Disney's Elena of Avalor Cast Interview & NYC Screening

by - 7/19/2016 09:55:00 AM

Just when I thought I couldn't love Disney anymore, they released what I didn't realize I have been waiting for my entire life...a Latina Princess. Have you ever received a gift and thought, how have I lived without this for so long?

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

Note: I was invited as media to this event. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

Written by Melissa Velazquez, who is JustaBXmom living, loving and learning about life while parenting a beautiful, brilliant, bicultural daughter. 

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

That's how I felt after sitting in the theater watching a VIP screening for the first episode of Disney Channel’s “Elena of Avalor,” along with the series cast, story editor and producer.

When I grew up, Disney Princesses didn't look like, sound, listen to the same music or eat the same food as I did. I still loved them and I didn't think anything of it. But I didn't realize how much I needed to see a princess like me.

As I sat in the theater with my three year old daughter, I thought "I've finally found my princess"!

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

Elena of Avalor is amazing!

I love that my daughter will grow up knowing there IS a Latina princess in the Disney Universe. I love that she had the opportunity to meet Aimee Carrero the beautiful actress that voices Princess Elena. Can I say how amazing, charming and kind she was to my baby? She even gave her a big hug at the end of the screening.

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

Since Elena is of Avalor, this makes her yet another type of Latina in a Diaspora. Princess Elena doesn't belong to only Puerto Ricans. She doesn't belong to only Dominicans. She doesn't belong to only Mexicans, Guatamalens, Spaniards or any other specific Latino ethnicity. She belongs to us all.

Our children (and us) will be able to see reflections of ourselves in this character no matter your ethnicity.

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

After the screening, there was a short Q&A with the cast and producers. While listening to the questions and answers, I could tell that they really love being part of this series.

When asked how Elena of Avalor would avoid pitfalls of Latino stereotypes, Craig Gerber ( Creator/Executive Producer) assured us that the team behind Elena is full of diversity.

Craig feels that by having diverse voices in the room it helps to prevent stereotypes. But if they do somehow surface, they can get broken down quickly with the crew available to supply insight and fact. Craig shared that there is lots of research done behind the stories that we will see. Craig shared he has grown up around Latino cultures so he loves and respects the culture as a whole.

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

Then Silvia Cardenas Olivas (Story Editor) shared that the underlying theme we will see throughout the series is leadership. Elena will learn how to lead the people of Avalor and work with her Council for advice. She'll also have adventures with her friends.

Aimee Carrero (voice of Elena) shared how amazing it feels to be part of this project. She shared that growing up she felt like many of us did when she didn't see herself represented in the media. She said that she could have used the inspiration of seeing someone like her that listened to the music she listened to, had grandparents like hers or even sounded like her. Aimee shared that she is honored to be part of this project that is so important.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Silvia briefly after the screening about how important Elena is to both our children and to ourselves. Finally having representation is a triumph. It was an emotional moment for both of us and I was able to see how deeply she feels about the series. Everyone involved really seems invested and I look forward to seeing more of Elena and her adventures.

Elena of Avalor is said to be designed for children 2 - 7 but I believe she will capture the hearts of many more.

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

Princess Elena of Avalor will make her royal debut in the animated series "Elena of Avalor," with a one-hour premiere event FRIDAY, JULY 22 (7:00-8:00 p.m., EDT), on Disney Channel.

Set in the enchanted fairytale land of Avalor, the series tells the story of Elena, a brave and adventurous teenager who has saved her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must now learn to rule as crown princess until she is old enough to be queen. Elena’s journey will lead her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders.

The stories incorporate influences from diverse Latin and Hispanic cultures through architecture, traditions, food and customs. Magic, mythology, folklore and music also play an important role, with each episode featuring original songs spanning an array of Latin musical styles including Mariachi, Latin Pop, Salsa, Banda and Chilean Hip Hop.

"Elena of Avalor" stars Aimee Carrero as the voice of Elena; Jenna Ortega as Princess Isabel; Chris Parnell, Yvette Nicole Brown and Carlos Alazraqui as the jaquins Migs, Luna and Skylar respectively; Emiliano Díez as Francisco; Julia Vera as Luisa; Christian Lanz as Chancellor Esteban; Jillian Rose Reed as Naomi; Joseph Haro as Mateo; Jorge Diaz as Gabe; Keith Ferguson as Zuzo; and Joe Nunez as Armando.

To learn more about Elena of Avalor, visit - www..disney.com/elena-of-avalor

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