Disney’s latest and first Latina princess is set to make her royal debut in the highly anticipated animated series, “Elena of Avalor”, which takes places in the same universe as “Sofia the First”.
The bold and compassionate crown princess of the enchanted fairytale kingdom of Avalor, Princess Elena is voiced by the ever-so-lovely Dominican-American actress Aimee Carrero, who is known for her role as Angie on the series “Level Up”, and Sofia Rodriguez on the sitcom “Young & Hungry”.
As Disney’s first princess inspired by diverse Latin cultures and folklore, the series follow Princess Elena’s adventure to save her magical kingdom, Avalor from an evil sorceress, while at the same time, she must learn to rule her kingdom as a crown princess.
Carrero currently stars on hit series “Young & Hungry” which had just recently been renewed for a fifth season.
For her role as Princess Elena, the 28-year-old actress shares her experience with TheHive.Asia everything from her challenges as a voice actress, to her favourite Disney princess, and also her common characteristics with the Latina princess!
How does it feel to become a Disney Princess, and the first Latina princess at that?
It’s a wonderful honour and at the same time, it’s an incredible surprise. Every now and then, it’s kind of something I have to remind myself about because it seems so surreal. It’s been a very long awaited moment, and it’s just incredible to have been chosen to voice this character.
Why did you decide to audition for the role?
My agent sent me an audition and I want to have a job, so I auditioned. But at that time it was kept very secret so I didn’t know what it was for, and I didn’t even know who the character was. I found out when they made the announcement and I also found out from everybody else, so it was a thrill to say the least.
How is voice acting different from acting, and what are the challenges?
Well that’s a great question. I’ve never done anything animated before, so it was absolutely a challenge to begin with. I think possibly the most noticeable difference is that as an actor a lot of their tools are removed. So you don’t have your face, your body or anything to tell the story, the only thing you have is your voice. So I think just being very careful about the inflection and making sure that all of the emotions are transmitted through your voice. It’s definitely a learning curve, but I had an amazing team of people that were there to make sure that would happen in the very beginning. And as the time went on, I think I’ve improved a little bit.
Do you have a favourite Disney Princess?
Yeah, like everybody else, I grew up watching Disney movies. They’re a big part of my upbringing! I remember we have a cabinet just full of VHS-es, and most of them are just Disneys and we watched them a lot until the tapes kind of wore out. And I grew up in Florida, so we would go to Disneyland multiple times a year. But I would say, growing up, I really love Jasmine, Pocahontas and Mulan, because they seem to be kind of like their own heroes, and they were in the action. They were just a different kind of princess, and I really like that!
Other than being a Latina, what are some of the similarities that you share with Princess Elena?
Well, I think she kind of has like a silly personality, and I can’t help but be silly too sometimes! I think we definitely have that in common, in terms of our sense of humour. I don’t know, maybe it’s a compliment to me, but I also think that whenever Elena fails or something doesn’t go the way she is expecting to, she is always going to try again. She’s not easily discouraged, and I would say that I consider myself as someone who is not easily discouraged too.
How do you usually get into character, like what do you do before getting into the studio?
You want to make sure that you really read the script, and you know what’s going to be expected of you beforehand. And there’re also these really weird technical things like, I try not to drink coffee because caffeine can really affect your voice, and it dries up your mouth, so it doesn’t sound as good. Also, a lot of time when there’s action involved, as much as you try, but if you don’t actually do the action while you are performing it, it would actually really sound like you’re fake jumping or fake running, so you have to really do something. It’s a lot more active than I expected, so I try to make sure that mine sounds authentic.
What do you wish that young viewers can learn from Princess Elena?
I hope that anybody watching the show can see that there are things about everybody that make them special and unique, like Elena is Latina and the fact that she lives with her grandparents, and she is still 16 – but what I like people to take away from it is the central message, which is that it’s a story of a young girl trying to be a leader at a very young age, and she’s trying to figure out how she fits in into the world and what she has to offer. And I think that the act of growing up is something that we all identified with, so it’s actually a very universal story.