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Halle Bailey Says ‘The Little Mermaid’ Director Encouraged Her To Incorporate Her Locs Into Ariel

Anticipation is high for Disney’s live-action adaptation of The Little Mermaid, which is set to premiere next year. At Disney’s D23 expo, Disney revealed the first teaser trailer for the upcoming film, which features Halle Bailey as Ariel, singing a portion of the iconic musical number “Part Of Your World.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bailey discussed the process of incorporating parts of herself into Ariel, including her locs.

“With Rob, he’s so amazing and just saying, ‘I see you and I want to bring you into the character,’” Bailey said. “It was a beautiful thing. My hair, for example — incorporating my locs into the red hair was something that was really special to me. The outfit, the fins, everything. It’s just amazing. I’m just grateful that I’ve been able to take the essence of me and mix the two.”

Bailey, known largely as one half of the sister musical duo Chloe x Halle, has been working on several films, including The Color Purple, which is set to arrive next Christmas. She has also teased solo music on her social media channels.

She revealed that playing Ariel has helped her come into her own as an actress, musician, and young woman.

“I really felt like I got strong, mentally and physically,” Bailey said, “and I think it was a really good thing for me to do, just in terms of developing into a woman and myself, and knowing myself more. I’m more sure of myself after the filming experience, for sure.”

The Little Mermaid arrives to theaters May 26, 2023.