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?