We all know the fairytale formula — an unassuming princess or princess-in-the-making encounters a problem in her life, harnesses all of her beauty and wit to solve it, and succeeds in a fiercely fabulous kind of way. (There’s also something about a Prince thrown into the mix, but we don’t have time for that right now.)
That narrative trajectory is fine and all, but we’d be lying if we said we haven’t grown weary of it. After all, Disney’s cohort of princesses is popping at the seams with smart, fearless women. Surely their aspirations extend farther than what can be squeezed into a 90-minute animated film.
What would happen, let’s say, if Disney’s pretty girl gang of royal highnesses left the story books behind for good in the name of higher education? Brace yourself, my royal subjects — because these 8 princesses have made it to college.
School: Harvard University
Major: Political Science
What She’s Up To Now: Just as we all expected, Cinderella finished high school as the valedictorian of her graduating class, with an unbelievable amount of student leadership positions under belt. After every Ivy League school begged her to attend, Cinderella opted for the classic collegiate choice and is now the student body president of the senior class. When she is not 4.0’ing every semester, she spends her spare time studying political ideologies and governmental systems. Prince Charming can’t run an entire kingdom on his own, after all.
2. Aurora (Sleeping Beauty)
School: Pepperdine University
What She’s Up To Now: When she is not lounging on the beach, or just relaxing in literally any way that she can, Aurora lays out in the Quad and skims through the musings of Sartre, Socrates, and Shakespeare. She spends her weekends falling asleep at nearly every house party she is invited to, which is fine as long as her boyfriend wakes her up with a kiss and carries her back to her dorm. #RelationshipGoals
School: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Ecology and Planetary Studies
What She’s Up To Now: In addition to acing every class in her major, Pocahontas has also started a nonprofit on campus that works to reduce the size of her school’s ecological footprint. She was also recently featured on the front page of the university newspaper after she slept in a tree for a week straight to prevent it from being chopped down. Her hair is still dreamy when it blows in the wind.
School: United States Military Academy, West Point
Major: Leader Development Science
What She’s Up To Now: Mulan is on a full scholarship to one of the most elite military academies in the entire world. She continues to develop her leadership skills, so that one day she can fulfill the Emperor’s wish for her to become an ambassador of China. Until then, she will continue to kick ass in literally every way.
School: Swarthmore College
Major: English Literature/Creative Writing
What She’s Up To Now: Belle has made quite the splash at Swarthmore since arriving and has gone on to win countless literary awards for her short stories and persuasive essays. In an effort to showcase other students’ writing on campus, Belle recently founded her own literary magazine and acts as its Editor-in-Chief.
6. Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
School: Texas A&M, Corpus Christi
Major: Aquatic Sciences
What She’s Up To Now: Ariel spends her days collecting samples from the Gulf of Mexico and analyzing all of the ocean’s most overlooked, precious creatures. She doesn’t really study much, and yet continues to earn the highest grades in the class. Nobody can seem to figure out why.
7. Merida (Brave)
School: University of Colorado, Boulder
Major: Environmental Studies
What She’s Up To Now: It didn’t take long for Merida to realize that the scenic landscapes of Colorado were far more interesting than her classroom lectures, so she hasn’t actually attended a class all semester. Instead, she spends her days riding her horses, rock climbing, and finding new hiking trails. She recently figured out that all of these activities are far easier with pants and has since ditched her velvet green princess gown.
School: The Aveda Institute
What She’s Up To Now: Years cooped away in that tower have proven to be very useful for Rapunzel, especially now that she is a full-time cosmetology student. She is already miles ahead of her classmates, since she knows nearly all you can know about haircare and styling. She still refuses to let her classmates practice on her hair. #Swerve