The new Hilary Banks has continued to come into form throughout first few episodes of Peacock’s Bel-Air.
One of the most intriguing casting decisions the show made was to tap former Disney star Coco Jones in the iconic role of Hilary, taking over the mantle from Karyn Parsons.
The Hilary presented in Bel Air is removed from the nonchalant, ditzy heiress that Parsons portrayed to a T, and in this version, Hilary is a foodie influencer. Still, there are definitely traits of the bougie Banks daughter of the ’90s that influence this characterization, as well as Jones’ portrayal.
Jones, who won Disney’s Next Big Thing, starred in Disney Channel’s Let It Shine, opposite Trevor Jackson and Tyler James Williams. She stayed with Disney in a smaller role in the comedy series Good Luck Charlie, but for the most part, seemed to disappear from the scene for the back half of the 2000s. Jones has been vocal about being overlooked by both the Disney infrastructure, as well as Hollywood in general, but remained steadfast in her craft and putting out music. In 2020, she also appeared in the Netflix film Vampires vs. The Bronx.
Now, fast-forward two years to 'Bel-Air' and Jones is primed to return to the status she was headed towards over a decade ago.
“I really hope that the new people who come to find me through Bel-Air really look at my journey and take from my journey that what’s meant for you is for you and the worst thing you can do for any passion you have is give up on it,” she told Shadow and Act in a recent interview. “I’ve been here a long time and it’s been a long road, and I hope that people can see me and see my highs and lows and know that the lows don’t mean you’re never going to get to a high again…it just means you have to keep going. That’s really what I hope is to inspire somebody else who’s pursuing something that at times really difficult.”
Hillary 2.0 stands up for what's right and kind of marches to the beat of her own drum, much to the chagrin of Viv (Cassandra Freeman).
This Hilary has dropped out of school as she has a budding career as a self-employed influencer. Still, her mother is encouraging her to take steps toward a more stable career. But she’s sticking to her guns despite what Viv thinks, putting them at odds.
“I really hope they fall in love with the relatability that Hilary has, because I’m really being myself,” said of the I’m really myself. I’m really determined. I’m really confident. And Hilary is all those things as well. So I hope they fall in love with that.”
New episodes of Bel-Air drop on Peacock each Thursday.
Watch the full interview above.