Across West Orange, you’ll see princesses and other characters at events and birthday parties. They’re all a part of Blonde Mafia Productions — the brainchild of Winter Garden resident Jessica Dinius.
At birthday parties and events across West Orange, you’re likely to run into a princess or a superhero.
It’s all thanks to the Winter Garden-based Blonde Mafia Productions, which has expanded its presence since its inception in October 2014.
Jessica Dinius, founder and CEO of Blonde Mafia Productions, had a background in working as characters in local theme parks.
Dinius’ passion comes in bringing her business to support local events and charity organizations.
“Our policy as a company is that as long as it’s a community event or a charity that benefits kids, we’re there,” Dinius said.
This fall, the company participated in Team America-Amor Eiba Foundation, a charity that supports orphaned, terminally-ill children in Honduras. She participates in other charities like March of Dimes and Toys for Tots.
The drive to support charities comes from her own life experiences.
During Dinius’ childhood, her parents divorced, leaving Dinius and her mother with little ability to support themselves.
“I grew up with nothing,” she said. “When I say nothing, I mean the church paid our mortgage for several years. We ate from the food pantry. We had nothing. Charities and organizations like that are what helped us. Now that I’m in a position to help them, I think that’s so important.”
Dinius’ mother was able to find some better jobs to help the family get back on its feet. But during that difficult time, a theater program for low-income and at-risk youth helped shape Dinius’ personality and passion.
She attended a camp at the Bellevue Theatre, near Seattle, when she was 10 years old. For several years, she remained involved there, ultimately taking her first job with the camp.
In 2004, she and her mother moved to Florida, and soon Dinius began working in theme parks.
THE BUSINESS GROWS
In 2007, Dinius saw a Craigslist ad for a company that hired people to play a princess at parties and events. She ended up leaving the company because she became dissatisfied with the quality of what was being offered.
A few years later, she ended up with a few costumes of her own and decided to launch her own business, making quality front and center. All of her employees have a background in theme parks.
“That was one of the big things when I started this company, because I would see things that people would say as characters at parties, and it was like nails on a chalkboard to me,” she said. “I really wanted to keep the integrity of the characters so true to what the kids know and love. It’s so important. They notice all those little details.”
When characters attend birthday parties, they are often there for an hour or more, so it is important the character can carry lengthy conversations — and stay in character — the whole time.
All characters are required to watch movies of the character they are playing and know the talking points their character will use.
She hopes her business will continue to grow, so her staff can work full-time in her company.
“They love this job, and I would love to bring them on full-time with me, and — this sounds horrible — give them a living wage,” she said. “Parks don’t pay anything; $10 an hour is not a survivable wage.”
Among her other goals is to open a venue in Winter Garden that could host classes and events during the week and parties during the weekends.
To book a character, visit blondemafiaproductions.com.
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Dinius was nicknamed “Blonde Mafia” by a longtime friend, and the nickname followed her when she worked on a stunt contract in China.