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Meet Fae Gershenson of Happily Ever Laughter in Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fae Gershenson.

Fae, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
What is it like to run a company of real life Faerie Princesses? It’s pretty much exactly how it sounds. Each day that I walk into our ‘Faerie Office’ (our headquarters), I am still in awe. When I run payroll for 50 people who now have the word ‘Faerie’ on their resumes, I pinch myself. This morning, when the mailman dropped off pounds of glitter and 25 whale puppets, it was better than Christmas.

I often think about the road that led here. How do you grow up to be a Faerie Princess? It’s not enough to just love fantasy. The key is to have the ability to build your own fantasy *within* reality. In fact, we have a term for it here. ‘Faerie-ing’ or ‘to Faerie’. Learning how to ‘faerie’ means learning how to take a high-spirited approach to tricky situations to encourage a positive, realistic outcome.

My first big attempt at using this skill began when I found out about college. I was walking the through my high school halls and discovered a travel agency-like room that I had never seen before. I walked in to admire the walls stacked with magazines and books and asked the person behind the desk what it was all about. The woman barely looked up and said, “These are brochures for colleges.” It hit me that I had no idea where colleges were, how apply to get in, or how to find help with the process.

To get to college, I focused on making sure that every interaction with my counselors, financial aid advisors, professors, and fellow students had elements of my playful and positive attitude. My faerie style helped me gain access and navigate the world of college (which ended up feeling pretty similar to a travel agency after studying abroad in France), and eventually led me to a part time job working for as a Disney impersonators for children’s birthdays. I was hooked. I dropped out and became a full time Princess.

Despite the lackluster supplies, I was given (cheap costumes from Halloween stores and flimsy plastic magic tricks), I loved the work. Well, until I was fired for pink hair and preferring to book myself as a fairy character instead of Cinderella. Foreshadowing? *laugh*

One day, while waiting at a stoplight, the names ‘Happily Ever Laughter’ and ‘Fae Diddle Diddle’ flashed through my mind. When the light turned green, I drove straight to the county office and applied for a fictitious business name. On that day in 2006, Happily Ever Laughter was born.

I wanted Happily Ever Laughter to teach the art of ‘faerie-ing’. As a Disney impersonator, there wasn’t room for exchanges more than ‘I have your movie’ or ‘I see your wig’, so I first needed to show children that they didn’t need to be Elsa to feel magical, or to live in a castle to be happy. I went to work crafting a suite of unique characters like Faeries, Mermaids, and my own Superheroes. I began to hear playful exchanges like,

Child: “Where do you live, Faerie?”

Me: “In Santa Cruz, in the mountains. Where do you live?”

Child: “I live in an apartment.”

Me: “An apartment sounds magical! I hope I’m lucky enough to live in an apartment someday.”

Child: “Yeah! I love my house!”

Our conversations were upbeat, full of fantasy, yet based completely in reality in order to allow the magic to leak into the rest of their lives.

Since 2006, Happily Ever Laughter has grown to not only inspire children, but also the performers who work here. The performers here conquer all aspects of life by using what they’ve learned as Happily Ever Laughter Faeries and Elves. From learning to manage stressful situations with grace, to spontaneously entertaining all the children in the line at the DMV, we have all grown to live life every day with a Faerie spirit.

Even as performers retire their wings and fly away into the human world, their Faerie spirit remains. We’ve seen past performers live life at an accelerated pace after mastering how to instill happiness into every moment. They’ve become movie producers, PhDs, parents, actresses on the silver screen, entrepreneurs, professors…and all before they ever expected to before working here. They’ve become pillars in their communities, and inspirations to all the future performers.

I dream of Happily Ever Laughter becoming a model for how to create a positive and noncompetitive workplace, and would love to see the rules that our performers live by spread on a larger scale with Faerie Youth Empowerment courses in schools, and Faerie Team Building in tech land.

The possibilities are endless. Especially, when you have wings *wink*.

Has it been a smooth road?
The largest struggle we have faced is the fact that we do not fit anywhere in the world of business. There is no ‘Faerie Princess’ category.

Many people have tried to take advantage of that by forcing us to accept whatever they decide to call us. Our most recent saga is with our worker’s comp insurance company who is trying to devastate us by placing us into a class code that don’t fit our level of risk (and multiply our bill by over 5 times normal rates). We’re fighting, but how do you get a room full of people who don’t take you seriously to read your appeals? It’s frustrating.

Some good news just happened last week, however. One other place where we never fit in is award categories. We won a very special award that we’ve always wanted because they finally created a new category. The ‘Wild Card’. I absolutely agree with them. *laugh* We are a good fit for that!

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Businesses and families across California hire our characters for events because of our whimsical approach to engaging children quickly with interactive activities like magic and puppet shows, sing along, and face painting. We keep the children busy so the grown-ups enjoy the celebration!

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Moving Happily Ever Laughter to Los Angeles was a bit scary at first. One of our Faeries who is native to the area gave me a bicycle and had me travel all over Santa Monica and Venice to get a feel for how magical it was. It has been incredibly rewarding to be in LA because of the talented staff that we have been able to find there. When we hire in LA, we have hundreds of applicants, despite the exhausting job description, which is so exciting for us to see. If I could change anything at all it would be to figure out a way for us to really use our wings to avoid all the traffic *laugh*.

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1 Comment

  1. Susan Worley

    April 17, 2017 at 16:44

    The East coast needs a touch of magic too! Kelly Williams and I are your girls…ok, maybe not girls…but we’re young at heart!How about it?

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