In the following article I will be discussing ‘film Mia’ rather than ‘book Mia.’ Just like Lizzie McGuire, Britney Spears, Sun-in highlights, and copious amounts of lip gloss, The Princess Diaries is something that everyone who grew up in the early 2000s was either aware of or a die hard enthusiast of.
Princess Mia is one of the best Disney princesses (you can fight me on that) and I will never stop singing her praises. She is gentle, strong, brave, and fierce AF. Princess (now Queen) Mia is one of the greatest BAMFs ever written for young women and I think she should be everyone’s role model. The story of her rise from insecure teen, to leader of the pear loving world, is one legend that will never cease to amaze and entertain me. So without further ado, here are 15 reasons why Princess/Queen Mia is the most BAMF female character of all time.
15. She Forced Parliament To Change A Law Due To Sexism
For those of you who haven’t seen the second (and possibly final) film in the series, Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, I will fill you in.
Princess Mia is now 21 years old and is on the fast track to becoming Queen of Genovia. However, parliament has decided to enforce an archaic rule which states that a woman cannot rule the country without a man by her side at the time of her coronation. Which means, Mia had a month to find a new beau worthy of ruling at her side or another person with a claim to the throne would become ruler. Mia goes along with it until her wedding day. In which she petitions parliament to realize that this law is outdated and needn’t be enforced in the 21st century. Which is bada** in my opinion. Parliament then threatens to remove her crown if she doesn’t comply and she decides to publicly fight them on it because she’s Mia freaking Thermopolis and she does not put up with that sexist garbage.
14. She Stood Up To Her BFF Without Making A Big Deal Out Of It
As Dumbledore once said, “There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Heroes get worshipped for attacking their enemies for the greater good, but we need to recognize the bravery it takes to stand up to our loved ones. It can be absolutely terrifying because, unlike with our enemies, we care what our friends think of us and we don’t want to do anything that could damage or even end the friendship. Therefore it can be terrifying to call your friend out because what if they take it personally and you lose that friend?
Most people either keep their issues with friends quiet or a simple disagreement turns into a friendship ending battle. But Mia just calls out Lilly for insulting her and moves on with the conversation. It’s not a big deal because it doesn’t have to be. Sometimes people just need to know that they went too far. And letting them know doesn’t have to be this huge friendship-ending thing.
13. She Stood Up To Parliament (Again) For The Sake Of The Orphans
During the Genovian independence day parade, Mia spotted a little girl who was being picked on by some older boys, which lead to Mia halting the parade to confront the issue.
Upon learning that these children were orphans and that the orphanage was horribly overcrowded, she let the children accompany her for the rest of the parade and then went back to parliament to do something to better the lives of those poor children. She went in front of parliament and told them that she planned on turning a foreign diplomat resort into a secondary orphanage and refused to listen to any annoyance or rebuttal on the subject. The orphans needed better accommodations and Mia was going to provide them—no matter what anyone else says. I can’t even imagine the cojones it must take to stand in front of all those powerful people and tell them what is going to happen and she won’t take “no” for an answer. My hat goes off to you, Mia.
12. She Put Her Fear Aside For The Good Of Her Country
At the outset of the series, we are introduced to Mia Thermopolis: a high school student who walks through the halls anonymously and can’t even get through a speech in front of her classmates without panicking, vomiting, and having to run to safety. At the end of the film, we see a young woman doesn’t take no for an answer, fearlessly tells parliament what to do, and is willing to publicly fight for the crown she knows she deserves. Had she ran away, like she had planned to, before she accepted her tiara, she would have never known the woman that she had the potential to be. But, with the help of her late father’s words, she put her needs and fears aside because she realized that she had a duty to her people and that realization gave her the strength to speak in front of a room filled of foreign diplomats with little visible fear. To me, bravery or BAMF-ness is to do something that is right, even if you’re scared.
11. She Never Changed Who She Was For Anyone Else
This movie has received a lot of criticism in recent years due to the makeover scenes that take place early on in the first film, but I think that criticism ignores the message of the rest of the films. Mia faces constant pressure from outside sources (her teachers, her bullies, her family, her best friend, etc.) to be something that she doesn’t want to be or isn’t sure that she is worthy of being. Though Mia does change a lot through the course of two films, she does so in a way that shows personal growth due to increased maturity and increased self confidence. She never does so because someone else wants her to. Initially, she steps away from the crown because she doesn’t think she wants to be the person her grandma seems to want her to be. She also agrees to an arranged marriage because that’s what she thinks they want. But Mia’s greatest asset is being who she is and each film, after a period of self reflection, she accepts her role but only if she can do it on her own terms and she persuades people to accept her for who she is.
10. She’s Exceptionally Close With The Women In Her Life
One fault that runs rampant through young adult media is the inherent competition between women. Our young heroines are usually fighting against their mothers, their peers, or a female villain in a way that seems to perpetuate this unwanted competition between women. But Mia has a country to run, she has no time to compete with her fellow women. She is exceptionally close to all of the women in her life and that makes her as BAMF as they come. She is best friends with her mother and later, her grandmother. She hosts a bachelorette party that is essentially just a huge slumber party for herself and her fellow princesses. She never competes with her best friend, she stands up for other women (e.g. the young orphan), and she makes sure that the marriage law is disbanded for both her and all future female rulers to come.
9. She Refused To Marry Someone Just Because She Had To
Initially, Mia was willing to sacrifice the possibility of finding love organically and letting it bloom on its own time for the sake of her people. However, thankfully she realized that the idea of doing so would compromise a part of herself that she was not willing and she went up against parliament in order to prevent herself, and future queens, from having to choose between an unwanted arranged marriage or losing their crown.
I just think it’s such a BAMF move to go out and use your power to change the law because you don’t agree with it. No one should be forced to do something with their personal lives in order to keep their jobs. And I, for one, will never stop admiring Mia for getting that sexist law changed and doing so in front of the public clad in a wedding dress.
8. She Isn’t Afraid To Be Feminine Or Emotional
As I’ve pointed out in other articles, the media often fails to properly write strong female characters. Rather than creating strong female characters, they end up writing male characters with female names. That would be perfectly fine if that one particular character was stereo-typically masculine; however, it’s absolutely mind-numbingly frustrating that Hollywood seems to think that strength and femininity cannot exist within the same character.
Mia loves yoga, painting, writing in her journal, horseback riding, is terrible in gym class, very clumsy, and frequently wears gorgeous dresses—but that doesn’t mean that she isn’t a total BAMF. She petitions parliament solo, she continually fights for the rights of her people, she faces the public even after being teased by the media, and she kept her head up everyday when being pushed around and bullied by her peers at school. She is strong as heck and don’t let anyone make you think differently.
7. She Didn’t Let Her Power Go To Her Head
Let’s be absolutely honest here, if any of us realized that we were royalty back in high school, we would have marched into that building the next day and demanded that those who wronged us paid for their sins. That girl that moo’d at you when you walked into class one day? Banished. That kid that grabbed the handle of your backpack and pulled you to the ground while everyone laughed? Drawn and quartered. The kids who always pick you last in gym class? Excommunicated. That math teacher that gave you detention because you forgot a period at the end of the sentence of a word problem? Executed.
But even after becoming princess of Genovia, Mia was still Mia. She shied away from the attention and did not seek revenge against those who wronged her. She just went about her day and that is insanely awesome.
6. She Never Over Did It With The Pay Back
Now, I’m not going so far as to say that Mia didn’t seek any sort of revenge. I’m just saying she didn’t abuse her new found power in an attempt to knock her bullies down a peg like most of us would have done.
She did get revenge on Lana/Banana/Old Fanta-whatever her name is for years of bullying and mockery, but it was proportionate to the crime at hand and was pretty awesome. She just rubbed the contents of her ice cream cone all of Rapunzel’s (yeah, the bad girl from Princess Diaries voiced Rapunzel in Tangled small world eh?) pristine cheerleading uniform. She didn’t scar her in a way that would permanently alter her personality and haunt her every waking moment for years to come, but she didn’t completely ignore the wench either. She knocked her down a peg and showed her that she can’t just keep spouting her mouth off at people without consequences, which is really all you need to do.
5. She Refused To Let The Media Take Away Her Strength
Now, I’m not nor have I ever been famous (I mean, when I was a toddler I sang a song from Anastasia on a city bus once and got some applause but that’s all). So I can’t relate to/understand what it’s like to have the media turn against you like that, but I can’t imagine it’s fun.
I mean, if someone makes an offhand, negative comment about my appearance or personality, I think about it for years to come and it keeps me up at night. So I don’t think I could handle turning on the news and seeing Nancy Grace slam me in front of the entire world. (Is Nancy Grace even still a thing?)
So, watching Mia, in the face of media wild-fires and constant attacks, continue to go about her everyday life (be it high school or her royal duties) without allowing it to visibly affect her is absolutely amazing and a huge testament to her strength and grace as a person. She just stayed focused on herself and her own life in a way that you can’t help but admire.
4. She Fought For Her Crown
Nicholas and his uncle did everything they could to prove that she did not deserve the crown. They accused her of not knowing the people, so she hosted a huge garden party and interacted with every single guest proving that she not only knew their names, but also the names and personal details of their families (even their pets!). They accused her of not caring for her people…she marched with orphans and gave them a second orphanage in a beautiful building to try and improve their lives. They accused her of not caring about her crown…she nearly forced herself into a marriage she knew she didn’t want so she could be lucky enough to officially rule over her people. She fought so hard for that crown and I think that that fight just goes to show how badly she wanted and deserved it.
3. She Owns Up To Her Mistakes
Like many public figures, Mia has to deal with a lot of criticism towards both herself personally and her actions. Many people refuse to take responsibility for their own mistakes—even when it’s absolutely certain that they did commit those things in which they are being criticized for. But Mia isn’t like that. Mia owns up to her mistakes and does so with grace and dignity. Mia apologizes to those she has hurt, owns up to her wrong doings, and even goes so far as to accept the blame for things that are most certainly not her fault (e.g. the beach party in the first film in which those evil popular kids call the paparazzi in attempts to get inappropriate and embarrassing photos of the poor underaged heir to the throne). Few people accept the blame for things that they did, so the fact that Mia owns the things others did to her is admirable and awestrucking.
2. She Won’t Let Other People Decide Her Future For Her
Mia and Mia alone is the only person who can choose her destiny. When her grandmother tried to recruit her for the role of Princess of Genovia, Mia made a deal that would allow her to accept the role on a trial basis, which she was allowed to back out of at anytime. She requested that the decision be put on the shelf in the wake of the beach party incident so she could regroup and make an informed decision. And ultimately, she ended up taking on the role of princess. She accepted the arranged marriage until she realized that she could fight it, which she did. Princess/Queen Mia does everything she can to ensure that the final call is her own and that is just so bada** to me.
1. No Matter What Happened, She Was Still Mia
Even when she was a dorky teen who didn’t like what she saw in the mirror or the leader of the pear loving nation of Genovia, she was still Mia. She was still the sweet, kind hearted, intelligent, loving, brave, sarcastic, girl that we have all known and loved at some point in our lives. She never sacrificed her integrity or kind soul for her role, nor did she allow the power to corrupt her. She stayed the same sweet girl and the only thing that changed is: she learned to love herself. She recognized the good she could do with the power she had, and the leadership skills she had within her. Mia still saw herself as and acted like that curly haired underdog and she used her newfound power to help up those same underdogs in her country; and that is the most BAMF thing of all.