Infinite List of Movies: [10/?] The Princess Diaries (2001)
↳ “You try living for 15 years thinking that you’re one person, and then in five minutes, you find out you’re a princess. Just in case I wasn’t enough of a freak already, let’s add a tiara!”
So I’m going to tell you the story of why I’ve never seen The Princess Diaries.
The Princess Diaries came out in 2001. I was 13, right at that age where you’re like “I used to be cute, what happened” every time you look in the mirror. My hair had previously been straight but was now getting curlier and curlier and I had no idea what to do with it because I hadn’t discovered hair product yet. I had never worn makeup before and I didn’t really have any plan to start wearing it because it just seemed like a thing I would magically grow into as an adult (this still hasn’t happened, by the way).
I still vividly remember the first time I saw an ad for The Princess Diaries on TV, because the thing that struck me immediately was that the main character looked like me:
The unkempt curly brown hair, the unruly eyebrows, the glasses, the Hollywood version of no makeup, even the Catholic school uniform–this was basically me! And then, as the ad continued, we got to The Makeover:
I literally thought this was a joke at first. Like you know that part in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast is getting ready for his romantic night with Belle and they put all the ribbons in his fur and the big reveal is a joke because he looks ridiculous and so unlike himself and they immediately undo it? That’s what I thought this was. I don’t even think I realized it was the same person at first. But…the ad kept going, with this New and Improved version of Mia (straight hair, no glasses, plucked eyebrows, noticeable makeup), and I realized it was not a joke. The first Mia is the joke. I’m the joke.
I know a lot of people are very attached to this movie, and I don’t want to take that from you, but for me, since age 13, it’s always been “Julie Andrews Thinks You’re Ugly and Need a Makeover: The Movie.”
I started watching the Netflix reboot of One Day at a Time this morning because I’d heard really good things (and who doesn’t love Rita Moreno). I’ve only watched two episodes so far, but I just want to say that I needed Elena Alvarez and this message so much as a teen girl. Even now, I worry that my discomfort with makeup makes me immature somehow, like it’s something I need to overcome to be a successful adult, so hearing Elena say she’s more comfortable without it is so, so validating.
Of course it’s okay to wear makeup and enjoy wearing it, but it’s important to know that you can still be a princess or captain of your debate team or just…a person worth taking seriously without it.
EDIT: Also shout-out to Alicia Keys for sharing this same message despite getting judgment for it! Every time I see her going makeup-free, it makes my heart glad.