Nelson royals Oksana and Aroha are not your prototypical fairy princesses.
Though they’re dazzlingly beautiful, with exotic names and fabulous gowns, they don’t consider themselves set apart from the rest of the populace.
Instead, they make a point to give back to the community with events such as the upcoming Cinderella-themed party this Saturday afternoon at the Civic Theatre.
“I can’t wait to see all the little girls and boys faces’ when they get to meet us,” said Princess Aroha, who told the Star her favourite thing about the royal lifestyle is always having someone to do her hair and makeup for her.
“I’m a very happy, dainty princess,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean I just listen to everything the king says.”
Kootenay defiance is a trait the pair share, and Aroha’s royal sibling Oksana said she takes cues from her favourite Disney-style sovereign: Ariel, the little mermaid.
“She just defies everybody and does what she wants. She’s non-conventional.”
And though it’s important to assert her independence, she also takes her royal duties quite seriously.
“It is quite hard, being a princess. You wouldn’t believe. But we’re here to be an inspiration that the younger kids can look up to. I like to go out with the commoners and hang with them being a princess.”
She said it’s important not to be elitist.
“You don’t want to act like you’re higher than everyone else, even though you have that title.”
The Civic’s executive director Eleanor Stacey said she’s thrilled to host the monarchs, and hopes droves of princess enthusiasts will flood into the theatre after the Easter egg hunt down at Lakeside Park that morning.
The party will include a screening of the latest Disney revamp of Cinderella at 2:00 p.m. The event will also include crafts, photo opportunities, a candy necklace-making station and over 600 cupcakes.
Stacey said her 5-year-old daughter Christina is overjoyed at the prospect of sharing space with so many aspiring royals.
“She is overjoyed at the prospect of going to a gala party for children, with getting dressed up, donning a tiara, wearing a princess dress.”
But she’s careful about Christina’s cultural intake.
“As a parent I struggle with the idea of encouraging the big princess dress and that whole idea of the damsel in distress. But in recent films—I’m thinking of Rapunzel from Tangled—she’s the most naive person in the whole world then she decides to make a change because she wants more.”
Stacey said many of the more recent female fairy tale leads—such as Mulan, Elsa and Anna from Frozen, and even Belle from Beauty and the Beast, whose most prominent characteristic was an all-consuming love for literature—are fantastically independent heroines.
Christina recently watched the Japanese anime version of The Little Mermaid, which features the sea-nymph’s tragic death. Already her daughter is learning to parse the narrative, looking for clues on how to live her life.
“I think more than anything she’s enamoured with the idea of these fantastic, powerful women. This fantasy of these women who have extraordinary stories and live extraordinary lives.”
There will also an unapologetically girly aspect to the proceedings, and there’s nothing wrong with that according to Stacey.
“We want to make sure kids have a sense of reality, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dressing up and feeling lovely.”
Stacey said Princess Aroha and Oksana will be introduced by a royal page. The pair echoed Stacey’s sentiments about the joys of dressing up.
“Dressing up? Dressing up is a fun time all the time,” said Oksana.
Aroha encouraged admirers of all ages not to feel shy about asking for a photo op or some facetime with the royals. Their goal is to greet every attendee of the event personally.
Aroha said her anthropomorphic bird friend Beaky might make an appearance at the event as well.
“We want to welcome all the Nelson residents to get dolled up and come share a fabulous afternoon with us. They should consider us their dear friends,” she said.
For more information visit civictheatre.ca.