What would you give up to be beautiful? I don’t mean attractive, or pretty or any other term you could conjure up to describe that thing most women seek to be or most men seek to be with. I mean staggeringly beautiful, men falling at your feet with hopeless adoration as they gaze upon you dumbfounded. That beautiful. I could become that beautiful if I chose, but only with a steep price. Would you pay the price? Does that call to your heart?
It doesn’t call to mine. Yes, when I look at the girl in the mirror, I see a young woman of average height and slight build. I see her lovely emerald green eyes and I see her coarse, orange hair poking out in all directions like some unnatural haystack. I see the forty-seven warts that line her face, which accompany one large lump and two small boils. You’d probably think that I would be more than eager to trade for the great gift of beauty because I know some, if not all of you, would call me hideous. But I don’t think of myself as ugly.
I think of myself as powerful, strong and fierce – for I have magical powers – powers that amaze and terrify me at times. And today is the most important day of my life, because today my mother will say the words over me and seal my fate. For I, Olive, am the last of the Winnowwood and this is my story.
I grew up as a military brat who travelled the world with my family. We moved 10 times before I was 12. Given that transient lifestyle, I had very few friends and I was quite shy. It always took some time to warm up to new surroundings and by the time I did, we were off to our next assignment. Books became my best friends and I lost myself to them. The wonderful adventures and magical realms of possibility were so appealing to my quiet existence. I really became a fan of fairy tales; I think most little girls do. It’s fun to think of yourself as having magical powers and living a magical life. As time went on, however, I became a bit disillusioned with fairy tales as all of the princesses who were the stars of the story were beautiful. I was not beautiful. Did that mean I was not entitled to have these amazing adventures because I did not have the right face? It always troubled me. As an adult, I finally wrote the fairy tale that I wanted to see: a magical princess who was brave and kind and amazing and smart, but not beautiful. In fact, she is rather ugly. But this ugly princess is the most amazing heroine and the one I had always wanted to read about. Now, you can. I hope you love the amazing Olive, the Last of the Winnowwood and the bravest princess whose heart is far more beautiful than anyone else’s face.
This story is based on a script I wrote that won the Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Award as well as several other prestigious awards.