Disney's First Latina Princess Sparks Debate

Disney has released images and details of the newest princess, and some are not happy. The company had announced plans for a new Disney Latina princess, Sofia, that will be starring in a Disney Channel movie, followed by a TV series on both the Disney Channel and Disney Junior. But the newest images of the princess have many questioning the reasoning behind her appearance: light skin, light blue eyes and light brown hair. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Disney team -- while acknowledging Sofia's Latina identity -- also claim that the purpose was not to specifically acknowledge it. The reasoning? So that all girls can imagine themselves as Sofia.

“We never actually call [Sofia's heritage] out,” Joe D’ Ambrosia, Vice President of Disney Junior original programming, told EW. “When we got into schools [to talk to young students about the show], what I find fascinating is that every girl thinks that they’re Sofia.”

Sofia will be voiced by Modern Family's Ariel Winter and her mother, Queen Miranda, will be voiced by Sara Ramirez. The story is that Sofia moves into a castle after her mother Miranda marries King Roland II. They meet when the king of Enchancia needs to buy slippers. Miranda is the owner of a shoe shop. Sofia has to deal with learning how to be a princess, while also dealing with a royal sorcerer's evil attempts to take over the kingdom. And, oh yeah, a jealous stepsister.

While we acknowledge that Latinas come in all shapes, sizes and skintones, we weren't the only ones concerned with the lack of identifiable Hispanic features in Princess Sofia. 

“We need more heroes right now that are very identifiable,” Alex Nogales, President and CEO for the National Hispanic Media Coalition, a non-profit organization that promotes Latino equality in the entertainment industry, told Fox News Latino.

"Are they afraid that some people are not going to accept this princess because she is Latina?" he asked. "The more I think about it, the more bothered I get. I really would like to hear what the execs have to say. What are they afraid of?"

The Twitterverse also had plenty to say when it came to the topic, with mostly negative reactions, though a few positive as well:

@SophiePlacido: "Finally an Hispanic princess (called Sofia) but with blue eyes!? Disney's fair-skinned blue-eyed Latina princess Sofia" 

@amsaav: "Disney's fair-skinned blue-eyed princess Sofia. She looks like me, proving I'm Peruvian! No controversy here"

@natalifani: "Disappointment: Disney unveils first Latina princess who DOESN'T look like the vast majority of Latinas"

The movie, Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess, will debut on the Disney Channel on November 18. 

What do you think of the new Disney princess? Share in the comments!

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Samantha Leal, Senior Editor

Sam edits and oversees all site content with a focus on fashion, beauty and lifestyle. When she's not working, you can find her watching way too many YouTube videos and reading (YA novels, mostly). Follow her on Twitter @samanthajoleal.

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