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Featured Image Credit: Priscilla Grant/Everett Collection/Alamy Live News. Walt Disney Studios
Coming off of the buzz of her newly released first teaser that’s already been viewed over 21 million times, the 22-year-old recently sat down with Entertainment Weekly at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California.
Bailey spoke of her experience working with legendary director Rob Marshall and how he wanted to fuse the ‘essence’ of the R&B singer with the beloved Disney princess.
She said: "With Rob, he's so amazing and just saying, 'I see you and I want to bring you into the character'.”
And part of that included reinventing the character’s famed red hair.
Bailey continued: "So it was a beautiful thing. My hair, for example — incorporating my locks into the red hair was something that was really special to me.
“The outfit, the fins, everything. It's just amazing. I'm just grateful that I've been able to take the essence of me and mix the two."
Since the trailer was released earlier this month, videos of young Black girls reacting to the teaser have gone viral, reaffirming the importance of representation.
In one TikTok video, a little girl named Sienna is seen watching the trailer for the highly-awaited Disney flick.
But the young fan can barely contain her excitement once Bailey is unveiled in all of her mermaid glory.
A starry-eyed Sienna proceeds to ask, ‘That is Ariel? That is her?’ while ‘Part of Your World’ softly plays in the background.
Another video shows a girl named Maya beaming while watching the teaser.
As the trailer ends, a stunned Maya yells out ‘Mummy’ to which her mother responds, ‘I know right’.
So far, the video has garnered 385,000 views, with many reacting to the heartwarming moment.
One person wrote: “I’ve never cried so many happy tears in one day!! Every one of these reaction videos are an absolute joy to watch!!”
Another said: “It’s sad that this is not the norm for her. But I so love that she is getting this moment!”
A third person commented: “So so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this moment.”
While another shared: “Crying. My daughter is mixed and even though she’s a newborn this matters 2 me beauty is all colors not 1 disney did great.”
Hollywood, let this be a teachable moment.
The Little Mermaid is set to make a splash in theatres on May 26, 2023.