Meet Victoria: Hawkes Junior Training & Support Specialist—that is, until the clock strikes midnight (ok, more like five o’clock)! When Victoria isn’t helping educators navigate our online learning software, she’s transforming into all of your fairy tale favorites, from Cinderella and Snow White to the Little Mermaid and Alice in Wonderland.
And current events haven’t stopped these princesses from making appearances! Victoria has taken her company, Storybook Adventures, to platforms from Zoom to Facebook Live to provide virtual visits from all the childhood classics. We chatted with her to learn more about her mission to spread (socially distant) magic to kids around the world:
How did Storybook Adventures begin?
I did two Disney internships in college, and the first one was with Magic Kingdom’s Entertainment Department. It was an incredible experience—the interactions were, well, magical! When I moved back home, I wasn’t ready to stop making that magic; fortunately, the perfect opportunity was right around the corner.
At the time, my friend ran a small party company and dressed up as all these different fairy tale characters for kids’ birthdays—think Alice in Wonderland, the Little Mermaid, Snow White. I’d done a few parties for her and loved it; but over time, she had greater responsibilities to focus on and decided that it was time to hang up the dresses. She asked me if I’d like to take over the company, and of course I said, ‘Absolutely!” I renamed the business Storybook Adventures, and I’ve been managing it ever since.
What inspired you to begin offering your services via Zoom and related platforms?
Backstory: I briefly lived in Charleston, SC, and during that time I kind of took a break from Storybook Adventures; however, I missed it so much, and as soon as I moved to Alabama and had easy access to all of my materials, I started it back up.
And then the pandemic struck.
That threw us all for a loop, but through Hawkes, I had an awesome opportunity to make a difference by supporting instructors with free courseware and resources. It was touching to see how our help was allowing education to continue during this stressful time, and it got me thinking about ways I could extend this support beyond the workplace. I’ve always used Storybook Adventures as a vehicle for giving back, visiting children’s homes and preschools alongside the birthday parties. So, in the spirit of remaining true to the company’s core purpose, I began doing Facebook Live events on Storybook Adventures’ page—scavenger hunts around the house with the Little Mermaid, learning to draw a snowman with the Snow Queen, things like that. Then I decided to take it a step further and start booking Zoom calls featuring various princesses. It’s all been received really well!
What has been the most personally rewarding part of this experience?
There are so many rewarding aspects of this experience! Of course, it’s amazing getting to teach little girls to follow their dreams and live the best attributes of these characters. These are major role models for a lot of children, and it’s a great opportunity to teach kids how to apply positive values in their everyday lives.
One especially touching thing is the outpouring of gratitude that I’ve received from parents. Because of the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, a lot of them have had to cancel their kids’ birthday parties, which is such a heartbreaking decision to have to make. Since offering my company’s services online and through other socially distant measures, parents have reached out with all sorts of sweet messages, telling me that I’ve given their kids something to look forward to and brought some positive energy back into their homes. It’s always a treat hearing about the 6-year-old till raving about Cinderella’s visit weeks after the party!
A final thing to mention is that there’s a pretty big “princess community” of ladies out there, and for a lot them, this is their entire livelihood. Now more than ever, this service is an important source of income for themselves and their families. I’ve been very fortunate—thanks to my position at Hawkes, I’ve been able to offer Storybook Adventures’ services free of charge, and that is not something that I take for granted. I am so grateful for the opportunity to give back, and doubly grateful to be able to do so both through my job and in my spare time.
What has been the most memorable event that you’ve hosted since taking the princesses virtual?
A few weeks ago, I, or rather the Little Mermaid, was part of a drive-by birthday party for a little girl. There were bubbles and smiles all around! It was tons of fun!
Where is the farthest your calls have taken you?
I’ve done calls all over the US and Canada, but the farthest I’ve “traveled” is probably Portugal!