Many of us had a childhood dream to be a princess for a day. And that fantasy became a reality for me when I had the opportunity to dress up in a beautiful gown and act the part. My party entertainer friend Louisa needed the Anna to her Elsa one sunny Sunday afternoon, and I jumped into the role. But being a princess isn't all tiaras and ballgowns IRL. Here are nine things I learned from my magical experience.
1. Your cheeks will hurt from smiling
There are certain expectations we all have of princesses. One of them is happiness. Sure, certain princesses have sad moments in their stories. But if you're a party entertainer princess, then you need to be smiling. All. The. Time. To the point where your cheeks hurt.
2. Little kids expect you to solve all their problems
Because children are so familiar with princesses from watching films, they instantly have a bond with you. And they think you're all-powerful. Put these together, and you'll find you have a bevy of kids asking you to sort out all sorts of issues. They didn't get the sweet they wanted in pass the parcel. They didn't win Granny's Footsteps. All of a sudden, their parents are obsolete. You are the new all-knowing, all-important power in the room. And they want to use that to their advantage.
3. Your dress will get stepped on. And picked at.
Wearing a ground-skimming gown is an occupational hazard. Add a room full of small children to the mix, and there will be inevitable accidents when your dress gets stuck under someone's feet. You'll have never been so aware of needing to pick up your bouffant skirt with every step. And if you have any sparkles or patterns on your gown, you can bet they'll be picked at by little fingers.
4. Hair removal has never been so important
Children pay really close attention to detail. They notice every little thing, even if you try to hide it under your gown. If you forgot to shave your legs, you can guarantee someone will notice and point it out. Little ones spend quite a bit of time sitting on the floor at a party, so they're the perfect height to spot every rogue leg hair. And they do not expect a princess to have hairy legs.
5. Your nails need to be on point
If you thought your high-school prom was stressful for people noticing every detail of your appearance, you have no idea how much more severe the scrutiny is when you're dressed as a princess at a children's party. In addition to the leg-hair situation, you also need to make sure you're on point with your beauty regime. Once kids reach a certain age, they expect a certain level of grooming from a princess. That includes painted nails, sparkly lashes, and perfect hair.
6. Wigs are hot and uncomfortable
Speaking of hair, any party entertainer who can avoid wearing a wig is onto a good thing. Fortunately my hair was similar enough to my character to just style in plaits (although no amount of gel kept all the wispy bits in place for the whole day), but Louisa needed a full-on wig to transform her dark hair into the platinum locks worthy of an ice queen. Wigs are difficult enough at the best of times, but on hot days they're less than ideal. You also have to watch out for inquisitive hands trying to yank them off your head. Every princess has a duty to keep the magic alive no matter what, right?
7. You don't need to put on a princess voice
I certainly had no plans to attempt an American accent, but I did find that I instinctively changed the way I speak to be more "princessy." Essentially, by that I mean my voice went higher, bouncier, and a whole lot weirder. And the kids picked up on it straight away, giving me some questioning sidelong glances. So I quickly dropped the act and talked in my normal voice, and they didn't bat an eyelid. It seems princesses don't have to be posh, or American, or ultrafeminine, after all.
8. You'll get strange looks in the street
When you don't live in Disneyland, you don't typically see grown women wandering around in princess dresses. So we got plenty of double takes as we made our way to the party. It's particularly anachronistic to see a princess making a payment at a parking meter. But these are 21st-century princess problems in the real world. And as long as you carry it off with style, you can pretty much do anything while in costume, regardless of the shocked glances.
9. You'll be sad to take the dress off . . .
. . . But you'll be relieved to ease your aching feet out of your perfect princess heels.
Get more of an inside scoop by checking out Disney Princess facts you never knew.