From a Zendaya Barbie doll to the announcement of the newest Disney princess, Moana, little girls of color are gaining representation.
Disney announced Wednesday (Oct. 7) that 14-year-old Auli’i Cravalho from Oahu, Hawaii, will provide the voice for the new Pacific Island princess in the film bearing the character’s name. Cravalho, who is half-black and half-Samoan, is very excited to be the newest princess in Disney’s diversifying lineup.
“Moana is such an amazing character,” Cravalho told People. “She’s brave, she is so empowered, she knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to get it, and I think that’s something that I can relate to as well. I just love watching how she goes along in this wonderful movie and grows as a person and helps her culture along the way.”
— Disney (@Disney) October 7, 2015
Moana tells the tale of a teenager from the Pacific Islands 2,000 years ago who goes on a quest to fulfill her ancestor’s prophecy. Cravalho, who was chosen out of thousands of girls who auditioned for the part, will star alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – who plays a demigod named Maui (right) – in the film. She said she has “always wanted to be” a Disney princess and was not confident she’d get the role.
“I was getting through my freshman year, and there were already so many great submissions over YouTube,” she said. However, her singing skills definitely helped her nab the role. A casting director saw her sing during a charity competition and sent her off to Hollywood, where she was cast.
Moana is slated to be released on November 23, 2016.