PHOTOGRAPHY BY ELIZABETH ELDER
What better way to end an homage to faerie queens than with a magical, glittering queen riding on a unicorn? In fact, when said queen (model Courtney Allegra) and her enchanted helpers—photographer Elizabeth Elder, gown designer JoEllen Elam Conway (a.k.a. Firefly Path), and headdress designer Caley Johnson (a.k.a. Miss G Designs)—gathered in a park near San Diego to capture these images, a group of hikers crossed their path and one little girl ran ahead of the group not believing her eyes. We imagine that humans have always felt this way when coming upon queens in the forest, and luckily (or unluckily) for the little girl, this benevolent queen did not snatch her away like the queens of myth and instead left some of her faerie magic behind.
Every faerie queen needs a crown, you included. For this queen, Johnson imagined something light and airy and whimsical. A unicorn-riding queen especially would need a crown she could wear while jumping on and off her steed and flitting through forest pathways, something with wings (by HelloFaerie). When she saw Elam’s inspiration fabric, a gorgeous beaded pink trim, she knew she wanted to have sparkle and made a wreath-style crown with crystals hanging down the front.
To make your own crown, she suggests fashioning some crafting foam into a wreath that fits your head and then deciding what kind of faerie you want to be: What is your magic? Are you a more earthy queen, with moss and mushrooms on your crown? Or a more decadent one, all about crystals and sunshine? And then get out your glue gun and go wild. Her reason for making headpieces—extravagant and wonderful—comes from a place of pure joy: Anyone at all can wear them and feel amazing. “No matter your age, sex, or body shape, there is a headdress for you,” she says. “You can put one on and say, ‘I’m a badass.’ You just become magical.”
Elam has advice too for nourishing your inner faerie queen. “It can be difficult to feel like a faerie queen,” she says, “with the state of the world right now. But when I put effort into small things, it gives me a boost of magic and escapism.” Among those things are filling her home and studio with beautiful creations and having fresh flowers and candles. She’s even decided to make drinking water beautiful: “Lately, I’ve been cutting star fruit and freezing the slices, then adding them and raspberries into my flavored sparkling water, a faerie flourish to a daily necessity.”
And sometimes she’ll wear her elf ears on a rare trip to the grocery store. “The reactions are mixed between confusion and delight,” she says. “But this is for me, not them! I choose these tiny details to spark a little magic in my life.”
Perhaps you might take some inspiration from these images and this issue and embrace some faerie queen magic, whether by festooning your drinks with fruit or donning a magical headdress or pair of elf ears when venturing into the word at large. As Elam asks, “What little fantasy choices keep you dreaming and moving forward?”
Follow photographer Elizabeth Elder on Instagram @emackphoto. Find model Courtney Allegra on Instagram @itscourtneyallegra. Visit the designers on Instagram—Firefly Path @fireflypath, Miss G Designs @missgdesigns, and wing maker L Marie @hellofaerie.