A few months ago, I interviewed a Disney character performer referred to as Princess P. about her experiences auditioning to portray a Disney princess. Now that she has been working at Walt Disney World for nearly a year, I caught up with Princess P. to discuss how life has changed since becoming Disney royalty.
When asked about guest interactions, she immediately lit up remembering an older gentleman in a wheelchair who grew excited at just the sight of her. "I don't think I can explain the feeling that you get from an interaction like that," she said, "just that kind of magic is, like, you know what I mean? You can't really put a price on that."
Though for P, sometimes the best interactions are the ones you don't expect to go well. She recently met a little boy who hid behind his mother at first, but ended up sneaking behind Princess P's dress and not wanting to leave.
"That's the kind of magic you get to see. It's little kids who warm up to you and have fun with the interaction when they didn't think they were going to."
While meeting guests as a princess is her primary job, she occasionally gets to portray a "fur" character, or one that is dressed up in a full body suit. Remembering her most recent experiences, she gleefully said "My skin has never looked better. You're drinking so much water, you're sweating out all of your toxins. You get a solid work out every twenty minutes."
"You can gage your interaction differently because you have that ability to go back and forth with them and have a conversation," she said, "Where as with fur, you're just trying to tell them a story with your body, and it doesn't always translate."
"I think guests have a different relationship with the princesses and the meaning that it has to them," she said, which is why she appreciates the ability to speak to the guests coming to meet her: "Probably the best part of the job is making up stories and making guests laugh."
While Princess P is loving her current work, there is the occasional battle to overcome, particularly when her co workers have less than flattering ideas about her and other "face character" performers.
"There've been times where people have made assumptions about what kind of person you are, which I think is totally unfair, because there is a spectrum, a variety of people in every job," she said, "For some reason, the people that are negative in the face character department almost represent all of us."
But as any Disney princess would do, P tries to stay positive: "I feel like I'm always trying to prove those stereotypes wrong, and overcome those stigmas," she said, "from my experience, overwhelming the girls are so kind and so humble, and just so supportive of one another."
In addition to doing meet and greets, Princess P is about to start training for a stage show. "It's an incredible opportunity, I really hope I don't blow it."
Of all of the emotions throughout the interview, the most obvious one was overwhelming gratitude for her job.
"It is definitely a blessing. I just got really fortunate and unfairly lucky, like I don't understand it. I just have to pinch myself all the time," she said.
Towards the end, Princess P spoke about her recent, once in a lifetime experience meeting some of the creators of her film. Princess P remembered telling them " 'I've had this dream since I was a little girl because you gave me this strong female role model to look up to and that I could see myself in, because of all your hard work.' And I just started crying. It was really just coming full circle to how insane what I get to do is. And how grateful I am for this opportunity and how I just don't want to not soak in every last second that I can."