Give the Gift of Magic
Kid’s birthday parties aren’t all fun and games. Wait; let us rephrase that. Planning kid’s birthday parties isn’t all fun and games, and that’s because most parents put a lot of pressure on themselves to throw the perfect bash, resulting in unrealistic expectations, unnecessary stress, and, oftentimes, overspending. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The key to a stress-free celebration is to focus on the necessities, such as refreshments, gifts, and entertainment. Don’t worry, though. We’ve got the entertainment covered. Specializing in luxury character experiences, Magically Perfect in Ridgeland is sure to take your next event from ordinary to extraordinary. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to speak with Laura Antoon, owner of Magically Perfect, about everything from the many different crowns she wears to the extensive training each character undergoes.
Parents & Kids: What exactly does Magically Perfect offer?
Laura Antoon: Magically Perfect offers luxury character entertainment for special events, birthdays, and festivals. We have over 50 character options, which include favorites from film and TV as well as entertainment options, such as glow butterflies and mermaids, which are great for cocktail parties or fundraisers. Our characters train with a vocal coach for singing and projection and with me, for acting and improv technique. We’ve even built custom costumes for events to fit the needs of our client. If you can think of it, we can do it. Like our motto says, “running on faith, trust, and pixie dust.”
P&K: When did Magically Perfect open?
LA: I moved to Madison, Mississippi in 2016, and opened Magically Perfect in April of 2016. My first event was at the Flowood Kids Fest. I volunteered my time to get out in the community, and that has remained a cornerstone of our company. Our characters are urged to donate their time to fundraisers and meaningful community events as a way to give back and spread joy in our area. In 2020, we donated over 200 hours of performances to local charities, which included a month-long series of free daily live streams for families at home with young ones during COVID. We had over 20,000 people tune in from over 10 countries. It was amazing.
P&K: How did you get the idea for Magically Perfect?
LA: There are character companies all over the country. Online, I follow a few who I really admire for their professionalism and attention to detail. I strive to focus on film and “park” accuracy in our costumes, performing styles, and character details. I grew up in a “Disney family.” We always found a way to end up at Disney once a year. I knew as a child that I wanted to be a performer. I received my BA in Theatre from Loyola University in New Orleans and started working for Kellie’s Characters in New Orleans during my senior year. I worked as a princess impersonator for four years, becoming a manager and learning a lot about running a small business and the art of children’s birthday parties. When I married in 2016 and moved to Madison, I knew I didn’t want to hang up my glass slippers just yet, and so, I opened Magically Perfect, which is a play on Mary Poppin’s expression, “Practically perfect in every way.”
P&K: You’ve performed at numerous parties – does a particular event stand out?
LA: I’ve been a professional princess for 10 years. It’s wild to think of how many events, birthdays, and moments that I have been blessed to be a part of. My appearance was once given as a surprise by a parent overseas in Iraq, fighting for our country. (That one was a real tear-jerker.) I’ve been part of a few Make-A-Wish Wish Days. I’ve also shared some really funny moments with families, like a little 4-year-old boy who asked me to marry him or a little girl who planted a wet kiss on my cheek. Each event has its own little moments of sweetness and magic. My [favorite] sweet memory right now is from the most recent Race 4 the Lily Pad 5K. A young girl was bouncing up and down, clearly excited. She asked me who I was, and when I shared my character name with her, she began screaming and jumping up and down, “I knew it! I knew it was you!” Then she gave me the biggest hug – thrilled I was there to spend time with her.
P&K: Is there one thing you wish parents knew prior to booking your services?
LA: Well, I’m breaking the rules and giving you two things. The first would be the actual amount of time we put into each event. Typically, our birthday party services last one hour; however our time spent preparing for your party starts days before, getting costumes ready, wigs styled, scheduling actors, doing our makeup, getting into costume, traveling to events, performing, and then traveling back. We want to ensure each event is one that we would proudly put our name on – that clients are receiving a “Magically Perfect event,” not just a girl in a princess costume.
The second would be that, occasionally, little ones can get very overwhelmed. This looks like a lot of things, but most often it looks like fear or shyness, which can be upsetting for parents. Parents want a great experience for their child, and we as professionals, want to deliver that. A professional character will be able to recognize what is happening and use a few tactics to try to get kids to open up, such as getting on their level, asking them questions, or singing their favorite song – NOT forcing the child to interact. Forcing the child to open up before they’re ready will frequently lead to tears and an emotional outburst, which is unfortunate and difficult for everyone involved.
P&K: What’s your favorite thing about running Magically Perfect?
LA: Well, of course, the tiaras, gowns, and glitter are fun. I love getting to perform and sing for people, and no two events are ever the same. However, my favorite thing is watching the faces of people of all ages light up when they hear us sing, or get a hug from their favorite character. The moments of joy, happiness, and wonder that we get to inspire and bring to people around us…I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Daniella DiRienzo is a self-proclaimed southerner who graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2011 and has been working as a freelance writer ever since.