Disney is adding another diverse face to its iconic collection of princesses.
Elena of Avalor is a new Disney Channel series that features its first Latina princess, “a confident and compassionate teenager in an enchanted fairy tale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore.”
Elena’s mythical kingdom of Avalor is a colorful quilt of Latin and Hispanic traditions, from its vividly-imagined landscapes to the princess’ wolf-like spirit guide.
“It was very important to us that, since we were doing a show with a kingdom inspired by Latin American culture, that we get that right,” says Craig Gerber, the show’s creator and executive producer. “Even though it’s a fairytale world, there are things that feel very authentic.”
A new infographic from Disney illustrates how the show represents Latin culture in its landscapes and characters, like with Elena’s apricot mallow, a flower native to Southern California and Mexico that she wears in her hair.
Elena‘s original score is no exception, with mariachi and salsa among the many genres soundtracking the show. “The styles of music we’re using overall — it’s all Latin-based, it’s very festive,” says Rene Camacho, a Latin music consultant for the show.
Consultants played an important role in ensuring Elena’s world properly represented Latin culture.
“We have cultural consultants help us every step of the way,” says story editor Silvia Olivias. “They read everything from the premise all the way through the final draft.”[The show] has this visual element that’s so evocative,” says cultural consultant Diane Rodriguez. “It takes the look of the Latino culture, of the Americas, almost to another level.”
Elena‘s cast members have spoken about how much Disney’s representation of Latin and Hispanic traditions means to them. “Disney’s been in my family for a very long time and just to see my own images represented, my own culture represented, is really special and I hope it will be for everybody watching,” actress Aimee Carrero, the voice of Elena, toldGood Morning America.
Rodriguez agrees, describing the character of Elena as a potential role model for young Latina girls. “They need their face reflected back to them.”
“But beyond that, little girls of every nationality, every color, will be able to see themselves in her.”
Elena of Avalor premieres on July 22 on Disney Channel, with its first episode available to stream on the Disney Channel app.