Yara Shahidi may be making history as the first Black Tinkerbell in Peter Pan & Wendy, but she says it’s all possible due to those who came before her, such as Brandy in Cinderella and Anika Noni Rose in The Princess and the Frog.
The Disney+ film is a reimagining of the J.M. Barrie novel and the 1953 animated classic.
“It feels so special because I think when I took on the role of Tinkerbell, I knew that inherently it’s a bigger deal because I don’t look like how Tinkerbells looked before me,” Shahidi told Shadow and Act when asked about the feedback and support she received about her casting.
“Through the shooting process, I finished filming almost over a year ago, it was a very individualized kind of solo experience because it was me on a set kind of by myself when I was filming,” she added. “So I almost forgot what it meant until we started dropping the posters and things. I was definitely so excited and overwhelmed by the love. And I think even when they announced the Tinkerbell Barbie doll, being able to see how many people were excited about getting that for the little ones in their life…the amount of people that were like, ‘Wow, I wish I had that,’ it so special because I mean, I don’t know who I’d be without Brandy’s Cinderella or without Anika Noni Rose’s The Princess and The Frog or really any of those people that [were] so instrumental in my growing up and really, truly believing that I could be in any of these spaces.”
You can check out the full Shadow and Act interviews, also featuring Jude Law, Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson and director David Lowery, above.