Everything I Learned From “The Princess Diaries”

I was so happy when I heard that Meg Cabot was releasing a new adult version of “The Princess Diaries.” I cannot wait to catch up with Mia Thermopolis and her life. It’s been many years now, we’ve both grown up in a lot of ways, but I have no doubt that I will still relate to her voice more than any other. Okay, so Mia may be getting married now and the closest I’ll get to the aisle is watching “The Vow” on repeat, but 10 books, 10 years, and a lot of drama later, I’m just as excited to run to the bookstore to pick up the new copy. I get to get reacquainted with an old friend as an adult.

Cast your minds back to a very long time ago: I was rocking frizzed Mary Kate and Ashley-inspired hair, when I came across a girl called Mia who understood my troubles of not fitting in. She was awkward, she struggled in social situations and didn’t know how to act around boys. The prepubescent me had found a soul sister who I’d stick with for many years.  Mia was a princess, but unlike Kate Middleton she did not dress sensibly. She may have had a tiara other than the one you get in a Happy Meal, but the beauty in her character lay in the fact she struggled just like the rest of us in coming to terms with life moving on.

As someone who was about to step into her teens, I looked to Mia for guidance as well as reassurance that it was okay. It was okay to not like boys one minute and then talk about them for hours the next because, hello, cute guys, and it was perfectly acceptable to be crippled by social insecurity and yet still be a strong young woman.

I could see myself in Mia, as we shared so many similarities in our lives, you know, minus the whole princess bit. We were both lanky girls, brought up by single mothers, who were strong advocates for social justice. We both preferred to write rather than interact with other human beings. Oh, and we both hated Algebra.

It was through Mia that I learned the importance of taking a chance, because you never knew where it could lead. She ran for Class President against the most popular girl in school and, while she may have been goaded into it by her friend Lily so she could take over once Mia resigned, she spoke about issues she was passionate about which, it turned out, others cared for as well. Mia also single-handily brought democracy to Genovia despite the fact that it meant repercussions for her family. She had to follow her heart. Sometimes it took a while to understand this, even in her relationships, but she always did what was right in the end.

Honestly, everything I know about boys came from “The Princess Diaries.” According to Mia, there are three types of guys in the world. Firstly, there will be guys like JP and Josh Richter who will be all dreamy and sweet, and capture your heart by saying and doing all the right things, until you realize it’s all a façade. Secondly, there are guys who are sweet and they like you, but you just don’t like them in that way. And lastly, there are those boys you didn’t expect to love, who are always brutally honest with you and aren’t scared of their feelings, like Michael Moscovitz.

To be honest, the real love story for me in the series was with Mia and her friends, especially Tina Hakim-Baba and Lily Moscovitz. Mia and her friends went through stages of insecurity, jealousy, arguments, make-ups and break-ups together. It was through Mia that I came to realize that being a good friend meant listening to your friend’s problem over and over again. Friendship is about learning from each other and understanding the other person better. You can talk about anything without fear of judgement because you’re all a bit ‘weird’ and that’s fine since you accept and love each other regardless. Being a princess is fun, but being a friend is even more amazing.

Aroosa Raza is an ambitious university student who is powered by Beyonce songs and noodles. Her very witty tweets can be found here.

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