Kara Holbrook poses as Gleam and Glow's  “Beauty Princess.” 


Just as many other little girls and boys, I grew up watching Disney movies, dreaming that one day I could be just like my favorite characters. Although I enjoyed many Disney movies as a child and probably watched them enough times to make my mother want to pull her hair out, I had a love for princess movies. 

I would dance along to the songs of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and swing a cheap light-up sword around my room, jumping off my bed as I pretended to be my favorite princess

— Mulan.

As I grew up, my love for fairytale stories and movies never stopped. I continued to see every princess movie that came out and I continually fell in love with the strong female characters that I began to see on screen. All through my teenage years, I considered going to audition to be a Disney Princess at Walt Disney World, but I’m a home body, so moving hundreds of miles away wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. So, I resigned myself to watching my favorite characters on screen rather than living them. 

This year, in June, I was scrolling through Facebook when auditions for a group called Gleam and Glow Princess Services appeared on my feed. A company that offers party princesses for children’s parties and events. I can’t explain the feeling I got, all I knew was that I had to go audition. A few weeks later, I was anxiously awaiting my turn to audition, and after a monologue, 16 bars of singing and a rough dance routine, I was sent on my way unknowing if I had gotten a part.

Months later, I am a princess performer at Gleam and Glow and its everything that I hoped it would be, however it’s also been much more. When I did my first event for the company, I realized what being a princess really means.

My first event was at a dance camp for girls. I knew going into this event that the little girls would really believe that I was a princess, but I don’t think I quite realized just how much they would believe it. As soon as I walked in, I was nearly tackled by wide-eyed little girls who all wanted to give their favorite princess a hug. 

We had story time, sing along, princess lessons and a coronation ceremony, and at the end when it was time for me to go, I’m not sure if the little girls or I were more sad to be leaving.

After that event, I realized the magic that is being a princess performer. I realized that it wasn’t about pretending to be a princess, it was about being that princess for a child. It was about bringing the magic of princesses to life. 

This holiday season I am blessed to be attending charity and volunteer events as a princess. Not all families can afford a trip to a giant theme park or afford to hire a princess to come to their child’s birthday party. Recently Gleam and Glow was able to give back to a small community in Waco, Ky.

The Waco Family Resource Center hosted a free financial planning class for families, and we volunteered to do a surprise pop-in visit for the children. Needless to say, the kids were ecstatic when four princesses suddenly flounced into their play time. 

This December, I will be attending another event for The Hope Center in Lexington. The Hope Center is an organization that offers an array of services and aid to individuals who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless. 

There’s no greater feeling than stepping into a room and seeing a child’s face light up when they see a real-life princess. As we grow up, we often loose our sense of wonder that we had as children. As adults, we know logically that a party princess is not the real thing, we know it’s just a normal person in a costume. 

But to children, it’s their favorite princess who has traveled miles across land and sea specifically to come see them. Although we know that Disney princesses may not be real, I can assure you there is real magic in the smile of a child.

When I was a little girl, I looked up to princesses and hoped and dreamed that one day I could be just like them. Now I am here, and I’m able to bring the dreams of other little girls to life, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

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