You started your own business, Celebrate With a Princess, as a freshman. Tell us about it.
I offer kids a genuine experience with a real-life princess—Rapunzel, Mermaid Princess, Desert Princess, Storybook Beauty, even holiday elves. Private parties consist of dancing, storytelling, princess etiquette lessons, interactive games, and more.
Which princess do you identify with the most?
Rapunzel. Her excitement for new opportunities, her passion for her art, and her clumsy demeanor all resonate with my personality. I admire her for chasing her dreams even when she’s afraid of the unknown. She’s also persistent in her ideals and has a positive outlook on everything.
How do kids react when a princess like Rapunzel shows up at their party?
When I knock, I hear excited screams of joy, followed by “Rapunzel is here? Rapunzel is here!” I often get very big hugs and beaming smiles. Some children are more shy and just watch and stare. Eventually, I get them out of their shells and they don’t want to let Rapunzel go. At one party the children had to be reminded by the parents that there were still presents to open. The birthday girl insisted, “No! Rapunzel is here to play! I don’t want to open presents!”
What’s your favorite part about playing a princess?
I get to live a childhood dream and be a role model for young girls. It’s truly a magical experience when a little one tells me I’m the first princess she has ever met. And being a princess, in or out of costume, means being a businesswoman and an entertainer. I love that I can combine two of my passions in a creative outlet like this.
You’re also a Goolsby Leadership Academy scholar. How has this helped the success of your business?
Everything I’ve learned at UTA and in the Goolsby Leadership Academy has helped me in every aspect of my life. Through Goolsby, I’ve been able to improve my leadership skills, learn the value of leading as well as following, and develop confidence in my abilities. And being an active member of the business community, I’m already practicing the things I’ve learned.
What’s next for Celebrate With a Princess?
As I continue to work with my sister company, Sew What?! and its owner, [UTA student] Judith Larson, we hope to incorporate more fairy-tale characters into Celebrate With a Princess. I’m planning to open to the boy demographic as well with Celebrate With a Hero.
If you had to go against any fairytale villain, which one would it be and why?
I think the worst of our villains are those who tell us we can’t do something. And we all have our real-life villains. Whether that’s an inner voice or another person, learning to stand up for yourself is a great triumph in life.
The irony was unmistakable as Mike Dolabi dined at a posh restaurant near the top of a Dallas high-rise in