Sunday, October 21, 2012

Disney says Princess Sofia is "Ethnically Diverse" Not Latina

Princess Sofia
Photo Courtesy: Disney 
It’s amazing how one Disney character can put people on the web in frenzy. That’s what happened when word got out that Disney had a new character named Princess Sofia and her television movie would be released in November. 

News reports came out claiming Princess Sofia was Latina. Then critics started coming down hard on Disney on Friday, October 19th.

Was Prince Sofia Latina or not? If she was---why wasn't she "Latina looking" enough?  Even members of Wise Latinas Linked weighed in on the issue on Facebook.

Cuauhtli C. “Wow, took Disney long enough to recognize that Latinas exist! But should we be accepting of this character as a reflection of young Latinas?”

Moni A. “I don't think she is a good representation of a 'Latina' girl. I won't be buying into it.” 

Elena G. “I would also like a Latina princess to look a little more brown. Though I know we come in all shades,.. “ 

Jennifer C. “I was initially excited but I am now confused... “ 

Lilia E. “Latina Princes con ojos azules...???” 


Ana Flores brought it to our attention that Disney never made a statement that Princess Sofia was Latina. Flores should  know since she tells us she has been a consultant on the Disney Junior Hispanic Heritage spots. Flores on Facebook:

“This is horrible reporting, that's what it is. Disney has NOT officially confirmed she's Latina. Everyone is reacting to a headline. “

If it was misinformation, we wondered why Disney's PR team was not putting out a press release immediately with the correct information about Princess Sofia.  Finally on Saturday, Disney released a statement. 


We're not sure where they issued the press release, because it was not on Disney's press release web page on Saturday, Oct. 20th when we checked. 

Nancy Kanter
Photo courtesy: Disney
We found it on Princess Sofia’s Facebook page. It was written by Nancy Kanter. She’s the Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager of Disney Junior Worldwide. Press release: 

As we approach the premiere of 'Sofia the First' on November 18, I wanted to check in here and thank you once again for your warm welcome for our new little princess. Some of you may have seen the recent news stories on whether Sofia is or isn't a "Latina princess." 

What’s important to know is that Sofia is a fairytale girl who lives in a fairytale world. All our characters come from fantasy lands that may reflect elements of various cultures and ethnicities but none are meant to specifically represent those real world cultures. The writers have wisely chosen to write stories that include elements that will be familiar and relatable to kids from many different backgrounds including Spain and Latin America. For example, Sofia’s mom comes from a fictitious land, Galdiz, which was inspired by Spain. 

There are wonderful stories coming up in which Sofia and her family celebrate a winter holiday called Wassailia (reminiscent of a Scandinavian Christmas), and go on a picnic in Wei-Ling, an Asian-inspired kingdom. Most importantly, Sofia's world reflects the ethnically diverse world we live in but it is not OUR world, it is a fairytale and storybook world that we hope will help spur a child’s imagination. It’s one where we can have flying horses, schools led by fairies, songs that have a Latin beat and towns with markets like those found in North Africa. Together, this creates a world of diversity and inclusion that sends just the right kind of message to all children -- “Look around you, appreciate the differences you see and celebrate what makes us all the same.” I am eager for you and your children to meet Sofia and experience her world together!---
Nancy Kanter


OK, so now we know Princes Sofia is a “ethnically diverse” character. Good for Disney for creating a fairytale character with a diverse background.  Princess Sofia likes everybody and everything.  

But note to Disney, Latinos (50 million of us) would really appreciate a "Latina" Princess and a "Latino" Prince.  We're sure Princess Sofia would love them too. 


  1. Saw your Twitter on CNN:
    I agree, it's about time!!! Excellent article!

  2. Leo, thank you for your feedback. We do have to give credit to Disney for at least thinking "diverse" when it comes to their characters. We believe they just need to work on their marketing, and answer ALL questions upfront.


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