A talented 16-year-old senior at Glacier Charter High School has started her own business appearing at children’s birthday parties and other events - but not as herself. Even though she entered the Children’s Museum of the Sierra last Saturday as “Ice Queen,” the first five-year-old girl to see her yelled out “Elsa,” the star of Disney’s cartoon smash hit “Frozen.”
For copyright reasons, Jessalyn Talley, 16, uses alternative names for Elsa, Snow White, Cinderella, and other characters she portrays - but most five year olds know who she is.
Talley has all the qualifications needed for such a job - an outgoing personality, a talent for art, a great voice, acting and story-telling skills, and last but not least - a love of children. She has a passion for singing and acting and has appeared on stage in the Golden Chain Theatre’s production “Tin Pan Alley,” and recently at Sierra Pines Church in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“Ever since I was a little girl, I have wanted to act ... I have a passion for it,” Talley said.
Not only does Talley have all the qualifications of a princess - she created an elective business class at Glacier Charter High School and began her business“Simpli Charmed” after months of serious character research, rehearsing songs, and hand-making and purchasing costumes.
Over the past year, she has appeared at more than 20 events including children’s birthday parties, celebrations, and corporate promotional events, including a Target store in Clovis, helping sell many “Frozen” themed toys the day she was there.
Her appearance at the museum was for the birthday party of Andrei Buca, 4, the son of Dr. Adrian and Irina Buca. The “Ice Queen,” with platinum wig and a sparkling blue floor-length, simulated diamond embroidered gown, was accompanied by her princess sister Anna, played by Peyton Riley, 12. Her gown was made by Peggy Potter.
“I’ve known Peyton for as long as I can remember and she is like a sister to me,” Talley said. “I’m so happy to finally welcome her to my business.”
“The children get so excited when they first see me in character, and they are often a little overwhelmed,” Talley added. “Their smiles are great. It’s real for them and they hug me and sometimes won’t let go.”
Richard and Wendie Pastoria brought their three children to Andrei’s party - Siena, 5, and four-year old twins, Dante and Sophia, who were pretty excited to actually meet the “Ice Queen.”
“Jessalyn is very friendly and attentive towards the children, and Siena, Sophia, and Dante just love her,” Wendie said. “The funny thing is, they have no idea that Jessalyn is playing each character. We have seen her play Rapunzel, and Merida, complete with an Irish accent throughout the day. Every time we have ever seen her she is always true to the character she plays. She is a very talented young lady.”
Playing the Disney characters Elsa and Anna has become popular across America since the movie became the biggest grossing animated movie of all time.
Talley started her business about a year ago and offers nine different princesses.
At school, Talley has been able to integrate her business into her school work by creating an elective business class, learning skills to run a successful small business, including creating a business plan, coming up with marketing ideas, and learning how to budget.
“I’ve learned how to maintain a small business, not just on paper as a normal high school class would, but in real life, and earn credits towards graduation,” Talley said.
Irina Buca is a math and art teacher at Glacier High who has helped Talley.
“She (Talley) knows exactly what she wants to do, sets high goals for herself, and always finds a way to achieve them,” Buca said.
Talley said the success of “Simpli Charmed” would not have been possible without the support of her mom and dad (Cindy and Gary Talley).
“Also, actress/director Heather Sconce is a very special woman who has been an inspiration to me to follow my dreams,” Talley said.
She has earned enough credits to graduate from Glacier a year early and plans on attending Oakhurst Community College in the fall, where she has already taken some classes. After a year at the Oakhurst college, Talley plans on attending National University in Fresno to obtain her nursing degree, and then attending graduate school to become a psychiatric nurse.
She plans to continue “Simpli Charmed,” and hopes the business will supplement her college education.
“Ultimately I would like to work at a military base in the psychiatric ward since I believe this would be a valuable way to serve my country,” Talley said. “I have a strong desire to help those who have served us and sacrificed so much. My desire to be a nurse was also inspired by my mom, who currently works as a home health nurse. She has so much compassion and love for everyone and one day I hope to make an impact on people’s lives like she has. I look to my future with hope because I know that God must have a brilliant plan for me. He has blessed me so much already with the greatest friends and family to support me on my endeavor.”
Party prices are $50 for a half hour, $90 for an hour, and $130 for an hour and-a-half.