"They encourage imagination and wonder," Sugrue said. "I think there is a princess out there for everyone and they teach to dream big."
Jordan Gibbins is a business owner who believes princesses can contribute to the common good.
The Spruce Grove native runs Glass Slipper Entertainment, a company that sees her oversee various “princesses” from popular fairy tales like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella visiting children. They also attend weddings and other events as they are requested by paying customers. It has been running for more than a year and works to give back to the surrounding area through a variety of campaigns and other fundraisers.
The latest event held by the group took place Saturday in Stony Plain. At the Heritage Park Pavilion, visitors interacted with Belle and others and raised money for the Alberta Parenting for the Future Association. The Stony Plain nonprofit’s executive director Pamela Geddes said princesses make a difference and give struggling people inner strength.
“Everyone needs magic in their lives,” she said. “We all have a face we put on. No one knows what is inside. If being a princess is your goal or your face, and that makes you feel able to put on your sparkly dress and meet the day, that could be another tool in your personal toolbox.”
Older princesses from classic stories and films released by Disney have been criticized for their lack of agency and reliance on men, but attendees of the gala argued people are sophisticated enough in 2019 to look past those issues. Chelsea Sugrue of Spruce Grove brought her daughter out that evening and said she loved the royal image so many are raised on. To her, they get to set off sparks in her mind.
“They encourage imagination and wonder,” Sugrue said. “I think there is a princess out there for everyone and they teach to dream big.”
Doing so is something Gibbins has done throughout her life. Alongside Glass Slipper, she has raised money for civilians in Afghanistan and tsunami victims in Indonesia in 2009. This inspired her younger sister to do similar work. For Gibbins now, it is all about the local population.
“I had grand ideas about making a massive difference … but I realized I could start here in my own community,” she said in June. “What I do is massive in its own way when you effect lives individually close to home.”
Like Disney princesses, she will continue being a force for positive feeling in the area. Gibbins sees her princesses as role models.
“I do hope to go on with a charitable ball every year and show princesses have a very unique roll in peoples lives,” Gibbins said. “They are symbols of kindness, generosity, humility and remind you it is OK to be who you are. You do not have to be anyone else to be accepted.”