I first saw Princess Diaries in theaters when I was five years old. Of course, I loved it. What five-year-old girl wouldn't love the story of an average teenage girl who finds out she's a princess? Like many little girls, I dreamed of living out my own fairy tale complete with a magical, foot-popping kiss in the garden.
Recently, both Princess Diaries films were released on Netflix. I watched both films for nostalgic purposes, but I actually found myself enjoying the films even more than I did as a kid. Back then, it was all about the magical princess fairy tale, but now I found myself appreciating the more ordinary and relatable aspects of the movie.
Mia Thermopolis wasn't exactly the most popular girl in school, and she didn't want to be. She was invisible, and she liked it. Sure, she had a crush on the popular boy, but she wasn't in it for the popularity. She just thought he was cute. I don't blame her. She also wasn't one to obsess over her looks. This made her more relatable than most fictional teenaged girls. She taught young girls that looks are not the most important thing in the world, and neither is being the most popular kid in school.
Mia also taught us that it was okay to not be the best at everything. She was very open about her lack of athletic abilities, and we all saw her public speaking skills. She didn't pretend to be perfect, even when it came to performing her royal duties. Imperfection is admirable, and an important lesson for little girls to learn.
Perhaps the most important lesson to be learned from Mia is the one she learned from her father towards the end of the first movie: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that there is something more important than fear." She showed a great amount of courage and confidence by facing one of her biggest fears in order to perform her duty to Genovia. Even then, she admitted that facing her fear wasn't easy. She overcame her obstacles while still staying true to herself.
There are many other great things about this film (Julie Andrews is a true queen), but Mia's character proved that even the most glamorous role models are still human.