Ever since our obsession with Disney-Pixar’s Brave began (it’s true; we luuuurve it), we’ve wanted to make friends with reckless and determined 3D-animated redhead Princess Merida.
But instead, we’ve tracked down the real-life version as judged by The Sunday Mail, Caitlyn Boyd, who is definitely cooler…
Hey Caitlyn! We’re super happy to have ginger royalty on Ginger Parrot! How has your life changed since the release of ‘Brave’?
Well ever since June 2012 when I found out about becoming the real-life Princess Merida from Scotland, it was like all my dreams had come true! I had always dreamed about going to a European premiere and walking on the red carpet, which is what I got to do as Merida at the Brave premiere in Edinburgh.
While I was there, I met the star Kelly Macdonald, who is the voice of Merida. It was indescribable. After that, I was asked to go to the DebRA Charity Premiere in Glasgow.
I also appeared as Merida at my local cinema in Aberdeen Union Square, as well as dressing up at the Pitlochary Highland Games. Then in November I appeared as Merida in the Hamleys Christmas Parade, which was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Merida is now a very big part of my life and helps with my aim to get into a career of acting and theatre, so this really is a great way to be introduced into it. Hopefully this has opened some doors for my future!
How often do you get recognised as Princess Merida?
I get recognised as Merida quite a lot even when I’m not wearing the costume! I think it’s the red hair. When I’m dressed as Merida, it’s fantastic to see children’s faces light up, it really warms my heart to see kids in awe and look so amazed by seeing Merida.
Tell us about your recent exciting trip to Florida as ‘Merida’ (we’re very jealous)…
I have just returned from my week’s trip to Orlando to appear as Princess Merida at the 36th Annual Scottish Highland Games. It was an incredible experience, and I got to meet Disney’s Princess Merida at the Magic Kingdom!
Before the Highland Games weekend, I took part in an interview on Fox 35 News live. It was fantastic – I was so nervous but the presenter made me feel totally comfortable. I also attended the Highland Games dinner which was a great event.
As a thank-you for inviting me over, I sang the Gaelic song ‘Noble Madien Fair’ from Brave, which I performed at the opening ceremony of the Games.
The event was apparently one of the biggest Highland Games in the country! My face was on the cover of the programme, leaflets and childrens tickets, which I was signing – like I was famous!
In one of the fields at the Games, they held the caber toss and other Scottish sports and archery events. There was also a space where they had almost 50 clans! It blew me away how much they know about Scotland.
It was a very surreal experience; I have always wanted to go to America, as well as become a Disney princess. In fact, when I was little I would wish to be a princess, so I guess wishes do come true!
What are your feelings towards your ginger hair? Do you like it? Why?
When I was younger, I absolutely loathed my hair. I hated it and wished that I could have brown wavy hair like everyone else. I got bullied for my red hair but now that I’m older, I’ve grown to appreciate and love my big red curly hair.
Are you a proud ginger?
Very proud. I say to all fellow gingers that no matter how many people give you a hard time for it, I know how you feel but one day you will be proud of your hair and you’ll embrace it like I did.
My family always said that people are just jealous and that’s why they make comments. I never used to listen to my family but now I understand and I’m very proud to say I’m ginger.
I don’t care what anybody says about my hair, I love it and wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t have my ginger hair!
Did you get a lot of attention prior to Brave, simply for your eye-catching red hair?
I did have a few people on streets or in cafes stop me to say that they liked my hair and said it was beautiful so even before I knew about Princess Merida I stood out from the crowd because of my fiery hair.
Do you think Princess Merida lives up to the stereotype of redheads: fiery, short-tempered, passionate?
Merida is the typical Scottish fiery redhead and a loving character who makes us all fall in love with the Scottish heritage. She believes in the freedom to make your own choices and follow your own path, and your own destiny – whatever it may be.
I believe she is in the right and true to her heart. It is very hard not to fall in love with this character!
What have you got coming up as Merida?
Perhaps a few birthday parties but right now I need to get through my exams, so we shall have to wait and see if there is more to come. I hope there is; I love being the real-life Princess Merida, it really has giving me so many opportunities that many people can only dream of!
For more photos from Caitlyn’s ‘Princess Merida’ shoot, visit www.jonathanaddie.com