In recent years, Princess Diana’s name has been invoked to describe pop culture figures who seem to embody the very best character traits of the beloved princess. One of the most notable examples is BTS’ Jungkook, with an intricate theory claiming that the 25-year-old vocalist is the reincarnation of Princess Diana gaining considerable traction in 2022.

But this was all pre-Ice Spice domination.

Who is Ice Spice? This is a difficult question. If I were writing a biography of the rapper I’d probably start with her age – she’s 23 years old – or her hometown, New York City. I’d probably try to trace any recurring themes in her discography or threads of experience with which she is particularly concerned. But none of that matters because princesses are known for how they make people feel, and… well, let’s just say she makes people feel a lot.

She’s the twenty-first century’s Princess Diana. She said it, not me. On her track “Princess Diana” from her 2023 EP Like…? she says, “In the hood, I’m like Princess Diana.” If she were anyone else that lyric might sound ridiculous. I’m not sure Jungkook could execute it quite as well, to be honest. But similar to Diana Spencer, Ice Spice has a loyal fan base that is committed to adoring her.

But why?

Let’s look at Princess Diana first. She was known publicly for her iconic outfits and unapologetic confidence. As soon as the weather is warm, Northwestern students pull out a pair of biker shorts and a purple crew neck to emulate her. The revenge dress has its own place in pop culture history, separate from the general chapter that is her life.

Personal style can say a lot about a person. Princess Diana’s style communicated that she was down-to-earth, witty and intimately aware of the ebb and flow of popular culture without compromising her authenticity.

Ice Spice is the same. Her signature ginger afro has become as important to her public identity as her stage name. Even when she switches hairstyles, the ginger remains.

It’s a flash of color in a culture that has advocated for conformity. Greige palettes have conquered closets and sleek buns have tempered manes. Everyone has become so concerned with standing out, that they all just end up fitting in anyway. Ice Spice challenges this norm.

She does this partly by being so accessible. She’s a Bronx native through and through, and never fails to mention so. Her music video for “Bikini Bottom” filmed a huge party, with the guest of honor, herself, in the middle of the fray. She’s so real: she’s in your face, your neighborhood, even New York Fashion Week.

It’s not hard to imagine taking Geometry with her in high school or walking the mile with her in Gym. She seems like she would walk the mile with me. I’ve always wanted to see a princess win a gold medal.

Ice Spice even has cross-cultural interactions. The U.K.’s own princess – real princess, not one of those House of Windsor bandwagoners – Pink Pantheress included Ice Spice on her track “Boys a Liar Pt. 2.” The formidable pair dance and sway in train stations, a roof and even a fire escape, accompanied by their band of baddie friends.

Besides the song being catchy, Ice Spice’s allegiance to her personal style and lack of men in her visuals allude to a dedication to tell her own story, without worrying about the opinions of others. Much like the scene from Disney Channel’s Princess Protection Program, she holds her head high, even without the stack of books atop her ginger curls.

Ice Spice stares straight ahead without paying attention to trends. People have characterized her style as adhering to the recent resurgence of Y2K fashion, but that would mean putting her into a box. Ice Spice does not represent boxes; her fans come from all backgrounds. Her style, while unique, is ever fluid.

Like Princess Diana, the world hangs onto her every bar, desperate to get caught in her current. My grandchildren might ask fifty years down the line, “Who is Ice Spice?” I imagine that I would sigh and say, “She was a baddie. She got what she wanted, like…?"

Thumbnail image courtesy of Coach