Being a princess is no fantasy for student with unique job
Della Johnson | Staff Writer
Most little kids dream of being a princess. Senior Katey Marshall gets paid to be one.
Senior Katey Marshall has worked for two years as a face character, or live actress, at A Characteristic Attitude, a company that provides princesses, superheroes, pirates, fairies and more to8usura events. Marshall often dresses up as princesses, her most common outfits being those of Rapunzel, from Disney’s Tangled, and Anna, from Frozen.
A Characteristic Attitude was founded by Kally Turner and typically hires teenagers to be actresses. Marshall initially found the company through the suggestion from a teacher, and then was able to land an interview and join.
Marshall’s job is similar to that of princesses at Disney Parks, who Marshall said initially sparked her interest in the profession.
“I went to the parks growing up,” Marshall said. “I think it was in sixth grade when I was just like, ‘I really wanna be them, that’s something I want to do.’ I didn’t really know what to do. I did a couple plays and acting, that wasn’t really my avenue though. The job is just so specific.”
Marshall said this isn’t simply a high school job. The big dream for her to become a face character at Disney parks. Marshall said she is working towards getting into the Disney College Program, an educational course that allows college students to spend a semester learning at the Disney parks-in order to propel her career.
“I want to work at Disney World when I get older,” Marshall said. “There are four casting directors (for the disney college program), and I actually talked with one of them over the phone and he agreed to do a practice audition with me when I go in March.”
A Characteristic Attitude specializes in events like birthday parties, or entertaining children in places such as hospitals. Marshall said they usually go through a routine of balloons, stories, and character building with the kids.
“If it’s a child’s birthday party, it’s set up so we’ll walk in and say hi to the kids,” Marshall said. “Sometimes, the kids will ask for balloons, and so we make balloon animals for them. Then, we’ll tell our ‘story’. We have a book and I’m typically Anna or Rapunzel, so I’ll tell the story of Frozen, with my (fictitious) sister. Then, we teach them four things about being a good character. Saying, ‘to be a princess you have to loyal, nice, you must be respectful.’ After, we go around and sign autographs and take pictures. A big thing is taking pictures. Everyone wants a picture with a princess.”
Marshall shows what a typical character she plays looks like.
Though the job seems magical, there are many requirements in order to be royal material. Marshall said not anybody can get this type of job.
“For my company, it is very much based on if you will resemble the character.” Marshall said. “Will you resemble whoever you’re playing that day? If you have a nose ring or tattoos, you can’t really have those things unless you take them out or cover them. At Disney, you can’t have them at all. Also, my boss is really big on character. If you aren’t going to show up because you know it’s a charity event and you think you don’t have to attend. They were planning on having you, so it’s kind of a big deal.”
Marshall said that the kids tend to check if she knows her character, so she has to be prepared.
“This job is a big responsibility,” Marshall said. You have to know the movie, know the lines. One time I was Rapunzel, and they were asking me why my hair was long again because at the end of the movie it’s short. I had to come up with an answer. I had to know a little bit of [the TV series] to play on. Because they do ask you. Especially the older ones, they’ll kind of quiz you on your character.”
Marshall said that being apart of the company provided her with many friendships, regardless of everyone’s future plans.
“I think that it’s just an amazing job,” Marshall said. “I’ve become really close to a lot of the girls in the company. Even if we’re trying to work at Disney or just going to college and doing our own thing-we’re all coming together with one interest of Disney and just loving it. It’s so much fun. I cannot express how much fun it is.”
Whether it’s making lifetime friends or teaching kids lasting values, working as a real-life character is more than just dress up for Marshall. Marshall said it’s about helping kids smile no matter what.
“My favorite thing about the job is meeting the kids and their smiles,” Marshall said. “I had an instant where there was this kid and they had a lot of medical issues, their family couldn’t afford to go to Disney. So, we just made their dream come true. Those kind of moments are my favorite, knowing that we can make a child smile.”
Photos by Ryan D’Souza.