Earlier last week, Disney’s unveiling of Princess Sofia caused an uproar amongst certain people. Once executive producer Jamie Mitchell told Entertainment Weekly“She is Latina,” making her the first-ever Hispanic Disney princess, other executives tried to tone down that notion. Joe D’Ambrosia, vice president of Disney Junior original programming, toned down the promotion saying, “We never actually call it out. When we go into schools [to talk to young students about the show], what I find fascinating is that every girl thinks that they’re Sofia.” But that didn’t stop people from complaining that she wasn’t Latina looking, because of her fair skin and light eyes. They forgot about the notion of Latinas coming in a variety of shades. To add salt to the disappointment and to correct assumptions, Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide, took to the Princess Sofia Facebook page to address the controversy surrounding the new Disney character:

What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures. The writers have wisely chosen to write stories that include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds including Spain and Latin America. For example, Sofia’s mom comes from a fictitious land, Galdiz, which was inspired by Spain [...] this creates a world of diversity and inclusion that sends just the right kind of message to all children — “Look around you, appreciate the differences you see and celebrate what makes us all the same.” I am eager for you and your children to meet Sofia and experience her world together!

Another Disney executive chimed in as well. Craig Gerber, a coexecutive producer and writer for “Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess,” added more detail on Sofia’s heritage, describing her as “a mixed-heritage princess in a fairy-tale world. Her mother is originally from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Spain (Galdiz) and her birth father hailed from an enchanted kingdom inspired by Scandinavia,” according to E! News.

So there you have it folks, Princess Sofia, a fictional Disney character, not only is a cartoon, but a “mixed-heritage” princess. Score one for the mixed chicks?

11 Comments

  1. Ange B

    She could have looked more like Dora…I’m not sure what background that character is suppose to be but she does speak Spanish and looks more Latin than this Princess…fair wins out in the end.

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  2. Talk about manufactured controversies. The people who run these American media companies (Disney etc.) clearly have limited imaginations. They’re stuck in a rut and they don’t even realize it. I’m tired of the princess story. Surely there are other stories to be told about young women and girls: stories that don’t involve them being rich and pampered, being rescued from castles by charming princes, and living happily ever after? I think folks with kids should look to independent and international media options for their kids’ entertainment and education. Kids have hungry minds. We should be introducing them to a world that is complex and diverse. We should also be encouraging them to use their imaginations. I just don’t see that happening with this princess thing, even if they change the princess’s ethnicity every year.

    On the mixed heritage of this particular princess: To be honest, I don’t think there’s anything controversial about describing someone half Spaniard and half Scandinavian as having mixed heritage. Her heritage is mixed. Her parents speak different languages and have different cultural traditions. Nobody has a monopoly on the word “mixed” and what it means.

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  3. kristine

    “..stories that include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds..”

    this concept is nice, but it really doesn’t sit well with me. the idea that familiar cultural aspects are attributed to a girl who looks mostly Anglo is a concept that could potentially confuse a lot of young ones. i’m korean, and korea is probably #1 in the plastic surgery industry. i haven’t been back in over 10 years, but i hear that a good 80-90% of the girls have at least one thing done to their face. to look how? to have bigger eyes, higher noses, and so forth – features that are normally not natural to koreans and more identifiable with Caucasians.

    ah i have to go so i can’t finish this comment, but i think this sentiment is prevalent enough to for my point to be conveyed and understood.

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  4. Yeah, I have a feeling that we are crying more than the bereaved.

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