Princesses of Louisville
by Amber Robinson and Michael Pfaff
Walt Disney World isn’t the only place you can meet Merida or Cinderella or Jasmine. A collection of Louisville performers are bringing the Disney princesses to life in and around Louisville. The Princesses of Louisville are a group of cosplayers who have taken cosplay up a notch by not only dressing as princesses, but performing as them at parties, events, and charity gatherings.
“Most people don’t get to go to Disney, so we bring the experience to them without the Disney cost,” said Monica Boes, co-founder of the Princesses of Louisville.
Monica had the idea to start Princesses of Louisville while being Merida at the Kentucky Renaissance Festival. She was approached by a parent who wanted to know if she did parties and she thought, “Why not?” She started doing a few parties to test the water.
Turns out, there are a lot of Disney princesses and demand for them at parties. Monica began seeing what other princess parties in Louisville were doing. She also started reaching out to other cosplayers, who, up until that point, were operating as individuals. She found numerous cosplayers willing to get involved. Together, they became the Princesses of Louisville.
One of the cosplayers she invited was Elaine Scharroo, who agreed that being a princess is far more than just cosplaying.
“It’s not as simple as getting dressed,” Elaine said. “You have to put your makeup on, make sure your wig is on right, and definitely make sure your outfit is cleaned and sanitized because children are sticky. You also have to know your character and be prepared to answer any question the children throw at you because children ask a lot of questions, like ‘Where’s Olaf?’ Boom. You have to have a response.”
“You never know what children are going to ask, so you have to have to practice,” Monica said. “The moment you show up as Ariel, they’re going to ask, ‘How’d you get legs?’”
Even parents try to trip up the princesses, Monica said. The Princesses had to start doing research, diving into the lore of the Disney princesses, reading books, watching all the movies, and listening to all the soundtracks. The Princesses were suddenly performers.
Assembling all 13 Disney princesses, plus Prince Naveen, the Princesses of Louisville had their first big event at two Barnes and Nobles stores for a book reading and meet & greet with the kids. From there, they went to surprise a girl at her birthday party.
The event was great marketing for the group. Since then, they are constantly doing parties and make a point to go to the Kentucky Renaissance Festival each year. Beyond the typical events and parties, the Princesses of Louisville are very active with local charities. The Princesses make numerous visits to the Kosair Children’s Hospital to visit ailing children, who become cheered by the presence of some of their favorite Disney characters.
Despite the amount of preparation, costume building, and performance work, being a princess is rewarding, they said. For the Princesses, it’s not for the money; it’s for the kids.
“That first moment when the kids see you and their faces lights up and they get all excited because they can’t believe that their favorite Disney princesses are there for their birthday,” Monica said. “That’s what I live for, because that’s something that I never got as a little girl. My parents weren’t wealthy enough to afford a performer, let alone take me anywhere that had a performer like that.”
Monica said that she wanted every kid to have that experience. Both Monica and Elaine have found the Louisville is an incredible place to find people to help them bring that experience to the children around the city.
“Louisville is a pretty diverse city, so I think it’s good in that aspect for all of us to get a lot of different experiences out of it,” Elaine said. “Plus, the fact that we are a pretty diverse group ourselves and we’re a lot of fun, so it’s good to have us join such an eclectic city.”
In addition to parties and charity events, the Princesses of Louisville can also be found visiting local conventions. If you see them, make sure you say “Hello!” and perhaps, they will know where to find Olaf.
If you want to reach out to the Princesses of Louisville for a party, event, or charity work, you can find them on Facebook. Also, we spoke with Jenna Rae, aka Goldberry Cosplay, who is involved with the Princesses of Louisville in Episode 7 of the Nerd Louisville Podcast. She talked with us about cosplay, crafting costumes, the Princesses, and some other local cosplay groups, like Kentucky Heroes & Louisville Costumed Performers.
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