Maybe she's the Girl Next Door who's just gotten a makeover, and it's time to show her family. Maybe she's the Cinderella Expy making her grand entrance at the ball. Maybe she's just finally ready for her date. So how does she ensure her entrance 'wows' everyone there?
She'll appear at the top of a wide, sweeping staircase. (Bonus points for marble banisters, fancy new carpeting, or spotlights.) She pauses a moment, either at the top or a few steps down, so everyone has a chance to take in her beauty, how nice her face is, and her elegant hair and clothes (would even involve a Pimped-Out Dress in older stories). Once noticed, she slowly and gracefully descends.
Often this will be shown visually with the camera starting at the feet and slowly panning up the figure. When wearing a dress with a long skirt, stepping down gives her a chance to show off her shoes and legs without being immodest.
Often, but not necessarily, combined with She Cleans Up Nicely.
Compare Ending by Ascending, when a character goes up a staircase dramatically.
- In issue 12 of Rainbow Rowell's Runaways, Nico gets a moment like this before she and Karolina head out to a charity function together.
- Beauty and the Beast, as shown above.
- Cinderella did it first... three times! First when Cinderella surprises her stepmother and stepsisters in her new pink dress (although this is cruelly subverted just moments later), then when she meets the Prince at the ball (though this slightly differs from the traditional entrance by having her walk up the stairs rather than down the stairs), and, finally, at the end when she comes down the stairs of her home to prove the slipper is hers.
- Anastasia, at the very end.
- The Kim Possible feature film So The Drama had Kim descending her home stair case dressed for the prom. Unfortunately, the moment was shattered by Jim and Tim on their model rockets.
- Frozen: Elsa does this when Anna finds her in her Ice Palace. Anna even has the traditional "Whoa, Elsa, you look... different! It's a good different!" reaction in regards to Elsa's Snow Queen outfit.
- Olaf's Frozen Adventure has a downplayed example with Elsa. She first appears walking down the palace stairs, just in the middle of the frame, with little of the visual flair this trope usually has, but it is the first time we see the queen in her Happy Holidays Dress, and she's using her powers to make ice decorations on the banisters.
- Igor—Eva makes her entrance just before the Evil Science Fair, complete with Shout-Out to the Sunset Boulevard scene.
- In The Princess and the Frog when "Prince Naveen" first enters the Charlotte La Bouff's masquerade party and waits for her at the bottom of the stairs, Charlotte descends down the stairs with an impressively fast sprint, all while she was wearing high heels and an extremely Pimped-Out Dress.
- Loki in The Avengers shows up at a museum gala in Stuttgart, Germany, strolling down a huge marble suitcase in an impeccable suit to the soothing strains of a string quartet. Then, in time to the quartet, he whacks a guy with his staff and stabs another in the eye.
- In Cinderella, when Ella enters the ball, everyone there is stunned and can't stop looking at her. At the end of the film, she gets another, less grand but no less important staircase entrance as she finally appears to the Prince as she normally is (rather than in an enchanted dress).
- Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella shows up at the grand ball in a big entrance on a huge staircase.
- In the British comedy Curtain Up (1952) a playwright has written such a scene into her play "Tarnished Gold", only for the producer to bluntly inform her they're not building such a staircase as it wouldn't fit on stage.
- In Ever After she makes her entrance all right (though up the stairs, not down).
- The introduction of Mrs. Lewin Grayle in Farewell, My Lovely. The scene is spoofed in the first The Naked Gun movie when Frank's future Love Interest Jane trips and falls down the staircase instead.
- Gone with the Wind did this with Scarlett.
- Hermione's arrival at the Yule Ball in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie.
- Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
- Eliza's official debut at the big fancy ball in My Fair Lady.
- Ocean's Eleven: Tess is introduced walking down a staircase in one of the casinos on her way to meet Terry Benedict for dinner. Linus, who's been tailing Benedict to establish his daily routine, claims that watching her do this every day is the best part of his assignment.
- Chris Cole in Rock Star: In the very beginning of the first song in his first concert with Steel Dragon, slips and falls down the stairs. Despite a nasty head wound and possible concussion, Chris rallies and finishes the song and the concert.
- Lainey Boggs shows off her new look after her makeover in She's All That, although this is done on the stairs in her suburban home.
- A tragic version in Sunset Boulevard, as she's breathtakingly attractive only in her own mind—"I'm ready for my closeup, Mister Director."
- It's also a inversion - it's a Grand Staircase Exit.
- Rose in Titanic (1997). Slight subversion in that she is dressed like this every night and has come down those stairs several times- it's the onlooker who is a gentleman for the evening.
- Daphne makes several of these in What a Girl Wants. They proceed from funny, to serious, to heartbreaking as her spirit is slowly broken down and she conforms to upper class British society.
- Played with in Death Race 2000 where the Propaganda Machine pans up a long golden staircase, atop of which is Mr President, portrayed as a loving evangelical figure.
- Towards the end of Song of the Lioness, Alanna and her companions are dressed in rich clothing, showing off how good they look after their years of training, but it's Thayet who really steals the show—beautiful on a normal day, when she makes her grand entrance it's a sight to stun even the most jaded.
- In Finder's Stone, Cat is awe-struck as Giogi descends the staircase of his townhouse in a form-fitting dress whose neckline is described as "nowhere near the neck." Of course, she is actively trying to manipulate him and secretly working for the villain.
- In Petals on the Wind, Cathy enters her mother's Christmas party by walking down the stairs, intent on humiliating mother for her actions in the previous book—locking her four children away in an attic room.
- The cover of the Persian translation Tales of the Black Widowers has a man in a suit walking down a wide fancy staircase.
- Visually referenced in Supernatural... with a guy in a tux. Despite the guy in question being played by Jensen Ackles, he assumes he looks ridiculous. Bela, on the other hand, immediately suggests they have "angry sex" once the job is over.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Inverted in the episode "After Life", where Buffy descends the stairs in her house and Spike is rendered dumbstruck. In this case, it's because she's been dead and buried for the past 147 days.
- In "Halloween", Buffy convinces Shrinking Violet Willow to do the "coming down the staircase thing" to impress Xander, whom she has a crush on. Willow does...dressed as a Bedsheet Ghost, so the glamorous effect is lost.
- Alternate Universe Jackie does this at her 39th birthday party in the Doctor Who episode "Rise of the Cybermen".
- Fran gets a lot of mileage out of this trope in The Nanny. She makes a Grand Staircase Entrance almost every time she's formally dressed.
- Maggie got one of her own, too.
- Game of Thrones. Manipulative Bastard Littlefinger is visibly stunned when Sansa Stark enters this way after her Evil Costume Switch, marking her acceptance of her own manipulative persona. She smiles, fully aware of the effect she has on him.
- This is how the audience is introduced to the now teenaged Meggie in the miniseries The Thorn Birds.
- This was sent up by comic act Morecambe and Wise, who did a big Hollywood-style entrance with their guest, Grande Dame Penelope Keith. Only to discover the staircase set had not been completed and ended abruptly ten feet up. The orchestra stopped playing and, in full top hat and tails, they had to scramble down the supporting framework underneath the staircase, the bits TV viewers are not normally intended to see. The sight of the six-foot tall Miss Keith struggling down the scaffolding in a tight evening dress, aided by the two comics in top hat and tails, was hugely entertaining.
- Blake's 7. In "Weapon", a Clonemaster enters the foyer this way as part of the pseudo-religious trappings they've surrounded themselves with. The effect is ruined by the actress having to look down at her feet as she does so, thanks to her Impractically Fancy Outfit.
- Daredevil (2015):
- In season 2 episode 5, when Matt goes to Elektra's penthouse, Elektra makes her entrance into the scene coming downstairs from the penthouse's upper level.
- In season 3 episode 8, Karen decides to visit Wilson Fisk in his penthouse and try to provoke him into attacking her. While she waits in Fisk's refurnished living room, Fisk makes his entrance appearing on the second floor balcony and then coming down the stairs.
- Done in The Carol Burnett Show's famous skit spoofing Gone with the Wind.
- In My Fair Lady, Eliza makes her She Cleans Up Nicely entrance on the balcony at the top of the staircase in Higgins's study.
- Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!!, during the title song.
- "Beautiful Girls" in Follies is used to introduce a parade of White Dwarf Starlets this way.
- In the first act of The Addams Family, Wednesday appears at the top of the stairs just after her "normal" fiance and his parents have arrived. Not exactly grand, but the "everyone stares" bit is played straight- because she's wearing a yellow dress (identical to her normal outfit in all but color). The general reaction is one of horror rather than admiration, from everyone except her future in-laws; in a cut line from the Chicago preview, said fiance even tells her to "take that dress and burn it."
- Lampshaded in "Dear Abby" from The Musical of Musicals: The Musical!:
Spoken Stage Direction: Abby appears at the top of a staircase. The audience applauds wildly, even though she hasn't done anything yet.
- In the Takarazuka Revue productions of Elisabeth, the titular character descends a staircase, wearing her famous Sternkleid/Star Dress, for the act 1 finale. The reveal of the dress usually gets applause.
- While we're at it: Not part of shows themselves, but during Takarazuka finales (just prior to the duet dance), the top star note would exit in the middle of the previous otokoyaku dance, have a quick change in the wings, re-enter unobtrusively by descending the Grand Staircase note , and then reappear, to audience applause, under a spotlight, wearing a gloriously sparkly costume. The entire company also do this (with the spotlight and camera focus on the étoile note ) at the very end of the show, which is called the "parade".
- Ich/Mrs. de Winter from Rebecca descends a staircase to the ballroom at Manderley, decked out in finery as Lady Caroline de Winter... only for the clapping to die down as horrified guests (and the host) realize that it was the same costume the late Rebecca wore.
- In the DLC for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one character makes their entrance this way, doubly impressive because there was no staircase, they were stepping on the air.
- In BioShock this is how Sander Cohen meets you in person after you place the last photograph of his former disciples needed for his masterpiece.
- The Girl Genius Cinderella parody has a variation: The girl brings her own staircase.
Gil: I was most impressed with the sight of you walking down those steps.
Agatha: Oh, you flatterer!
Gil: Especially since we never had steps there before.
Agatha: Yes, well. It's always nice to make a grand entrance, no?
- Snowman in the Homestuck intermission.
- A political version was invoked by Harvey Milk when he was a councilor in San Francisco; when going through the lobby of City Hall, he always took the grand stairway instead of the elevator like the rest of city council so he would be noticed by the public and the press.
- The Fontainebleu Resort in Miami has a curving staircase in the lobby that only goes to a small coat room. It was designed for women dressed in couture to descend down it wearing their finest evening attire, on full display for everyone to watch. Best illustrated by The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which filmed a sequence of Midge descending the staircase in season 3.