On weekends, when most college students are at the bar or sleeping in, Kristin is creating magic. Owner and creator of Polar Princesses, LLC, Kristin Newvine is a singularity.
A normal day for Kristin is crammed with work, learning and teaching. Her weekends, however, are filled with costumes, wigs and makeup.
The start of Polar Princesses, LLC
At the age of 17, Kristin badly hurt her leg and doctors told her she may not walk again. This injury shattered most of her dreams; namely joining the Navy and participating in track. Struggling with physical and mental health issues, Kristin found refuge in the new movie “Frozen,” relating to the quirky and strong-willed character of Anna.
As a pick-me-up surprise, Kristin’s father surprised her with an Anna costume – sparking the beginning of her party princess journey.
Instead of a wig, Kristin used her own hair with a streak dyed blonde. She attempted to visit a children’s hospital as a character but was denied. The rejection was disappointing, but Kristin kept pushing. She performed for a Cystic Fibrosis walk and was amazed at the children who truly believed she was a princess.
Kristin graduated from high school in 2016 and continued to do events.
However, the fall semester of her freshman year brought challenges. Struggling with illness, a bad living situation, unable to make friends, having a major she disliked and watching her grades slip, Kristin began spiraling.
That Christmas, she participated in a parade as Anna and it was the happiest she had been in quite a while.
Over winter break, Kristin fell ill once again. At first, she decided not to go back to school, but her mom convinced her to finish the year.
Kristin worked on her princess business, knowing this was the thing that brought her joy. She saw other princess businesses on Instagram and began figuring out how to make her business an LLC.
Thinking it would consist of only Anna and Elsa, she named her company Polar Princesses, LLC.
Polar Princesses, LLC now has over 11 characters and more than five performers.
Kristin needs an average of two hours to get ready for a show. She applies elaborate makeup that is thick enough to show up in pictures that kids will cherish forever. Vibrant volumes of hair help complete the princess persona as every piece must be flawless.
No princess would be driving or riding in a car, therefore the performers park about a half mile away or more, and walk to the venue.
“It’s having this overall desire to make magic… and having an overall desire to uphold the character at all costs,” Kristin said. “There is so much to it, it’s not just about throwing on a dress from Party City and calling yourself a princess.”
Boss and performer
Being the boss can take a lot of the fun out of performing. Kristin is her own worst critic and is constantly striving towards perfection. Working so hard behind-the-scenes can be tiring and putting energy into performing can be challenging. However, once she arrives and sees the children, their joy energizes her.
Kirstin gives performers feedback after an event and ensures they are doing their training. Her self-evaluations pose a challenge as she must be honest, but not too critical.
Requirements of being a party princess
A musical theatre background is a plus but not required for those that Kristin hires. The biggest characteristics she looks for are dedication and a love of children. Since this is not a typical day job, an employee cannot call in sick when they are booked to do an event as a character.
To those who simply want to dress up and look pretty, Kristin says to go into cosplay, a practice where people dress up as characters and normally attend conventions. Performing as a party princess is for the kids and the performer must be able to act and prove to children that they are who they say they are.
Volunteer work is a huge part of Kristin’s business. Her performers visit places such as Janet Weis, the Children’s Miracle Network, Camp Victory and Camp Ability.
Never has Kristin taken a paycheck for herself from performing, she puts it all right back into the business. There is a misconception that performers make a lot of money and party performers are too costly. However, when looking at the time spent on getting ready and the travel time, plus the cost of the ensembles, Kristin said this is not true. A good character ensemble, wig and dress, can cost around $1,000 and must be kept in tip-top shape; no tears, stains, runs or knots in the wig. The magic is in the details.
The Penn State Princess Project
While at Penn State, Kristin has a chance to combine two of the things she loves: learning and “princessing.”
Majoring in History and minoring in Sociology and Theatre at The Pennsylvania State University, Kristin is taking a look at party princesses from a sociological perspective. She will be tackling questions from the effects of performing on an individual’s identities, to why children believe the performer is really the character they saw on their TV.
Her research has been presented at four different conferences and won an award at University Park for information literacy.
Kristin’s dedication to the topic means she presents her information in costume, as a character.