Halle’s Hair Flip Hack: How A Stunt Man Kept Her From Breaking Her Neck

the little mermaid animated v live action halle bailey hair flip iconic scene

One of the most iconic images that come to mind when thinking of Disney’s 1989 animated classic The Little Mermaid is Princess Ariel’s graceful hair flip as she breaks through the surface of the ocean. One of the reasons it’s so beautiful is because it’s almost impossible to create in real life – I’ve tried.

In the new live-action remake, Halle Bailey nearly broke her neck attempting to emulate the animated mermaid. The film obviously couldn’t do without a recreation of the hair flip shot. So here’s how Bailey and Rob Marshall made it happen for the cameras.

halle bailey live action little mermaid hair flip shot


On Sherri Shepherd’s talk show, Halle dove into the story. In reference to the beautifully recreated shot, Sherri asks, “In the film, you do the iconic hair flip that Ariel does, but you have locs. Did you hurt your neck doing this??”

Here’s Halle’s reply,

YES I did. Yes, I did. It took me like 20 takes because,  first of all, for those of you who have locs – our locs are heavy. And when we’re in the water, they get even heavier. So it was so funny because we were really trying to make it as beautiful as how it looks in the animated….the iconic shot of Ariel. So, it was a funny day when we got it!

She concludes, “My neck was over it.”

Here’s the whole interview with Sherri Shepherd, the hair conversation starts around the 6:35 mark.

Bailey later admitted to News.com.au that she needed someone to help her nail the hair flip!

I needed help because I have a lot of hair, and it’s really heavy in the water. So, there’s this lovely guy on the stunt team named, Dan. I’d come up and he would kind of push my hair back with me so it would look like I was doing it. But it looked way more graceful than I actually was.

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See the interview on TikTok:


Halle Bailey needed a bit of ✨movie magic✨ under the sea ??‍♀️ #thelittlemermaid #hallebailey #ariel #disney #thelittlemermaid2023

♬ original sound – <3

Despite all the trouble, everyone can agree, they definitely got the shot and it was beautiful!

Have you seen The Little Mermaid in theaters yet?

About Lana Porter

Lana has never lost a Disney Trivia night. Maybe it’s the hundreds of times she’s been to Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, her love for Disney’s ’90’s era hand-animated musicals, or the fact that she’s often likened to cartoon characters, but Disney and its magic have a special place in her heart. Her favorite Disney experiences include the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival, eating Mickey Bars on the PeopleMover, and crying during the Magic Kingdom fireworks show. One day she hopes to be chosen as the rebel spy on Star Tours. When Lana isn’t Park Hopping, she’s at home reading books of all topics, watching her favs on Disney+, or snuggling her two cats, which she swears are not named after Disney characters. She loves surprising people with her knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe but admits she is still catching up with Star Wars. She is happy to combine her excitement for writing with her love for Disney-style storytelling and share what she can with the world!