I search for the rainbow at the end of a storm.

I value children as the wise souls they are.

I see beauty in everything.

I believe in magic.

I long to be the voice I needed to hear as a child.

Jennifer Ayers began enchanting long before the Kingdom of Azuria was discovered. The moment she was born, her mother called her, “my little princess”.  Growing up an only child, she reveled in the worlds of her imagination. She loved reading, dress up, and make believe.

Though days were spent in the garden making spells, studying bugs, or at her beloved swing set, Jennifer was always in a dress. The bigger the better. She carefully tested each one out in the Belk’s dressing room for twirlability.

Always possessing a flair for entertaining, or maybe just the need for an audience, she enchanted her family floating around the house, always singing, fluttering about on her toes. Visits to her Grandparents’ house were full of dance performances led by her Grammie at the piano with her PaPa the captive (and very patient) audience. When there wasn’t an audience, she hosted her own radio show on WJEN, recorded on her Fischer-Price tape player, which included dramatic live Barbie performances and original musical sections. (Thank Goodness Youtube wasn’t a thing in 1990.)

A natural teacher, Jennifer was often found leading her own classroom of stuffed animals, that is, when the neighbor kids couldn’t come over to play. It wasn’t long until her desire to teach paired with her innate ability as an entrepreneur. During summer of 1997, as a seventh grader, she organized and directed her first theatre camp. Complete with corresponding crafts, costumes, and a backyard performance the final day. It was that fall she began teaching piano lessons and hosted the recitals in her parents’ home always ending with a reception.

Jennifer continued her artistic pursuits through high school and college as she enchanted audiences on stage. She’d often been told she should be on Broadway, and for so long, that was her dream. After receiving her degree in Theatre and twelve years of leading roles in the theatre world, she realized she wanted something more.

Years of portraying characters and playing someone else, prepared her to share what is most valuable to her through the Kingdom of Azuria. All the characters, places, and stories in the Kingdom represent a piece of Jennifer.

Jennifer longs to inspire young people in the way she needed to be inspired as a young person. She believes that through make believe children learn their greatest life lessons.  Archetype characters that surface in every story represent some part of ourselves we’ve experienced or will some day.  That is why fairy tales and parables have survived for centuries. The lessons in them are still valid because they are descriptions of our basic human nature.

She is married to her childhood-sweetheart-real-life-Prince and on Thanksgiving Day 2016, the couple (and their beloved schnoodle pup) welcomed their own Baby Princess to the world! During the week she teaches piano and voice lesson privately in her home studio. She is currently working on gaining the courage to write the young adult fantasy novel and heaps of children book stories that have been in her head for the last seven years.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH ALL OF THIS?

first princess genevieve photo by Kat Harper

In 2009,  I had recently returned from working on a Chekov show in Los Angeles and had been modeling and acting in every show musical I could, as I pursued a move to the Big Apple to chase my dream. It was then I was contacted by my friend, Henry, at Fauquier Community Theatre, with a request for a princess to pass out cupcakes at a little girl’s birthday party! He basically said, “We got this email from a mom in town and … I mean, obviously, we thought of you”.

Me: the girl eternally frustrated with always being cast as the ingenue; never landing the role of the comedienne or the feisty Beatrice.

Me: who’d hear, “You know who you remind me of…? That girl from the Disney movie where she comes out of the sewer in NYC in a massive ball gown? Enchanted! You’re Giselle from Enchanted!”.

Me: the girl who conned her college housemates into hosting an annual Holiday Ball with champagne toasts each December after exams (uhm, also around her birthday).

I was  elated!

And let’s be honest… I love dressing up! I plan months in advance for Halloween, my favorite holiday.

So, I jumped at this amazing opportunity, chatted with the mom to see what she was hoping for, sent her a photo from a 2008 shoot (see left),  and quickly unearthed my Homecoming Queen crown from college and high school prom dress.

Jodi was the cutest mom ever and I thought she was so creative to dream up this princess party idea! She’d even bought a dress for me to wear and we hid in her powder room while she zipped me up! I have to give so much credit to her for getting me started on this path with her simple comment, “You’re really good. You know, you could really make a business out of this!”.

So, I did.

The ideas for the Kingdom of Azuria came pouring out of me, sometimes in the middle of the night. I had to capture them all on paper before they escaped me. I was able to include my love for myths and fairy tales in the stories that would make up the Kingdom. And people liked them. I couldn’t believe that parents wanted me to share my imagination with their little ones. I felt so honored and continue to feel so. I am so blessed to get to do something I love and (hopefully) change the world around me in the process.