Halle Bailey Explores “More Nuanced” Portrayal of The Little Mermaid’s Ariel

Halle Bailey is the new Ariel!

22-year-old Halle Bailey is cast as the new Ariel for Walt Disney’s live-action adaptation of its famous animated film, “The Little Mermaid.”

In an interview with Edition Magazine on Tuesday, March 21, Bailey shares that her portrayal of Ariel deviates a bit from the original “The Little Mermaid” storyline and motive.

She says, “I’m really excited for my version of the film because we’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy. It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.”

Bailey further shared that Ariel has somehow helped her grow over the years as she reminisced about the journey towards securing the role. 

“I feel like I learned so much through her. I auditioned when I was 18, got the role when I was 19, and I turn 23 this year. So I genuinely feel like [Ariel’s] helped me grow up,” she adds. 


Bailey has also expressed her admiration to Disney’s move of casting a person of color. “As women, we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above, and I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”

READ: “The Little Mermaid” Live-Action Adaptation Wraps Shooting, Shares First Look of Ariel

Dreadlocked, black-skinned Ariel for the win!

The Walt Disney Company has released the first official trailer of the film at the D23 Expo in September 2022. 

It features a minute-long shot of a thriving underwater life followed by succeeding takes of the familiar green fins, violet clam bras, and  scarlet hair. Just before it ends, it shows Halle Bailey as Ariel singing bits of the iconic song, “Part Of Your World.” 

Although the trailer raked massive excitement online, especially from people-of-color parents and kids, it was not spared from the racist trolls that have flocked the YouTube trailer in an attempt to echo their disapproval over a black Disney princess. 

As the remake constantly gains backlash just as much as it is praised, Bailey then has a thing to say.  “Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock. But seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally.” Bailey shares. 

The live action remake of “The Little Mermaid” is set to hit the big screen on May 26 this year. On top of the lead role that Halle Bailey landed, she has also been casted as young “Nettie” in the musical movie remake of the 1985 film, “The Color Purple.” 

Banner Art Paulo Correa

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