Once Upon a Time,
...The same year I finished my BA in Child Development (with double-honors) (double-yay!) from UC Santa Cruz I bought a gaudy glittery purple children's binder from the drug store. It was on clearance for $5. I heard a voice that said, "I'm going to start that princess company. And I'm going to put the orders in this."
I had no idea what I meant. I had not been consciously "thinking" about opening a "princess company." I went home and made a little website called "Magic Princess." It cost $12.
One girl, one closet of costumes, trying something silly.
The company grew. In the first 9 years, I trained over 150 cast members. Here is the very first person I ever hired. Photo shoot on the porch. Still love you Erin!
Together my amazing cast performed at 14,000 children's parties in SF and LA. The executive director of Children's Fairyland took a liking to us and wrote this article. (Click to read) We developed a whole "Magic Princess" culture. Our bookkeeper was called "The Countess" (she counts, get it?), our scheduler was the "Castle Coordinator." The purple binder was called "The Royal Scrolls" and housed our first 5,000 parties' details until it was replaced by a database. We threw a retirement party for the proud little purple book:
Please pardon how worn she is:
Five dollar binder. Held five-thousand kid shows.
The Magic Princess Royal Scrolls.
The little binder that could.
Splenderous nonsense continued. We had a sleepover staff party once where all 14 of us were Snow White all night long. We had another staff party that was a sleepover inside a carnival rides' storage warehouse where we rode creepy-awesome rides all night and took over the security office's security tv screens to watch "The Little Mermaid" and all sing along and cry. We had another staff party in a tiny teahouse (that didn't know what hit it) where 20 of us were different versions of Alice in Wonderland at the same time. Alice in black and white. Alice fifty years later. The invitations were rude. The front said, "Alice! You're ALREADY LATE!"
Here is a fun photo from the old days when I took our photos with real film in a camera that I would put on self-timer and then run frantically and get in front of and attempt to act casual. Yes. That's how I got this so-chill photo. Back then customers would call me on this huge landline telephone:
On the sidelines I was always an industrious artist bumble-bee. I'm a painter and was honored to paint the full-room mural in "Alice's Reading Library" at Children's Fairyland. Go see it. I painted the bookcases like "trees" where the books are "growing."
I am also a professional songwriter. From 2013-2017 I won 23 "Best Song" awards in competitions throughout California cities with the West Coast Songwriters circuit. I attracted professional management and film placement consideration. In 2016 my song "Seatbelt," about a child's poignant take on seatbelts and the family members who strap them on to us was nominated for "Lyric of the Year 2016" for the entire west coast! I was a "Grand Finalist" in 2017 for the third time, one of the top ten songwriters for the whole year. Thrilling. Last week I headlined at the incredible Freight and Salvage. Here are photos from that part of my life:
A few years ago, I made the biggest decision of my life. Keeping quality up in a large company is REALLY hard, maybe impossible. Also, you'd think with Magic Princess being that big that I would be making a ton of money. Alas, performer companies are VERY expensive to run...Massive overhead. Huge special taxes. Super expensive workers' comp insurances. And I needed more time for my songwriting which is heading toward pro. I felt like the parties could be better if I could sing the princess movie songs at every party, as parents ALWAYS asked for but not all staff were singers, still, perpetually parents would ask.
I took a huge breath, lost a good amount of sleep, gave my lovely staff notice, and downsized back to the way it was in the very beginning: One girl, doing one party at a time. Viola! Life got wonderful again. And hopefully your parties got even better.
I have personally been to around 3,500 parties and counting as of 2017.
I have been Elsa sitting with a child in a hospital the day before she received an organ transplant. I have been Ariel the mermaid secretly snuck into a boat for the grandpa to act like he found me on the open ocean as we pulled up to his granddaughter's party on the dock. I have been Snow White for an elderly man's 90th birthday.
Between princess shows inside of Children's Fairyland I was invited (!) to sit backstage in the oldest puppet theater in the U.S. and watch master marionette puppeteers in action. I have taken an order from a grandmother in France to surprise her granddaughter on her first day of kindergarten...as a frog! Family joke I still don't get. I got to meet the editor of Harry Potter, twice! At one point (honestly, when the whole thing was getting TOO BIG to do well), my little Oakland apartment happened to be next door to a giant historic mansion so Magic Princess got a tiny office in this historic mansion "Castle." This is the pink room where we did training:
My incredulous adventure went on...A notorious huge Bay Area mothers' group asked me to write a summary of party tips I've learned at 3,000 events, in one article. When I was lucky enough to travel to some profoundly poor countries, even though we didn't share a language, I performed magic tricks for some kids who felt like they needed it. Three times reality TV producers have wanted to follow me around with cameras to make a reality show about my zany princess-by-day, wanna-be-rockstar-by-night life. Alas, I worry about them making my awesome, sweet customers look like mom-zillas, as reality TV loves to do...so not worth it, still fun to know.
I was just Tinkerbell in a huge casino (huh?). I was just Elsa standing on actual snow they'd trucked onto a bank's sidewalk in San Francisco somehow. I have been a fairy riding in a helicopter to land at the airplane museum for Easter. I have birthed 50,000 balloon dogs. I can actually twist a balloon dog in 15 seconds behind my back to entertain adults. I have painted 10,000 small faces.
I have had strange whimsical conversations with about 70,000 specific, individual, unique children who educated me into imagination.
Here is a photo from this current era of my life, actually, from yesterday. Um, in my kitchen...I mean, castle:
And here's a photo from this weekend where we were hired by American Express (huh?) to promote a mall event...With my main sidekick, "The Jen," who was there through the whole giant-company-turns-small-again adventure...Because, well, we've been through a lot and I love her:
I am forever humbled. I am forever honored that parents like you have given me this life.
I remember my very first party. I was terrified the children would not believe I was the real Cinderella. The mom hid me in a spare room, behind two bay doors so we could surprise the kids. I panicked because couldn't get my back zipped all the way up. I was so scared the doors would open and the kids would see I was fake. I didn't know the mom was in the room, she came up behind me and without words, zipped my zipper, then opened the doors. Aha. You and I are in this together.
I am an accomplice to the parents of the world. Together, we keep magic real. As long as possible.
Thank you. From everything I am. For making me everything I am.
Fourteen-thousand parents made me a Magic Princess.
Yours in Magic,
P.S.: Text me anytime: 1-510-495-5564, it keeps me employed and stops my dad from insisting I get a real job.
P.P.S.: Little dreams are a big deal.