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.