January 31, 2023 The voice of all eras.

Disney Introduces First Plus-Size Main Character in Animated Short Film “Reflect”

November 1, 2022

November 1, 2022

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Now streaming on Disney+ is a story that explores body positivity, beauty, and power within.

In this age of beauty filters and photo-capture hacks, Disney reminds us how important it is to overcome doubt and fear by channeling inner strength, grace, and power. As part of Disney’s Short Circuit series of experimental films, the multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate introduced its first plus-size heroine, Bianca.

Bianca is the female protagonist of the short film, Reflect, which tells the moving story of a ballet dancer who battles with her reflection. The six-minute short evokes thousands of emotions in the audience as it delves deeper into issues of body image and the importance of developing self-esteem and accepting oneself.

In the trailer, Bianca can be seen in an empty dance studio happily and confidently practicing and dancing by herself before the start of class. However, when her classmates and instructor begin walking into the room, she immediately becomes uncomfortable.

Reflect immediately gained the attention of viewers upon its release – most resonating with Bianca. TikTok users are quick to share their own experiences of how toxic body expectations affected them at a young age.

According to the film director, Hillary Bradfield, who also worked on Encanto and Frozen, “It’s part of the craft to be looking at your posture and checking things in the mirror, so it just seemed like a really good way to put her in that environment where she has to look at herself and she doesn’t want to.” The animation story artist of the upcoming film Avatar: Way of Water also added, “When people watch the short, I hope that they can feel more positively about themselves and how they look and feel okay about the tough parts of their journey. Sometimes, you go to the dark place to get to the good place. And that just makes the good place that much more beautiful.”

With Disney’s move towards setting the standard for inclusion and equal representation, like recent heroines Moana and Encanto siblings Luisa and Mirabel, Reflect has been earning positive feedback from the audience. As per one Twitter post, “16 year old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn’t want to be that fat girl in class anymore. I’m glad little ones will have this. 10/10 for Reflect.”

Even the model and ambassador for Models of Diversity Charity, Alison Cline-Williams, commended the storyline of the short. In an interview, she shared, “It really resonates with me and I thought, ‘wow, about time.’ It was like a breath of fresh air for me. When you look at society now, society’s changing. People know that society’s changing but nobody wants to be the first, so the fact that [Disney’s Reflect] has done that is amazing to me.”We all go through a lot of tough parts in our journey. However, Disney’s Reflect reminds us to examine our feelings, embrace our identity, and find beauty in our uniqueness. Make sure to watch Reflect on Disney+!

Cover image credit: Disney

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