Halle Bailey Proves Her Right to Play a Disney Princess

halle bailey (forefront) during ABC interview, Live-Action Little Mermaid poster (background)
Credit: Disney, ABC, Canva

On March 12, singer, songwriter, and future Disney princess Halle Bailey attended the 2023 Oscars alongside her brother Branson in an outfit which made a statement about her right to play Princess Ariel in the new Little Mermaid film premiering May 26.

For her visit to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the star donned an ethereal strapless Dolce & Gabbana dress and completed the red carpet look with a De Beers diamond necklace and an elaborate up ‘do hairstyle. Of course, the sea-foam green gown served as a nod to her upcoming role as lead princess Ariel in the 2023 live-action The Little Mermaid directed by Rob Marshall.

live-action little mermaid

Credit: Disney

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A fresh new take on the 1989 classic, the film will cast real-life actors such as Daveed Diggs, Melissa McCarthy, Javier Bardem, Jonah Hauer-King, Jacob Tremblay, and Lin-Manual Miranda as beloved characters in the fairytale about a siren who exchanges her voice for legs to explore the human world and win the heart of Prince Eric. Moreover, new elements such as music collaborations between Miranda and original composer Alan Menken will take this fairytale to new heights!

However, after Disney cast Bailey, who is African American, for the role of the previously red-haired, blue-eyed, and pale skinned mermaid, many were up in arms, despite voiced support from original voice actor Jodie Benson, who will receive a cameo in the remake. As a result, some so-called fans have picked the new film, and Hailey’s abilities or appearance, apart ahead of its release.

The Little Mermaid

Credit: Disney

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At the Academy Awards, the 22-year-old actress and singer told E! News: “I was really excited to wear this beautiful dress to go into the fairytale world and give them a princess for one day, so I’m loving it.” Watch the full interview with Laverne Cox here.

With its fitted nude-illusion corset top and a long flowing tulle skirt, the gown definitely embodies the princess Halle will soon play, whether or not fans choose to support her. For her part, Bailey said on her role that she was “just really excited to sing the original songs that I loved so much,” and hopes viewers will embrace the new music just as strongly as the nostalgia for originals like “Part of Your World” and “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

live-action little mermaid, halle bailey ariel

Credit: Disney

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Plus, while at the 2023 Kids’ Choice Awards, Halle revealed that she “sobbed the whole time” seeing her first glimpse of the final cut. Clearly, the young star is merely grateful for the opportunity, and one befitting her longstanding career as a successful pop singer and performer, and as she adds, “ready for everyone to finally see this film, for it to finally be out.”

About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.