Arts and Culture

H.E.R. reveals 3 Filipino elements in Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ special

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Apart from being the first Black Filipino Disney Princess, there is more to H.E.R. than just being Belle in in the ABC TV special “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration,” which will be available on Disney+ in January 2023. 

Fil-Am H.E.R. (or Gabriella “Gabi” Sarmiento Wilson) shared to Philstar.com in an exclusive interview last night at ABS-CBN Global and MYX’s “Mixer” party the Filipino elements that her “kababayans” would be proud of.

“It means a world. I always wanted to be a Disney princess,” H.E.R. told the press at the red carpet for last night’s “MYX Mixer” homecoming party where she was the first featured international artist.

“I feel like I’ve always had that in me. I’m just really grateful and I’m so happy on how it turned out.”’

Related: 'It's only the beginning': Oscar, Grammy winner H.E.R. as first Filipina Disney princess

Besides that it was earlier revealed in reports that Belle’s apron contains ancient Philippine script “Baybayin,” H.E.R. stars alongside fellow Filipino-American actor Jon Jon Briones, best known for portraying the Engineer in the original London production of “Miss Saigon.”

“The apron is Baybayin but also, my dad in ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is Filipino! It’s really, really cool that I have a Filipino father,” enthused H.E.R. “Working with him is just awesome! We had so much fun!”

Related: Fil-Am H.E.R. wears 'Beauty and the Beast' costume with Baybayin script

At the red carpet, H.E.R. told the press of another Filipino touch in “Beauty and the Beast.”

In her character, Belle, she made sure to inject Filipinos’ signature positive outlook and fighting spirit.

“I’ve seen and experienced that a lot of times that you were seen as less than or underestimated. Belle sees more regardless of what anybody says. And I believe that anybody should live that way – that they should see more and be themselves and know that anything is possible and you can reach your dreams, and she has that, and I get to show that in my own Filipino way – good vibes, positive attitude.”

She divulged that there are “many never-before-seen scenes” in the special not present in the animated and live action films.

“Believe in yourself, be your number one fan!” Disney’s first Filipino Belle advised younger princesses.

“As the only Black Filipino artist woman, with this platform, I hope it inspires kids to be whoever they want to be. It doesn’t matter where you come from, what ethnicity, color, so forth, just possibility.” — Video by Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

RELATED: Pinoy actor Jon Jon Briones joins Disney's 'Beauty and the Beast' special



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