Actor and singer Halle Bailey shared an emotional reveal on Monday of a new doll made in her image, as the first Black actor to portray Ariel in the forthcoming live-action Disney remake of The Little Mermaid.
“I am literally choking up because this means so much to me,” Bailey said in a video shared on her Twitter and Instagram accounts for her more than 5 million followers. “And to have one that looks like me, that’s my favorite Disney character, is very surreal.”
Holding back understandable happy tears, Bailey emotionally pointed out the doll’s lookalike features, including a facial mole matching her own. Fans took to the comments to share congratulations and to join in on her enthusiasm, including Bailey’s sister and fellow musician, Chloe Bailey, who commented, “IM BUYING 100 OF THEM!!!”
The live-action remake of the 1989 animated classic is set to hit theaters on May 26. It will premiere in the wake of online criticism of the titular character being portrayed by a Black actor, despite the industry-wide call for greater representation on screen. Bailey’s previously opened up about feeling overwhelming pressure to do the character justice — for both her younger self and other fans — amid a growing online conversation that’s been impatiently awaiting the film drop since her casting was announced in 2019.
While the new adaptation has stirred multiple conversations criticizing the Disney production, including artistic choices made by directors and animators, The Little Mermaid release has seen an equally sizeable outpouring of support — especially from those excited to see themselves in the role of an iconic Disney princess.
The new Mattel doll will be available on shelves this spring.