup, complete with oversized false eyelashes to create that perfect doe-eyed look, and a beautiful wig to match the style of whatever princess I have the pleasure of embodying that day. Next comes the costume, which is usually a two-person job due to corsets and crinolines. The whole thing usually takes an hour, but it’s absolutely worth it. The life of part-time princess has its perks.
I’m currently a full-time journalism student at Algonquin College and told myself I wasn’t going to work while I was in school, but a friend of mine posted a Kijiji ad on my facebook page saying I would be perfect for the job. The ad read, “Fairytale Princess Parties is looking for a talented girl to join our amazing team of princess performers.” This seemed like a dream job for me, having grown up idolizing Disney princesses and dabbling in amateur theatre for half my life. I applied and had an interview that was more like an audition. I was asked to sing my favourite princess song, recite pre-memorized lines in my best princess voice and do scenarios in various princess personalities.
It seemed like so much work, but being a princess is no easy feat. On the job requirements include impeccable hair and makeup and staying in character at all times.
“It’s easy to be able to put on a costume and wig, but truly creating believable characters takes a higher skill level,” says Holly Rack, owner of Fairytale Princess Parties. Her focus on hiring only the best performers, singers and actors makes all the difference. “I look for people who are kind, loving, and pure of heart,” says Rack. “As that is a quality that is impossible to replicate, but truly shines through to the children.”
Rack, who started out as a performer with a few other local companies, created Fairytale Princess Parties because she noticed a lack of costume and performance quality coming from these companies. “I wanted to start a high-end princess party that would make children believe their favourite characters had come to life,” says Rack. “I wanted to offer parents the same level of quality that they would expect if visiting characters at a theme park.”
For my first party I was Anna from Frozen and was going to a half-hour party alongside Elsa. We met around the corner so we
wouldn’t spoil the illusion, as I had arrived in my Honda Element instead of by horseback. We walked into the room and the eyes of every kid were on us in an instant. I’ve never felt more special in all my life, as kid after kid came up to us and asked for autographs and photos. Even though I wasn’t being me, it was an amazing feeling to know that I was able to make the dream of meeting their favourite princess a reality. For me, this job is all about the effect we have, as princess performers, on the kids we visit.
“I love being a princess because it allows me to do something that I love,” says Julia Rodrigues, a student at the University of Ottawa and performer with Fairytale Princess Parties. “Not only do I get the experience with children, but it’s that amazing feeling that in some way you fulfilled someone’s dream that may have seemed impossible.”
The more parties I am invited to, the more I understand the importance of being a princess performer. I get the opportunity to bring happiness into a child’s life, even for a brief moment. “Nothing brings me more joy than seeing the children’s faces light up when you arrive at their party, receiving a warm hug from a little girl or being told you are their favourite person in the whole world,” says Rack.
Part of our job is to encourage guests to behave like princesses and set a positive example for others by being kind, loyal and
honest. Hopefully being a princess will help them to believe that anything is possible and that your dreams can come true. “It’s important for children today to realize that magic exists,” says Rodrigues. “This belief will help to foster creativity and an open mind in which to experience the world.”
A princess is someone worth idolizing because she promotes all the best qualities in life, especially with more mature, independent young women being featured as princesses. I’ve noticed many of my princess mannerisms flowing into my everyday student life. I speak slower, listen longer and smile bigger, and in all honesty, I couldn’t be happier.