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When director Rob Marshall chose Halle Bailey as the protagonist of the live-action The little Mermaid, the lead singer of R&B duo Chloe x Halle sought advice from her mentor, the multitalented Beyoncé. Various controversies have arisen about Bailey’s choice as a flesh-and-blood version of Disney’s Triton’s daughter, in the name of politically correctness that increasingly characterizes Hollywood’s choices in various contexts. Hailey Bailey was confirmed as the new Ariel when she was 18, during a casting call that drew mixed reactions. Some praised Disney for its inclusive hearings, and others objected to racism and bigotry.
Considered a protégé of Beyoncé who also had the live action Disney experience voicing Nala ne The Lion King of 2019, Bailey claimed to have received “very good advice” by the Grammy winner after landing the role of Ariel. “She has always been very flattering and proud of me. Beyoncé has been one of my biggest inspirations since I was 3,” Bailey told EW and added, “She told me not to give up and believe I can do it, believe in myself.”
The new Ariel
Ariel of Bailey is the youngest daughter of King Triton (Javier Bardem), ruler of an underwater kingdom of mermaids. He longs to know more about the surface world and feels a special bond with a human, Prince Eric (Jonah Hauer-King), which he saves from a shipwreck. Ariel makes a deal with the sea witch Ursula (Melissa McCarthy) to walk on dry land, but it’s a deal that threatens Triton’s entire realm.
Bailey’s personal life
Bailey understands the family dynamics of this story viewed her personal life, perhaps even more as she grew up in the spotlight alongside her older sister. “I’ve always had guidance, I’ve always had my sister [Chlöe] to hold my hand,” she says. “I’ve never done something like Ariel, by myself. So this has been a really big and transformative experience for me. It’s like the first time I went out alone.”