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‘I Was Dressed Like A Big Old Drag Queen,’ Says ‘Little Mermaid’ Star

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Credit: Disney

Drag is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as performances with “clothing more conventionally worn by the other sex, especially exaggeratedly feminine clothing, makeup, and hair adopted by a man.” It may be a controversial topic, but Drag has always played a big part in Disney’s The Little Mermaid

RELATED: Ariel’s Sisters Get New Names And Ethnicities in Live Action ‘The Little Mermaid’

disney animated little mermaid ariel ursula 1989

Disney

The live-action remake of Ariel’s story is about to hit theaters this weekend! Actor Melissa McCarty stays true to its drag heritage in her portrayal of Ursula the Sea Witch. In fact, McCarthy has participated in drag herself! She detailed her drag experience in a 2017 Rolling Stone interview, and now brings her expertise to one of the most well known Disney villains.

Ursula in The Little Mermaid is Based on Drag Culture

The animated Ursula, voiced by Pat Carroll and loved by Disney fans, was inspired by the LGBTQ drag queen sensation, Divine. Often referred to as drag’s first superstar, Divine became a cult classic type icon during the 1970s and 1980s.

divine drag queen ursula sea witch inspired by little mermaid

Twitter @DivineOfficial

Two of Divine’s most popular films include Pink Flamingos (1972) and Female Trouble (1974). He also played Edna Turnblad in the 1988 film Hairspray.

His drag appearance largely inspired the look animators chose for Ursula in 1989 The Little Mermaid. Her body type, eye makeup, and jewelry all resemble the essence of Divine’s glamour. Ursula even originally had a mohawk to resemble Divine’s look in Pink Flamingos!

Melissa McCarthy’s Drag Experience and Her Ursula

Melissa McCarthy worked to become a stand-up comic in New York City in the 1990s and performed drag on the side. She specifically told Out Magazine that as an actor she couldn’t separate the “unbelievable art form” from the character of Ursula. When playing the part, McCarthy says she “always goes back to Divine.”

melissa mccarthy ursula live action little mermaid disney 2023

Disney

McCarthy speaking to Rolling Stone about her drag experience said,

It was me there with my lovely gay guy friends and I was dressed like a big old drag queen. I went by Miss Y. I had a gold lamé swing coat on, a huge wig, big eyelashes. I talked about being incredibly wealthy and beautiful and living extravagantly, and the first night worked great. It was such a happy, good feeling, and it gave me such confidence.

Melissa McCarthy now has a chance to use her comedy roots from her early acting days in a huge Disney movie, already projected to make millions of dollars. Fans have faith in her ability to bring Ursula to life alongside Halle Bailey as Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

little mermaid live action 2023 melissa mccarthy halle bailey ursula ariel

Disney

Catch the drag-inspired character in this Melissa McCarthy movie in theaters on May 26!

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!