What do Pocahontas (Pocahontas), Mulan (Mulan), Tiana (Princess and the Frog), Jasmine (Aladdin), and even Kida (Atlantis) and Esmerelda (Hunchback of Notre Dame) have in common?
You guessed it! They're all of ethnic origin, and by "ethnic" I mean not from European descent. Disney has done an excellent job of highlighting various cultures and ethnicities, including (but definitely not limited to) Saudi Arabia, America, Denmark, Scotland, Africa, France, China, Germany, and Norway! However, there has always been one group that has always been noticeably missing from the mix. For many years now, many have expressed frustration over the fact that there has yet to be a truly Latina princess. Some believed that Sofia, the First from Disney Junior, had stolen the title of "First Latina Disney Princess."
The First Latina Disney Princess?
However, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Junior Worldwide, Nancy Kanter, busted the rumor by stating that “Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world... All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures.”
Don't be disappointed yet, though! *Drum roll please* Today, Disney Junior has announced the newest girl to join the Disney club: Princess Elena of Avalor!
Meet Elena of Avalor
Unlike Sofia, 16-year-old Elena has been confirmed to be “a confident and compassionate teenager in an enchanted fairy tale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore.” She will first be introduced on Disney Junior alongside Sofia in the show Sofia the First and will later star in her own spin off series Elena of Avalor, which is set to debut in 2016 on Disney Junior.
In the fantasy world of Sofia the First, Elena has been a long time prisoner of the evil sorceress Shuriki, who trapped the princess in a magic amulet while she was attempting to protect her younger sister Princess Isabel. It is up to Sofia to "discover the truth . . . and set out to restore Elena to her human form and help her return to the kingdom of Avalor."
The shout out to the Latin culture doesn't stop there! The newest addition to the Disney family will be voiced by Dominican Republic-born Aimee Carrero from ABC Family's Young & Hungry.
Elena will be voiced by Aimee Carrero
As a Latina myself, and with the continuously growing Hispanic population within the U.S., I was admittedly somewhat disappointed to realize that Elena would be making her modest debut on Disney Junior. However, at the very least, this new royal reveal may lay the groundwork for a long awaited silver screen appearance!