Halle Bailey‘s Ariel hasn’t made her theater debut but she’s already winning the hearts of young fans. The Little Mermaid star has been sharing videos of her trip to Disney World to meet this year’s Disney Dreamers Academy class on her Instagram Stories, and on Thursday, she posted the sweetest video of her meeting a little girl named Mila Rose.
In the clip, Bailey is holding Mila in her arms, who is wearing Minnie Mouse ears and looks like she doesn’t plan to let go anytime soon. Bailey rubs Mila’s back as the young girl lays her head on the actress’ shoulder and wraps her arms tightly around her neck.
“You’re so pretty,” Bailey says to Mila as someone off-camera tells Bailey that Ariel is the girl’s favorite. “That’s so sweet,” Bailey responds before she asks if Mila wants to take a picture, getting the little girl to turn over to smile at the camera.
“…met this beautiful lady Mila Rose who made me cry,” Bailey wrote over the vid in her Instagram Stories. “She just hugged me so tight.”
Fans have been raving about Bailey’s casting as Ariel since the live-action adaptation’s trailer was released, but it’s hit home especially with little Black girls who are seeing themselves portrayed as the beloved Disney character for the first time onscreen, and for Bailey too, who previously shared with ET that seeing their reactions made her cry.
“It’s been really crazy, really overwhelming. I’ve been so emotional when I see all the babies,” she gushed back in October while attending the WACO Theater Centers’ Wearable Art Gala, a month after the first look was released at Disney’s D23 Expo. “So, I’m just really honored and just pinching myself.”
Those little girls have even more to be excited about since Bailey’s official Little Mermaid doll is now available to preorder on Amazon.
Earlier this month, the Chloe x Halle singer shared a video of her presenting the new Ariel doll fashioned in her image.
“I have something really exciting to reveal to you all,” began Bailey before surprising fans with the news. “I am gonna cry. This is the new Little Mermaid doll. I am literally choking up because this means so much to me and to have one that looks like me, that’s my favorite Disney character, is very surreal. And look — she even has my mole. See!”
“I’m just stunned. I don’t quite know what to do with it, but I’m going to steal this, take it home, and hide it forever,” Bailey said as she hugged the doll.
Fans shared the star’s joy in the comments, writing, “So excited & happy for you!!! My coins are ready to buy this doll and see the movie.”
Another user was just as emotional as Bailey, writing, “no bc this has me tearing up you deserve it QUEEN.”
The Little Mermaid is set to swim into theaters on May 26.
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