Disney fans already knew that the Walt Disney Animation Studios movie Encanto, which premired in November in theaters and was released onto the streaming service Disney+ on Christmas Eve, has made quite a splash. The movie has won a Golden Globe, received multiple other awards or award nominations, and has even broken Frozen‘s record with its music! The characters from the movie have also gotten a lot of love — and one character has particularly resonated with audiences on an international scale.
Luisa Madrigal is one of the sisters of Mirabel Madrigal, the protagonist and (unofficial) Disney princess. Everyone in the Madrigal family was gifted with unique abilities by a blessed candle, and Luisa’s magical gift is superstrength. Surprisingly, the higher-ups at Disney were reluctant to design a female character with a muscular and strong body type, even though her strength was literally the biggest plot point that defined Luisas’s character — but once the team behind the character design for Luisa convinced Disney executives otherwise, Luisa was animated for the film with an appropriately broad-shouldered, muscular body type.
Luisa’s body type is a common one that is underrepresented in film, and Encanto fans have taken notice of the character. Fans all over the world have taken to the Internet to share their love of Luisa, their emotional reactions to seeing a woman like them in a Disney movie, and their appreciation for the fact that Luisa is feminine and vulnerable even while she’s physically strong.
Women as far afield as Germany have praised the character (including Christin Shelley-Scott, shown above), while American resident Toshi Jones (also seen above) said that “there’s no one way to be a girl or to be feminine…A lot of strong women aren’t allowed to be seen as vulnerable and soft or to express their frustrations with the weight on their shoulders. As a mother and older sister who’s always had to carry a lot of the family burdens myself, [Luisa] was relatable and refreshing to see.”
Luisa is muscular, tall, and wide — but she also has attractive facial features, curves, and wears feminine clothing. The Disney character also shows off her dance moves, both elegant ones and surprisingly music video-style ones, in her song “Surface Pressure”. Although the song was overshadowed by the Encanto song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno”, it has still been high on the Billboard and Spotify charts, and the jazz cover released by Luisa’s voiceover actress Jessica Darrow has also been well-received. The lyrics to Luisa’s song “Surface Pressure” have resonated with her fans just as much as Luisa’s appearance has, because the song is all about being strong for other people while dealing with emotional vulnerability and sensitivity internally.
Many fans have also shared their physical similarities to Luisa Madrigal by dressing up as the character and posting pictures of the ‘cosplay’ online, including the two women mentioned above! Do you feel a kinship with Luisa Madrigal? Were you excited to see a Disney heroine that was strong, feminine, girly, and complex all at the same time?
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