She Took a Gap Year and Became a Princess

During the pandemic, Eva Gary's company, Princess Wish Parties, kept the magic alive for kids.
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Eva Gary. Courtesy photo

Eva Gary was a sophomore in the thick of musical theater rehearsals at Yorktown High School when she decided to become a princess.

Hearing about Ever Laughter, a small outfit that trained young actors to portray fictional characters for kids’ parties, she signed on and fell in love with delivering magic to children. The company disbanded in early 2020, just as Gary was immersed in college applications her senior year. She thought her princess days were over.

Then the pandemic arrived, and Gary agreed to do one last princess gig—helping a similar company stage a socially distanced mermaid party. Remembering how much she loved seeing kids’ faces light up (and not particularly keen on starting college during Covid), she decided to take a gap year.

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Princess actors Hannah Smith, Stella Bunch, Kathryn Wevley, Carrie Walker, Anna Freeman and Tori Miller. Courtesy photo

Soon, she had formed her own party business, Princess Wish Parties, offering a suite of services that are mindful of the times. Among them: video cameos (starting at $15), video calls (starting at $40) and socially distanced, in-person gatherings (starting at $90). The company offers bookings with more than a dozen characters, including princesses, pop stars and superheroes who engage kids in sing-alongs, arts and crafts, and games like charades.

Gary, 19, now spends hours crafting accessories, styling wigs and browsing the internet for the nicest (affordable) gowns. Characters wear masks—because “masks are very popular in our kingdom,” she says—and are accompanied by an assistant who drives, coordinates on-site logistics and takes photos.

For kids feeling the strain of isolation, the fantastic sightings have helped to keep the magic alive. Gary recounts one recent birthday party for a local elementary schooler: “The girls were screaming when [the princesses] walked up, and one of them said, ‘You know, I used to not know if the princesses were real, but now I know they’re real.’ ”

In the last year, Princess Wish Parties has had about 70 bookings in the D.C. area. Gary heads to college this fall, but it seems the company will still live happily ever after. She plans to manage the business from the Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University in Winchester.

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Categories: Parents & Kids