The day has finally arrived — the official introduction of Elena of Avalor, the first Latina Disney Princess.
Princess Elena will make her royal debut on the Disney Channel series, Elena of Avalor. Viewers will be taken into the enchanted fairytale land of Avalor, where the bold and compassionate Elena is learning to become a great leader as crown princess. When Disney first announced Elena in January 2015, two of the biggest arguments from critics were why didn’t Elena have an actual ethnicity and why wasn’t she getting a movie.
RELATED: Everything We Know About Elena of Avalor (So Far!)
But there’s a bigger picture here: Latinos, as a whole, we’re being represented! We’re finally being seen, and that is perhaps the most important message behind this creation. This is our time, mi gente!
We caught up with Aimee Carrero (voice of Elena), Craig Gerber (creative genius behind the series) and Silvia Cardenas Olivias (story editor) recently to talk about what makes Elena of Avalor extra special, why it was developed into a series rather than a film and more.
Watch it all in our video above!
Press: Aimee Carrero of ‘Elena of Avalor’ shares her Excitement for the first Disney Latina Princess
On Friday, Disney will make history premiering its new show “Elena of Avalor.” The show marks the first time a Latina Princess headlines a Disney original. The new show will include a number of cultural references and will feature musical numbers that have Spanish rhythms.
Latin Post had a chance to speak to Aimee Carrero, the Dominican actress who will bring the princess to life. Carrero shared her experience working in animation and how she is excited for audiences to see the first Latina princess.
Latin Post: How did you get involved with the project?
Aimee Carrero: I got involved with the typical audition process. I sent in a tape and then they called me back and then I went in a couple of times and it was a pretty long process. It was about to two months with singing auditions and acting auditions. Then I got the great call but I actually had no idea what I was auditioning for.
LP: What did it feel like to be playing a Latina princess?
AC: It feels amazing. I think that it’s a good time to tell this story and I think people have been waiting a long time for it. So it feels like an honor, like a privilege, like a responsibility but most of all, I feel like I’m a part of a very important time in history.
LP: Tell me three qualities that this character help make a role model for Latina girls who are watching this show?
AC: Well Elena’s three strongest qualities are her compassion, her autonomy and her boldness. She is someone who will always try again and she has shown tremendous courage in the face of adversity. And she is always just trying to find her truth and doing the right thing. I think that for little girls and boys watching I hope that she encourages them to be themselves and to be brave.
LP: How important do you think this is for television and especially for Latin American girls?
AC: I hope it will be very inspiring. I think that young audiences need to see a Latina woman or a woman of color in a position of power and doing a great job. That is an important image to impress on young viewers and I also think it is a universal story. If we move beyond the cultural and gender issues I think this is about a person trying to find her place in the world. Elena is a daughter, a granddaughter, a sister, a friend but she has an immense responsibility. We all wear different hats in our lives and we are all trying to do our best. So more than anything I hope that they see a layered human being.
LP: Do you think this will open up opportunities for more diverse characters on television?
AC: I really hope so. I think that all we have to do is show anyone who is skeptical of showing diversity in media, that we are all made of the same thing and that we all deal with the same problems.
LP: What is fun about working in an animated TV environment?
AC: Well I’ve never done it before so it was a brand new experience. As an actor you have your tools, so you have your face, your voice and your body. So when some of those tools are removeed then it presents big challenges. Luckily I felt like I was in good hands with my producers because they know how to do the job. They were very quick to give direction and it’s really fun. I think I expected it to be a little easier than it was to be honest because everyone kept telling me to get a voice gig and I was like I will never be able to do this. So it has been wonderfully challenging and I am glad that I am doing it and I hope to do it for many years to come.
LP: Before going into the studio did you get to see any sketches of the character?
AC: I actually did. They had a very preliminary drawing of what Elena looked like. It was nice to have an image. I don’t know if it changed my performance at all but it’s nice to have a picture in my mind of what she looked like. But there is nothing like seeing on your TV. It’s really amazing.
LP: How did you grow as an actress after this experience?
AC: I think that I stretched myself beyond what I thought I was able to do. And I think the singing was a big part of the challenge. I was not super confident in my voice and I had no experience in a booth. I did musical theater but never anything voiceover related. I think when you put yourself in uncomfortable situations professionally, I think it can only help you grow. So I hope that this is just adding a little to the muscles that I didn’t realize I had.
LP: What can we expect from this series that we have not seen before?
AC: I think something you haven’t seen before is the Latina princess but I also think it’s a story that people will really relate to. I know that what makes it special is the Latina part but I think people will find it relatable. I think the show is really special. Disney has never done anything like this. I mean we run the gamut from salsa to tango to mariachi. It’s really cool and I’m really excited about the music and it will drop people into that world immediately.
Here’s the second batch of Aimee interviews that have surfaced of her promoting Elena of Avalor. I will add the screencaptures soon. Enjoy!
A bunch of Aimee interviews have surfaced of her promoting Elena of Avalor. There’s a bunch so I will be dividing them up. I will add the screencaptures soon. Enjoy!Enjoy!
I’ve added over a dozen new photos of Aimee from the Elena of Avalor Beverly Hills premiere and replaced many of the MQ images to HQ images thanks to my friend Carol. She looks radiant. Enjoy the photos!
Aimee was on KTLA Morning news this morning. She was adorable as usual. She discusses Elena of Avalor which airs this Friday!
One of the knocks against Disney has been that despite a wide variety of princesses in the company’s TV and film productions, there has not been one to represent the Hispanic population. That changes with the launch of “Elena of Avalor.”
The new animated series for the Disney Channel is set in a fictitious world, but the princess and the country where she lives definitely have been inspired by Latin cultures and folklore. The series will follow Elena (voiced by Aimee Carrero), a 16-year-old ascendant to the throne of the fairytale kingdom of Avalor.
Carrero, who was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and grew up in the community of Miami, knew from the moment she was cast this wasn’t just another in a long line of acting roles.
“I think about the importance every single day. It’s an incredible honor. There are no words to describe it,” Carrero says. “I guess that’s not good for you since you are writing a story.”
Carrero found plenty to say about the show, which exists in the same world as the mega Disney Jr. hit “Sofia the First.” It’s a little easier for her to talk about the series now that the first season has been completed. Seeing little girls dressed as Elena, who tell her how much they are inspired by the character, has been enough to bring her to tears.
Carrero knows how they feel since she spent a lot of time at Disney World, where her uncle worked and an Imagineer. She was moved as a youngster by the Disney princesses, especially those who showed an adventurous side such as Mulan, Jasmine or Cinderella.
What she sees as an adventurous quality she calls curiosity in herself. Carrero is certain she got into acting because she was curious what it would be like to be another person. In a moment of pure honesty, Carrero admits that acting came along by default because she couldn’t sing or dance.
It’s worked out so far as her credits include “Level Up,” “Blue Lagoon: The Awakening,” “Devil’s Due” and “The Americans.” She’s also one of the stars of “Young & Hungry.” She hopes to be able to continue with that series or star in a potential spinoff along with doing the voice work.
“Elena of Avalor” is the first voice work for Carrero. She loves the challenge because it gives her the chance to work with a different kind of partner, the animators. And, there are the writers who have created a character who while not perfect is very positive and willing to learn
“I hope people pick up that leadership is not about power,” Carrero says. “It’s about doing what is best even if that comes at a great sacrifice. I hope that kids can see that.”
The bigger picture is that now Disney has a Latina princess to go along with the other princesses from around the world.
There are no plans now, but because her series is animated, there’s always a chance a Disney princess might stop by to visit in the future. Carrero’s choices for guest spots include Tatiana, Mulan or Sleeping Beauty.
Carrero laughs and says that Snow White would probably be terrified of Elena.
The rest of the cast includes Jenna Ortega, Chris Parnell, Yvette Nicole Brown, Carlos Alazraqui, Emiliano Díez, Julia Vera, Christian Lanz, Jillian Rose Reed, Joseph Haro and Jorge Diaz.
Aimee was at the Beverly Hills premiere for Elena of Avalor with the cast a few days ago and she looked ADORABLE. They cut a cake for her birthday.. with Elena on the cake! So cute. Thanks to AliKat for some of these.