Halle Bailey is the moment. The Georgia-bred songstress has made waves in the industry over the past few years and doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon. After separating from the musical sister-duo Chlöe x Halle, she has subtly and beautifully made it known that she is on her own and is embracing the career that she is curating for herself.
Bailey is gearing up for her big screen debut in Disney’s live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” She sat down with Edition Magazine to discuss the ins and outs of transforming into the red-haired mermaid and how it challenged her.
Halle Bailey On Her Journey As Ariel
Bailey’s role as Ariel was not a quick one-and-done project. The singer says that Ariel is a part of her.
“I feel like I learned so much through her,” she recalled. “I auditioned when I was 18, got the role when I was 19, and I turn 23 this year. So I genuinely feel like [Ariel’s] helped me grow up.”
When the news broke of Halle’s role, there was a split between supporters and nay-sayers online. Half of the internet was up in arms that Disney cast a Black woman to play the role while others praised the company for diversifying their films. At last year’s D23 convention, the film’s director, Rob Marshall, defended the studio’s decision. He explained that Halle “possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role.”
Marshall explained to Entertainment Weekly that he was shocked by the outrage. He said he thought we were past that as a society.
“We just were looking for the best actor for the role, period. The end,” Marshall said. “We saw everybody and every ethnicity.”
Still, the amount of love and support she received was a shock to the actress. When the film’s teaser trailer was released, many proud parents took to social media to share videos of their babies reacting to Halle’s Ariel.
“Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock,” Bailey said. “But seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally. It’s honestly been such a crazy ride, and I genuinely feel shocked and honored and grateful to be in this position. A lot of times, I have to pinch myself and be like, is this real life?”
Shooting The Film
Bailey shared with Edition how taxing the filming experience was for her at times. She filmed for almost a year in London at Pinewood Studios. As a woman who is very close to her family, spending so much time away from them was draining. In an interview with ET, the singer opened up about the pause in production due to the pandemic.
“I actually welcomed it,” she recalled. “Because I was really missing my sister. She was here in L.A. and I was in London, so I was happy to get back to her.”
During her sit down with Edition, Bailey mentioned that there were days she was in the water or on a harness for hours at a time.
“I pushed myself as far as I’ve ever pushed myself in life,” she said. “And I feel like the message from [Ariel] was to know that you’ve always had it in you.”
Bailey is excited for viewers to gain so much from her version of Ariel.
“I’m really excited for my version of the film because we’ve definitely changed that perspective of just her wanting to leave the ocean for a boy,” she says. “It’s way bigger than that. It’s about herself, her purpose, her freedom, her life and what she wants.
Bailey continues to uplift women on and off the screen. Her first big step starts with Ariel.
“As women we are amazing, we are independent, we are modern, we are everything and above,” she continues. “And I’m glad that Disney is updating some of those themes.”