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Disney Announces First Latina Princess, Elena of Avalor

Disney Announces First Latina Princess, Elena of Avalor

Posted by Juan Gavasa on January 31, 2015

Disney will have a tad more cultural diversity amongst their cast of princesses next year when Princess Elena of Avalor (see bottom) makes her debut on the animated TV show Sofia the First.

In Sofia the First, Sofia (voiced by Ariel Winter, Alex in Modern Family) has in her possession an amulet which allows her to talk to animals and summon Disney princesses. In Elena's debut episode, it will be revealed that 16-year-old Elena has been trapped within the amulet (pictured left) by an evil sorceress, and Sofia has to help Elena escape and restore her kingdom of Avalor.

From there, a spin-off show will kick off centred around Elena who is a "bold, caring, funny and clever… a confident and compassionate teenager in an enchanted fairytale kingdom inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore." She'll be voiced by the Cartoon Network's Aimee Carrero.

Nancy Kanter from Disney Junior Worldwide says the creative team has worked hard to deliver "a universal story with themes that authentically reflect the hopes and dreams of our diverse audience."

"What excites us most is the chance to use distinctive animation and visual design to tell wonderful stories influenced by culture and traditions that are familiar to the worldwide population of Hispanic and Latino families and reflect the interests and aspirations of all children as told through a classic fairy tale."

To make sure they get all their cultural inspiration right, Disney will have a number of advisors on hand, including Harvard professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Spanish, Doris Sommer, and the managing director of an international Latino arts initiative, Marcela Davison Aviles.

Disney decision to create a show around Elena of Avalor seems like a positive response from the company who came under criticism in 2012, when an executive producer said Sofia was Latina - a baffling statement seeing as she's auburn-haired, blue-eyed, and obviously white.

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