From left, Sofia Kirkman, Teresa Roman and Mia Mattaliano hold a few of the princess costumes the cast uses for their performances.

From left, Sofia Kirkman, Teresa Roman and Mia Mattaliano hold a few of the princess costumes the cast uses for their performances.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Princess performers make memories for kids, themselves

By: Alyssa Ochss | Metro | Published May 25, 2023


METRO DETROIT— Kids are not the only people who find joy in seeing a princess at their party. The cast members who perform as these princesses love the kids and their bright, smiling faces.

Sofia Kirkman, owner and founder of Part of Your World Princess Co. LLC, said her passion and interest in starting a princess company came when she performed as Ariel in a production of “The Little Mermaid.”

“It was so fun and so exciting, and then watching the kids after the show come up to me and believe that they were meeting this character and how excited they were,” Kirkman said. “That kind of is what prompted me to start this company.”

Mia Mattaliano and Teresa Roman, two cast members, have also performed in theater productions. Roman has been a local princess for 17 years and performed in productions in high school and college, such as “Charlotte’s Web” and “Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse.”

“I came home for the summer, and I decided that my whole world was going to be princesses from now on,” Roman said. “I really, really do enjoy performing for children over adult audiences. They’re so lovely.”

Mattaliano and Kirkman have known each other since middle school, and when Mattaliano heard Kirkman was starting a princess company, she was all for it.

“I’ve been doing it for about two, three years now with her, and it’s truly a light in my life, especially because I’m not going into performing, so it’s a way to keep that in my life,” Mattaliano said.

Kirkman said their main goal is to bring joy to kids. She recalled the first time she went to Disney and met the princesses there. It was such a memorable experience, one she still thinks about to this day, and she’s happy to bring a little part of that magic to kids in Michigan.

“I think it’s so special that we get to do that in our hometown,” Kirkman said.

Kirkman’s mother makes some of the costumes for the princesses and does alterations when the costumes are bought. They support small businesses in the area, such as Etsy shops, Kirkman said, and her mother makes accessories, including tiaras and winter caplets.

Roman said weight isn’t a factor in Kirkman’s hiring process, unlike some other princess companies. Mattaliano said it’s important for the kids to see this.

“The princesses are role models for a lot of kids, so to see a princess that looks like them means more than the world,” Mattaliano said.

Part of Your World Princess Co. has more representation in their cast with transcendent casting, where traditionally white characters can be played by people of color, if requested. Their princess roster includes “The Madrigal Miracle” and “Bayou Beauty.”

The company is also looking to add the live action “little mermaid” to their repertoire of characters. Kirkman said it’s important to bring that representation to the kids who need to see it most, and Roman said it’s important for the area as well.

“It really does matter in this area because this is not a one-nationality-based area; it’s very inclusive here,” Roman said.

Roman said one of her reasons for joining the profession was the leftover magic from her childhood, but she also really loves the kids.

“When you are performing, that love and that, like, magic in the little kids’ eyes is really what does it for me,” Roman said.

She said she’s acted in New York, on TV, in movies and other places, but nothing really compares to making a child’s dreams come true.

Mattaliano said one of the reasons she became a princess was to bring the Disney experience to kids who might not get to go to one of the parks, including those who can’t travel because of disabilities or other reasons.

“To be able to bring this to them in their hometown is something that is really special as well,” Mattaliano said.

She said it means just as much to the performers as it does to the kids.

Kirkman said using her talents to make someone’s life brighter is one of the driving forces behind what she does. She said it’s one of the most special things someone could do as a performer.

“If you really care about what you do, I think there’s the potential to make lifelong memories, and that’s just irreplaceable, even as a performer,” Kirkman said.