This year, Disney premiered its first Latina princess: Elena Castillo Flores, better known as Elena of Avalor. She sings and plays guitar, she goes on adventures, rules her kingdom and has her own highly rated animated TV show.
The 16-year-old crown princess had been trapped in an amulet for 41 years (so technically, she’s 57 — which might make her one of Disney’s oldest princesses, but that’s another story). Her backstory begins when another animated Disney princess, Sofia the First, sets her free. Elena confronts the evil sorceress Shuriki, voiced by Jane Fonda, who killed her parents and took over the kingdom.
Elena avenges her parents, drives Shuriki out, and begins her reign over the port city of Avalor. “She is the first princess actively ruling her kingdom, and I think that’s new,” says Aimee Carrero, the Dominican-Puerto Rican actress who lends her voice to Elena. “So she has a day job. You know, there’s no Prince Charming, she’s her own hero. She’s learning that leadership is about sacrifice, and not about this sort of totalitarian control over the people she rules — and sort of resembles more of a president than princess. There’s never been a better time to tell this story.”
Image: Disney Channel