Friday, November 4, 2016

A Life in Gowns: Meet Princess Lanie

Ever wonder who we are when we're not all glitzed up, entertaining your little ones with our mad face paint and balloon skills, or dazzling them with our big bag of magic tricks? We're a diverse group of folk, each coming from a different performance background, and with a little bit of a different story. 

Allow me to introduce: Princess Lanie!

Lanie is one of our most experienced and most requested entertainers. In her 9 years working with Fire Pixie, she's appeared at almost 1000 parties, and brought joy and laughter to countless kiddos. Now, she's spread those sparkly wings, and flown off to Los Angeles to open a brand new Fire Pixie branch, and we couldn't be more excited!

Lanie's always loved storytelling, dressing up, magic, and everything fairytale related. When she was quite little (about 3 - 4), like so many girls that age, she dreamed of becoming a Fairy Princess when she grew up. As she got older though, her dream evolved, and she decided that since Fairyhood might not exactly be an option, she'd be an actress and a writer, so she could share her love of storytelling with the masses. 

In pursuit of this dream, Lanie studied theater in school, and started working in the wonderful world of the arts, doing marketing and design for some small theater companies, art studios, and galleries. She traveled to Turkey when she was in college, where she discovered the beautiful art of Turkish shadow puppetry and was absolutely blown away! When the time came for her to do her undergrad thesis, Lanie wrote a grant and got to go back to Turkey, to study it more closely. It was there that she learned how to make puppets, learned all about the social and political history of puppetry, and learned that there were even a number of modern puppet troupes doing political shows right here in the US. 

When she returned from her trip, the summer after college, Lanie worked with Bread and Puppet theater in Vermont, which boats the largest puppet in the world. 

After moving to the Bay, Lanie discovered that this area is a hotbed for puppeteers (who knew??), and began working with a few groups here, doing puppet design, mostly for adult shows, but some for kids too. 

She also continued working in theater, and found herself in a Fairytales for Kids show being performed in schools and libraries with Fire Pixie's own Sarah. Upon learning of Lanie's love of storytelling and puppets, Sarah suggested that Lanie meet Erin. 

Lanie had no idea that such a job existed; one that could combine her love of laughter, storytelling, and magic so well, and her three-year-old self was absolutely over the moon! So she met with Erin, and it was clear from the get-go that this was exactly where Lanie needed to be.

Since then, Lanie's had the great pleasure of appearing at tons of parties, as a variety of different characters, but is especially fond of being a Fairy Princess or a Pirate. 

"They're both super fun and flexible characters" she says. "I get to make up my own stories and improv with kids, instead of having a set script to work with." 
Lanie is adored by kids of all ages, and really gets a kick out of the 3 - 6 age range: 
"Three to six year olds just love being silly!" she says. "Give me a group of three-year-olds and I can keep them laughing forever with one joke. They just love it! The threes and fours are in that silly wordplay area, which is really fun. The fives and sixes are really in to the stories, and know everything there is to know about their favorite characters, which means you can get in to really cool story nuances with them." 
 An excellent entertainer all-around, Lanie particularly loves doing activities like magic, puppets (of course), and birthday theater. 
"Magic is always fun because I can really be silly and joke around with the kids. The birthday theater is great because you get to help the kids come up with their very own story" she says. 
After so many years of performing at kids' parties, Lanie of course has tons of happy party memories, but one in particular stands out: 
"I was doing a Fairy Princess party" says Lanie, "and had a guest request something special for her face paint design: a waterfall on one cheek with 5 droplets of water splashing off it, because she was 5 years old." 
Always up for a challenge, Lanie set to work creating this special design, and apparently, she nailed it!
"When I finished and showed this little girl her face in the mirror, she absolutely lit up, and said 'I LOVE MYSELF!', which as a children's entertainer is what we call a BIG win!" 

 Lanie's party hosts and hostesses always have wonderful things to say about her performances, and it's no wonder she's one of our most popular entertainers. 

"Lanie was great with the kids. She had great energy and did awesome face painting and balloons. Kids had lots of fun!! She also made the birthday girl feel really special. Thank you Lanie for making my child's birthday more special." 

"My daughter absolutely LOVED it! She was so excited when she saw Elsa walking down the street. And Lanie made her feel so special and like a princess!" 

"Lanie had everyone mesmerized and entertained the moment she came through the door -- girls, boys and all the grown ups too! She had a beautiful voice and did the most awesome face paintings and glitter tattoos. Several of the adults ended up getting their faces painted and glittered up too."

So, why the move to LA? 

Lanie had been feeling as though she'd kind of plateaued a bit in the Bay, and was looking for a new challenge. She and her partner had been talking about making a move to LA for a while, and Lanie had been considering opening a business of some kind there. So she asked Erin if she might pick her brain a bit about small business in general. Erin was more than happy to help, and sat down with Lanie to brainstorm. It wasn't until Erin said "You know... you could always open a Fire Pixie branch in SoCal, too" that Lanie realized that she could take her love or performing, magic, and storytelling down to LA with her, and keep right on working in this awesome family of performers. She was overjoyed, and Fire Pixie SoCal was born!

When Lanie's not out performing or in the office booking parties for lucky Southern California kiddos, these days she's focused mostly on motherhood, having just welcomed her own bundle of joy to the world. Since she loves performing, and making silly voices, she's begun exploring the world of voiceover acting, too, and looks forward to getting in to that more soon.

If you'd like to invite Lanie or any of her wonderful LA-based entertainers to your next party to inspire your little ones to follow their dreams, you can fill out our online booking form, or contact the SoCal office directly at 714.831.1880. 

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