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Kierra Brown: An Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Author and Princess

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Not many people get to say that they are the former Miss Florida Gator, the current Miss North Central Florida, an author and an entrepreneur. Kierra Brown established an organization called Project Princess Inc., which is dedicated to provide magical experiences to children who suffer life threatening illnesses. This includes bringing princesses to children at the UF Shands hospital, the Ronald McDonald House and private house visits.

Her Campus (HC): What is Project Princess Inc.?

Kierra Brown (KB): Project Princess Inc. is a theatrical community service organization that provides uplifting experiences to both children and family members in need. Our mission is to bring a sense of comfort, magic, and kindness to each child we meet. Whether it be a hospital visit, cancer remission celebration, home visits, cooking breakfast for Ronald McDonald House residents, or our annual Christmas with a Princess Party, we are committed to making a positive impact in the Gainesville community and beyond.

HC: How did you get started with Project Princess? What was your inspiration?

KB: My inspiration for Project Princess stemmed from my desire to give a little magic to those who need it the most. One day, I was invited by Shands Children’s Hospital to come visit a little girl with leukemia. Princess Tiana happened to be her absolute favorite princess, so I dressed up in the green ballgown, donned the silk gloves and shiny tiara, and headed to the hospital to make that little girl’s dream come true. I remember her parents being in tears as the little girl asked me questions as if she was at a Meet and Greet with one of the Disney World princesses. For just a few hours their child wasn’t seen as ill or defined by her hair or weight loss, but they were able to witness and watch her become a kid again.  Her joy was evident, and from that moment on I knew I wanted to make a difference in the lives of these children who are relentlessly battling these terminal illnesses. I was able to help both the little girl and both her parents escape such a difficult reality.

HC: If you haven’t already touched on it, can you explain Capes and Tiaras?

KB: Capes and Tiaras is my party entertainment company that I started when I was nineteen years old. We offer over 40 characters for hire, including princesses, superheroes, and mascots. I recently added bounce house rentals to our services this month. Our events range from birthday parties to community service events, and I am honored to be listed as Gainesville’s #1 company for party entertainment.  My initial inspiration for Project Princess was actually introduced to me during a Capes and Tiaras hospital visit.  When girls audition for Project Princess Inc., they also have the option to be considered for employment with Capes and Tiaras.

HC: What has your most rewarding experience been from Project Princess?

KB: It is really hard to pick just one. I have been running Project Princess for four years now, and I strive for excellence in every single event the members and I put on. That being said, some of my most rewarding experiences come from mentoring the girls involved within the organization. Being able to give them these unique and unforgettable volunteer experiences has been such a blessing. I hope that each girl is able to find her life-long friends and future bridesmaids within Project Princess. We encourage each other to be the best we can be in all aspects of our lives.

HC: What have some of the big accomplishments been with Project Princess?

KB: Although we have worked with numerous organizations, one of my biggest accomplishments within Project Princess has been leading the international mission trip to Puerto Rico. The girls and I worked with so much effort to fundraise for our trip. In Puerto Rico, we fellowshipped with children with developmental disorders, chronically ill patients in the children’s hospitals, and even children’s shelters and orphanages. These children would have otherwise not been able to go to Disney World, and reaching out to the underfunded hospitals really was a goal of mine that I’m very proud to have seen met.

HC: What would your long time goal be with Project Princess?

KB: My long time goals include developing a non-profit organization, and possibly starting various chapters across the nation. We want our mission to be extended to not only those within the United States, but also children and family members across the world.

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Jeana is a sophomore studying Public Relations and Business at the University of Florida. She loves Disney, kids, coffee, fashion, and The Office. When she's not writing articles or being with her Her Campus staff, she's either at Disney, spending time with her Phi Mu sisters, or fantasizing taking her dream trip to Finland.