Frederica Palmer | Contributing Writer | Saturday, 14 February 2015

Things You Only Know If You Impersonate Elsa From Frozen For A Living

The Debrief: Don't pretend this isn't your dream job, too. We spoke to a girl who pretends to be Elsa for a living.

A recent survey revealed that one in five British girls say their dream job is to be Elsa from Frozen. Not the most realistic goal we admit, but we aren’t ones to discourage anyone from accomplishing their life ambitions. 

Instead, we spoke to twenty-two-year-old Annabelle Slator who works in her parents' chain of children's play areas across Lincolnshire as everyone's favourite snow queen. From wearing Bridget Jones styled spanx to worrying about whether your cheek muscles are going to expand from over smiling, she talks us through the reality of becoming such an iconic Disney heroine. 

Annabelle Slater, 22

How did you first get into impersonating Elsa?

I just happened to be wearing blue when we were looking into some professional party princesses and my mum looked at me and said ‘Annabelle could be Elsa, she’s free!’ So basically I was emotionally blackmailed by my mother into doing it... 

With rumours of a Frozen 2 in the pipeline, do you think this could become a long-term career?

I think sporadically it could be a long-term thing. My parents' business is in Lincolnshire but I’m hoping to move to London so I’m kind of half between should I stay and become a full-time Princess or should I go out and explore a career? My boyfriend is actually going for an open casting call in London to become a Prince at Disneyland Paris so I was very much considering that because it would be hilarious to tell people that we’re a Disney Prince and Princess! We tried to get him to dress up as Kristoff at an event once but he wasn’t that keen because he doesn’t really know the film so I was like ok you go off and be Peter Pan then! But yeah who knows what will happen if a second film comes out? It would be a shame to hang up my gown after only one season so I’d love to do it again. 

Do you enjoy it?

There’s nothing not to like about walking into a room and having 100 children gasping because you look so great. I recently went to a primary school visit for a Q&A with a Year 2 class and one boy asked me how I grew up to be so beautiful, so I told him to give me his number when he turns 18. 

Were you a big Frozen fan before your Elsa transformation?

Yeah I’d seen it in the cinema and thought it was really good. I’ve definitely gained a new appreciation for it having to research the character! I’d go on BuzzFeed and do all of the ‘how well do you really know Frozen’ quizzes in case I got asked any really difficult questions, which I have been. 

What type of questions have you been asked?

The main ones are normally 'do you really have magical powers?' and 'can you show us them?' so I eventually had to come up with this story about how I’m only allowed to use my powers in Arendelle. I think the worst question I’ve ever been asked is 'were you sad when your parents died?' because I had to find a way of answering that without bringing down the whole room. 

Annabelle as Elsa

That sounds pretty intense?

Yeah it can be. During another primary school visit there were two sisters who started having a fight in front of me! One of them was trying to get the younger sister to go back to their mum but she was like 'I want to stay with Elsa' and threw herself on the floor crying. Then the other one started trying to pick her up and drag her back. These kids were only like 3 and 5 years old as well, it’s not all smiles!

Can it be quite hard to deal with at times?

Yeah and I have to smile the whole time! I noticed that I have a bitchy resting face and during my first few events when I was talking to children it looked like I was really mad at them so I’ve had to adopt to smiling all the time. My face has never hurt so much! I genuinely had to google ‘do the muscles in your face get bigger if you smile too much’ because when you exercise a muscle it does get bigger and I started worrying that my cheeks were going to get really big! 

What else does the transformation process involve when you become Elsa? 

It’s quite a big process and it takes about two hours to get ready! I use two cans of this neon white hairspray each time and that takes at least two washes to get out, so it is quite a commitment. It’s worth it when you see how happy it makes all these kids in their little Elsa dresses though. But yeah there was one week when I did six events and getting up at 7am every day to cover your face in white powder, make-up and fake eyelashes isn’t the most pleasant thing to do. I definitely would not want to be a Drag Queen performer after this. 

Where did you get your dress? Is it comfortable?

It was custom made by a local fancy dress maker, which was great because we got to pick the fabrics. The materials were a little bit scratchy so I wear these big Bridget Jones spanks over my underwear and up to my bra so my torso is completely covered! My legs are fine as well because the bottom is floaty and we didn’t have the big slit up it, which I’m really glad about because there would have been a big chance of exposure! 

What does being Elsa involve when you attend events? Do you have to sing Let It Go all the time? 

I don’t come from a drama school background so I can’t sing particularly well, not as well as Idina Mendez anyway, and I think if you’re not going to do the real thing then don’t try too hard. We normally do sing-a-longs and I have a big ‘Let It Go’ entrance where I’ll walk in and wave to everyone. 

What’s the weirdest event you’ve ever been asked to attend?

I had to do a cinema opening quite recently and one of the staff members had obviously been told that morning that she was going to have to wear an Anna dress and wasn’t at all prepared. We then got told that we were going to be doing a Frozen sing-a-long and when we got into the screening we also found out we had to give an impromptu speech in front of a cinema full of kids dressed as Elsa and then get them down to do a fancy dress competition. I think the only reason I could do it was because I didn’t know I was going to have to. 

How have your friends reacted?

They all find it hilarious! One of my best friends came along once and we got her a Maid Marion dress so I would still be able to talk to her as Elsa. When we got back into the office she was saying that I’d never been so nice to her in all my life. I think she actually preferred my personality as Elsa!

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