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Friday, 24 June 2016

My Fave Five Disney Princesses

Since I was a little girl, probably the biggest appeal that Disney had to me (aside from the awesome family holidays) was of course, the Disney Princesses.

Looking around five year old Mercedes' bedroom, you would have seen all sorts of knick-knacks; a replica Cinderella Glass Slipper, several Princess dolls, a Mrs. Potts teapot accompanying a china Chip and fancy dress costumes including Mulan, Jasmine and a beautiful Snow White dress which was handmade by my late Grandmother.

Looking around my bedroom currently, you'll find that the Jasmine costume has been traded in for a pair of equally as comfortable Jasmine 
pyjamas and of course, there's that almighty collection of Disney Blu Rays... not much has changed in twenty years.

So here it is, the 'official' list of my favourite Disney Princesses. This is probably, of all my posts, the one most dear to my heart and definitely the one that has taken the longest to compose!

I hope you enjoy it.


5. Merida

Merida and my sister Morgan in Disneyland Paris, 2016
"...of clan DunBroch." 

I've touched upon this before in my recent Moana post, but for me, Merida will always hold a special place in my heart because of my little sister Morgan. Growing up, Morgan had a mass of untameable curly hair and an even more untameable determination so naturally, she gravitated towards the Princess that she could most identify with; feisty Princess Merida

On all Disney vacations, we would have to queue for hours so that Morgan could get a photo, autograph and a cuddle with the Scottish Princess. Morgan and I also found it very amusing to scream 'Mordu!' and 'I can't breathe, it's too tight!' at each other in a Scottish accent. Merida was an important part of Morgan's childhood.

Whilst technically Brave is a Pixar movie, Merida is one of the official Disney Princesses so she totally counts in this list! Don't believe me? You can watch her coronation here:

Famously 'shooting for [her] own hand', Merida is also the first Disney Princess to not have a love interest featured within her movie. She is truly a Princess for the 21st Century. And of course, she's British too! Merida is a total bad a** and gives little girls everywhere something totally different to aspire to... which can only be a good thing.


And that's why Merida is my fifth favourite Disney Princess.
Girl power!

4. Princess Aurora

Morgan, Aurora, Me and Jo at WDW, 2012
Now, in total contrast to my admiration for Merida's devotion to feminism and forward thinking, we have Princess Aurora...

Sleeping Beauty, Briar Rose, call her what you will, she is the Princess who famously has only 18 speaking lines in her movie as she is tragically upstaged by her Prince and the evil Maleficent. You may recall Maleficent recently got her own movie in fact...

I digress.

So why then does Aurora, the seemingly repressed 1950s Princess make the cut? It's quite simple really: look at her!

She's so beautiful. She has a pretty pink dress. Look at her tiara. Her hair is like gold. I want to touch it...

I warned you that this listing was like the 'anti-feminist' to Merida's progression! Objectifying a fictional character, shame on me...

But seriously. As a little girl with thick dark hair, brown eyes and tanned skin, I was always a little in awe of this seemingly 'perfect' blonde bombshell who, by the way, had a ballgown that could change colour with magic - do you know how unique that is? Pretty much all of the Disney Princesses get just the one ballgown that they wear on merchandise and at Disney Park appearances but Aurora has one that changes colour! This really excited me as a little girl, obviously I'm over it now... I'll just leave this here:

And as such, Aurora has always been a favourite. I also love the deep, soulful operatic vocal stylings of Mary Costa, the voice of Walt's 1959 Princess which is worth noting as for the first time in Disney's casting history, a female role did not simply comprise of sickly sweet singing.


Of Walt's three original Princesses, Aurora is, in my opinion, the best and so for that reason also, she's got the fourth spot on my list!

3. Pocahontas

Jennifer Oakes (former 'Pocahontas') with her daughter meeting Pocahontas in Orlando
As a 90s kid, it's unsurprising that the three ladies sitting in the top spots of this list are all Renaissance Princesses. Coming in third, we have Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan, leader of the Native American Powhatan tribe. 

Now this entry is a bit of an odd one in that it is really my love of the movie Pocahontas that fuels my admiration for the character. That finale sequence is just so... powerful! Give it a watch here, you won't be disappointed:

*Holding back tears*
Moving swiftly on.

Similarly to what I have said about Merida, Pocahontas is a character that stands up for what she believes in (in this instance, love) and through doing so, is able to educate others despite their ignorance towards different cultures and ethnicities. Pretty solid themes for a 'Children's Movie' huh? 

Pocahontas actually has pretty poor ratings as a movie which is mostly due to the historical inaccuracies that Disney chose to incorporate into their storyline however cinematically, I really do believe that this movie is one of Disney's finest. The music is beautiful, the landscape artwork is stunning and ahhh, I just love it all!

I have a 'childhood connection' to the character also which is another reason that I love her; growing up, adults would often tell me that I looked like Pocahontas. I remember asking my Mum to paint Pocahontas' tattoo on my arm at about age four. I also recall having dinner at Café Mickey in Paris when I was around 10 or 11 years old and I spotted Meeko wandering around the dining room or rather, Meeko spotted me...

What happened next? Meeko took my hair in his paws, separated it into three and continued by braiding it just as he does to Pocahontas in the movie. 

It was a truly magical Disney moment.

And for those reasons, Pocahontas is my third favourite Disney Princess.

2. Belle

Belle and I at WDW, 2012
Coming in with the silver medal, we have Mademoiselle Belle from one of my favourite Disney movies, Beauty and The Beast. Again, I bring this favourite back to a common theme within this post; identity

I have always been very fond of books. I love reading and writing... one of the main reasons that I started this blog in fact! So it's probably not very surprising at all that 'bookworm' Belle is not only featured on this list but also, that she is ranked very highly. I have always found her love of reading very relatable as books have played a vital role in my life which ultimately, has lead to me studying a degree in English Literature at University.

Another reason why I have always loved Belle, and this point is quite silly... is because of her various costume changes! Belle is shown wearing more different wardrobe options than any of the other Disney Princesses during her movie and as a little girl, I always appreciated this as it was unique and interesting to me. My favourite dress? Belle's pink winter-wear which she is seen wearing during 'Something There'.

My final reason for having a particular admiration for Belle stems from another passion of mine; musical theatre. I have always been a huge fan of musicals, a love that has stemmed from my Grandfather, through my Mother and on to me. The first musical that I ever went to see in London's West End was of course, Disney's Beauty and The Beast. I was around 6 or 7 years old, incredibly impressionable and captivated from the moment the overture played

Consequently, I am absolutely thrilled that almost twenty years later, Beauty and The Beast (the musical) is being adapted into a film production and starring one of my favourite actresses who is no stranger to playing 'bookish' women that I admire, Emma Watson. If you haven't seen the trailer yet, I urge you to do so. It's wonderful:

Books, costumes and musicals, oh my! Yes, those are the reasons that Belle is my second favourite Disney Princess.

1. Princess Jasmine

Me with Princess Jasmine in Disneyland Paris, 2016
Finally we have reached the top spot; if you've stuck with me this far, well done you!

Here we have it, my ultimate favourite Disney Princess is of course, Princess Jasmine from Disney's Aladdin

You can probably already guess precisely why Jasmine is my favourite and yes, it links back to my whole stance within this post: identity and the relatable factor. Little girls always seem to love the Disney Princess that is most like them - whether that's in appearance or motivation, personality or passion, the Princess that a little girl can identify with the most, is naturally always going to be their favourite. This is precisely why I think that the newer Princesses such as Tiana, Merida and the upcoming Moana are fantastic movements forward for little girl's of different ethnicities and with different hobbies such as sailing and archery! You don't have to be caucasian, love cleaning and sing to be a Princess - hooray!

Me modelling my custom Jasmine ears with The Magic Carpet
I bring this back to Princess Jasmine; as I have mentioned already in this post, I have dark hair, tanned skin and brown eyes. I have big, full eyebrows and whilst I didn't know this would be the case when I was a little girl, I also have a very disproportionate figure! Clearly in looks, Jasmine is the Princess that I have always been able to relate to the most. And I know I'm not alone in this. The eagle eyes amongst you will have noticed Jennifer Oakes in my Pocahontas entry above...

Jennifer as Princess Jasmine in WDW
For those of you that don't know, Jennifer Oakes is a former Disney Cast Member and best known for portraying Princess Jasmine at Walt Disney World in Orlando. She often talks openly on her YouTube channel about her experiences and being able to identify with Jasmine, even naming her daughter after her. Another person who openly admits that Jasmine is her favourite as she is able to identify with her, you definitely will have come across...

Kim Kardashian as Princess Jasmine for Halloween

Whilst Kim Kardashian is half Armenian and I myself am half Spanish, it's clear that despite nationality or heritage, a lot of little girls with dark hair and skin were able to identify with the Arabic Princess growing up and still do so, even now, as fully grown women.

I should also mention that I absolutely adore Jasmine's fierce spirit and determination to abolish the law that restricts who she is allowed to marry; the first real sign of feminism for any of the Disney Princesses up until this point. Also, Aladdin is one of my favourite Disney movies, if not my favourite, and I am thrilled to be seeing the musical this coming August. I'll definitely be purchasing all the Jasmine themed merchandise!

So there you have it my five favourite Disney Princesses: Merida, Princess Aurora, Pocahontas, Belle and my ultimate favourite, Princess Jasmine.

Do you agree with me? Which Princesses are your favourites and why? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

- MercedesLois

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