The Ethnic Animated Princesses, Ladies & Girls of Disney

The last 4 Disney Princesses are of ethnic/exotic origin :D
The last 4 Disney Princesses are of ethnic/exotic origin :D


Ethnic isn't the right word to me, because everyone in this world white, black, brown,blue,yellow, green...whatever has an ethnicity of some kind. Given this is the more publicly accepted means of referring to someone who's not white or Caucasian, it's the term I'll use here.

This is the second in my Disney & Race mini series, and my ode to the female characters of ethnic origin/background in Disney animated features. Some of them are not princesses but still leading women in their own right. I guess every father considers their daughter to be a little princess, so in some form every lady or girl spoken about here is a princess.

When I was a child I never felt like I needed to identify with a Disney princess, I just loved the films. When Jasmine came on the scene I still hadn't realised she wasn't white. I mean I knew she was but it didn't click. I grew up...my entire childhood and early teens was spent in cosmopolitan Trinidad I never really new colour until my teens and I was firmly living in England.

Before long came Pocahontas, I also loved her and then Mulan. I was and still am very feisty and loved that they had a spark or three in them. In friendship circles we'd pick princesses that we'd become...metaphorically. I became Jasmine.

I'm mixed raced and one of the races, I'm mixed with is Indian so friends thought she suited better than Pocahontas. I didn't become Jasmine purely on skin colour, race but more so my eyes. I've got a pair of big eyes, so much that I went by Mickey Mouse eyes as a small child. A nickname coined by my gran and Jasmine has a right pair on her...eyes that is!

It wasn't until my very late teens when the topic of ethnic princesses was on my mind. Perhaps I was naïve or in love with Disney's 2d features too much to care. We had discussions here and there but I never saw it as a problem, Iike Disney needed to do more.

I felt represented by the myriad of ethnic characters I did see in their films. I see bits of me in each of them...Ariel too even though she's not ethnic, thought I'd holla at her...she's half fish after all that's mixed race-ish right :D

but I was glad to have a black one to add to it too :)

They appear in chronological order, of their release dates.

All pics are from photobucket, disney-clipart.com, allphotoinmovie, deviantart

Jasmine

The second lead and star's love interest in Disney's 1992 feature Aladdin. As mentioned before, she and I have shared many things together. She represents my first identifying moment to an animated character.

She is sexy, funny, intelligent, feisty and won't be made to marry anyone she does not choose. Her willpower and determination makes her defiant but she uses her powers for good. She fights for freedom and love.

We're similar, in colour, long jet black air (I had mine cut) and eyes an hourglass figures...I'm chubbier though- bitch! Her outfits changes a fair bit in the film, its sequels and the TV series, but she is best know for the one in the picture.

I think she's Major and the FIRST ETHNIC PRINCESS.

Pocahantas

The star/heroine of the 1995 film of the same name. First and only princess to have two love interest...giggity! and second in line to my Disney alter-ego. I love me some her. I identified with her on many levels but I've got Carib in me/family which is one of the Native Indians of the Caribbean, so as a child I thought of us as distant cousins..looking back it all seems a little sad :D

She's a man's woman, like me. A bit of a tom boy and not afraid of getting a little dirty. Her name means "Little Mischief", totally me. OK, OK I'll stop now. I know this isn't why they're like me hub, but I just really love Disney films.

She is noble,free spirited, very spiritual and wise beyond her years....meeeeee. Sorry I am trying :) She's an adventure girl and nature lover who gets to chat with Grandmother Willow Tree; who wouldn't love that!

She's Fierce! 2nd Ethnic Disney Princess!

Esmeralda

Of the1996 film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She's hot! Who doesn't like a belly dancing gypsy. She uses her talents to earn a living and has an amazing sidekick, the goat Djalili. She strongly believes in justice and is a strong, independent woman who fights for those who are unable to.

She's witty with a dry, sarcy sense of humour....don't really want to but this is why I loved her her humour is similar to mine.

She's not a princess, as in born of royalty but she's a rock star....gypsy style!

From the left [top half of the pic]: Thalia,Clio,Calliope,Melpome,Terpsichore
From the left [top half of the pic]: Thalia,Clio,Calliope,Melpome,Terpsichore
Favourite bit in the film- I Won't Say I'm in Love.
Favourite bit in the film- I Won't Say I'm in Love.

The Muses

Probably some of my all time favourite Disney characters. They are fun funny, beautiful and can SING! In my humble opinion they have some of the best Disney songs- Zero to Hero A Star is Born and the best of the lot I Won't Say I'm In Love.

They first appeared in the 1997 film Hercules Disney's adaptation of Greek Mythology and later on in the TV Series of the same name, chronicling Herc's high school days.

I especially love their varied heights, body types hair, outfits and personality. hey were individuals in their own right and sexy * Sa Toya likes*

My sister and had many arguments in our childhood about which Muse represented us or vice versa. I was torn between Calliope, I am the eldest so in charge :P and Melpomene, I had long hair, not that long but was also overly dramatic and Thalia-plump and hella funny.

Proper Intro's for these ladies, I hear you cry well...

Calliope: sports the headband and BIG, curly hair. She's the leader of the muses and is the Muse of epic tales.

Melpomene: the long-haired drama queen or more eloquently put the Muse of drama.

Clio: has an elegant ponytail with a manic quiff and is the Muse of history, as such has a more subdued or reserved manner, I think.

Terpsichore: She has short, kinky hair and is the Dance Muse.

Thalia: the shortest of the group and plumpest is the Muse of comedy, her humour can be easily seen in the film, one of my favourites is during the song I Won't Say I'm In Love with Megara, her bust's head is detached and 'seated' next to her.

They are Divas Divine, Darling!

Mulan

Fa Mulan of the 1998 film of the same name.

She's a different kettle of female. As Daft Punk once put it she's harder, faster, stronger...braver. She is outspoken and clumsy...story of my life-yes at some point I'd stop this...

It's the perfect butterfly story, she's very insecure and hates herself at the start but at the end she is confident and loving her. I believe or know rather that I'm not the only girl/woman that had to move from self hate to self in love.

The love of her family, compels her to go out into the harsh, warring world and battle on behalf of her father. She even gets a hottie at the end- not that, that's what life's about...it's surely a bonus, if there ever was one. I guess it proves men lurve confidence.

I admire her independence and strength, probably the strongest of them all.

She is HARDcore!

Someone's a tad sexy :D
Someone's a tad sexy :D

Princess 'Kida' Kidakagash

Love interest of Milo James Thatch, the protagonist of the 2001 film Atlantis:The Lost Empire. She is the princess of the Atlantean people.

Her mother died when she was a very young child, so she is very close to her father, the King of Atlantis.

She is sexy hexy, very VERY curvy and beautiful. Even her little Atlantean outfit is overtly sexual but that's because she's a meaty, curvy girl. She is the Heart of Atlantis, a role inherited from her mother as all the Queens/princesses before her. She is strong, feisty, loving, maternal, compassionate and grateful. She's willing to battle for her people.

I even forgive Disney's ripping off of Storm concerning the look of the Atlanteans.

Her lack of prominence in the Disney princess world, probably has a lot to do with the film not doing as well as most Disney films have. Shame though...

She is MAJOR!

Having a heart to heart about Ohana; Hawaiian Ideology of Family.
Having a heart to heart about Ohana; Hawaiian Ideology of Family.
Lilo and her best buddy,dog,alien Stitch
Lilo and her best buddy,dog,alien Stitch

Lilo and Nani Pelekai

Lilo is one of the leads, while Nani is a secondary but main character in the 2002 film Lilo & Stitch.

They are Hawaiian as such added a new dimension to Disney, they facilitated a look into a culture most of the world is aware of but probably have no personal experience with it.

I have a lot of love for this sister duo; and their relationship and love they have for each other.

Lilo is a little girl with long, black hair and brown eyes. She is sweet and generally a good child, who can be naughty at times, like most kids. Generally she's mostly misunderstood because of her eccentric personality. She wishes for someone to be her friend and never leave her. Her wish is granted in the blue alien, hot mess that is Stitch.

Nani is Lilo's older sister and legal guardian. They are both orphans. I'm not sure how old she is but I believe in the TV series, it hinted at her being 19/20 years old. I watch it with my little brother. In the initial film, I assumed she was 18.She is also the reason Lilo gets Stitch. She allows her to adopt him from the pound.

She is often very busy and very stressed. She must take care of their household financially and Lilo maternally. She is loving and goes all out for her baby sis but Lilo oftens confuses her at times. She is gentle but can be quite strict/tough. She is the matriarch of the film and show. The voice of reason, the advice giver with pretty bad cooking abilities.

She often has to deal with the aftermath of Lilo and Stich's escapades, which interferes with her relationship with her boyfriend, David. It provides comedy for the show. Overall she holds it down and her biggest fear is losing Lilo.

I loved the portrayal of sisters, how they love each other one minute and then are at each other's throats the net...very accurate ;)

They are a Supreme Team!

Shanti

She is the heroine of the 2003 film The Jungle Book 2. It's a straight to DVD film. She is Asian.

Shanti appeared in the first film (1967 Jungle Book), at the end. She was the girl who lured Mowgli away from the jungle into the Man Village.

I was very disappointed that her character wasn't thoroughly developed. She could have given so much more. That's the film's problem it concentrates too much on the jungle when it should have focused more on the village.

I liked her. She is demure but a friend to all; very caring and concerned about the well being of the village, Ranjan and Mowgoli. She is however very fearful of the jungle; so can be a little uptight. Her opinions of the jungle changes in the film when she encounters Baloo.

She's a sweetheart.

Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana
Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana

Tianna

Tiana, the first African American/black and newest princess of the 2009 film Princess and the Frog.

I things she's ace. It's been long overdue and so what she's a frog for 70% of the film, it's the ride that counts....right?!

She is a waitress and wannabe restaurant owner at the start of the film. Determined, motivated, strong, independent, feisty. Definitely feistier than the princesses before her. She needed refining before capturing the true nature of a princess.

She Is so independent that she rather do things for herself, by herself. No assistance required. As such learns throughout the film that a career isn't everything and that everyone needs a hand.

I really enjoy her and she has one of the best voices of the princesses; all velvety and warm. Anika Noni Rose did an amazing job. The film also teaches us that love is love, whether you're a mucussy, slimy little frog or a dazzling princess.

She wears a couple of different outfits in the film but will be mostly known for the blue one in the picture. I do wish it was another colour though; it's too similar to Cinderella's gown. I prefer the one in the second picture. It's green and leafy and ties in with the froggy theme.

She's charismatic and willing to learn. Her dreams matter and she'll go all out to get them. I like that.

She's a REAL Gem.

Overall

I love that Disney creates, strong, independent women who aren't afraid to fight and are feisty to the max. I also love that they all must learn a lesson too; which shows growth in a person as an individual. I say this regardless of ethnicity.

I would firmly state the progress in growth of diversity and personality with princesses in particular. It makes a great change from Cinderella who is saved by mice and Aurora who sleeps half the time. They lacked personality.

I believe Ariel started the change....and it was good.

I think perhaps a Disney version of the Princess and the Pea, or even Rapunzel but make it a Latina next please :D...or another ethnicity all together. Disney should work it's way up to a full set.

February HubLove #16

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Comments 6 comments

fits4life profile image

fits4life 6 years ago from Richmond

These girls are beautiful. This is a lovely hub. This hub has definently educated me on the princesses, since I grew up as a tom-boy. My daughters love Tianna. I think its because she looks more like them. Thanks. Good job.


Sa Toya profile image

Sa Toya 6 years ago from England Author

I'm a tom boy myself.

I agree with you on the Tianna love. It does help when they look more like you :D

Thanks for stopping by and reading.


Katrina Ariel profile image

Katrina Ariel 6 years ago from The Highlands of British Columbia, Canada

This is a great hub! I didn't know of some of these characters, and I think you did an excellent job of highlighting their strengths. It's great to see more 'real' variety in the fairy tales.


frndlyghost profile image

frndlyghost 6 years ago from California Wine Country

I love your hub :) I agree, Anika Noni Rose did an awesome job as Princess Tiana. You also mentioned characters I wasn't aware of, which sparked my interest even more. I'm glad Disney finally added an African-American princess to their lineup.


teddybears 2 years ago

I only just found this post but in the midst of some really asinine things being said about Disney and racism, I found nothing but respect and love for this post. You not only highlighted the ethnically diverse leading ladies amazing roles, you did it without insulting the Caucasian/European ones. You said everything with love and respect for these characters and it made me so happy to see someone who is capable of loving ethnically diverse things without hating Caucasian/European things in return. the comments before are right that some of these characters aren't well known enough and surely don't get the credit they deserve but you worded this so wonderfully that I thought I'd share it with my circle of friends and spread the love for our ethnically diverse leading ladies who need more credit in a way that makes them equal to our other leading ladies.


Anate profile image

Anate 2 years ago

This was a good article.

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