Disney princesses have always had their own fans, with the occasional Disney fan preferring the classic iconic Disney princesses Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty (also known as Aurora or Briar Rose) while other fans have gravitated towards the more modern Disney heroines who shun romance and sport more realistic body types, such as Moana or Luisa Madrigal.
But with Disney continuing to make slow progress with its characters, and more and more people heading online to create their own stories, music, characters, or fantastical adventures, why shouldn’t the average Disney fan just make the content that he or she wants to see by themselves?
Yes, Disney has gotten more progressive with its Disney princesses over time — but Disney executives still had to be convinced by character designers to let Luisa be muscular in the new Disney movie Encanto. Overall, more and more modern-day heroines have been coming into Disney movies or series, and there is a wider variety being represented…but is that progress too slow? With so many people still feeling underrepresented by Disney, and so many people still finding fault with some of Disney’s storylines for female characters, the idea of Disney fans going rogue and simply making their own characters for fun seems likely.
Julia Riew is an excellent example of this potential phenomenon: the Korean American Harvard University student who created her own Korean Disney princess while writing a Korean folktale musical for her senior thesis shared the Korean princess and other Korean characters that she created (as well as the Disney-inspired songs that she wrote) on TikTok, with massive success. Julia Riew has since received plenty of media attention, thousands of followers, many prospective offers to make the Harvard University student’s Korean Disney-inspired story a reality, and lots of direct requests from viewers to make her ‘Disney princess’ more widespread.
Musical theater writer Julia Riew proves that anyone with the desire to create their own Disney-inspired story or Disney-inspired character can do so — and she also proves that, if that desire is combined with a talent for creating said content, someone could actually bring their character into other people’s reality!
These days, social media has made the ability to create and share one’s own characters or stories particularly easy. By sharing some performances from her original musical on TikTok, musical theater playwright Julia Riew was able to bring national attention to her Korean ‘Disney princess’ and her Korean Disney-inspired musical in just a few days.
Disney fanfiction and fanart about beloved princess characters is a constant genre on fan sites, and plenty of Disney fans have the talent to compose Disney-inspired music, write Disney-inspired adventures, or create their own ‘Disney princesses’. With social media making it easier to create original content than ever before, Disney’s steady but noticeably slow move towards diverse heroines, and the raw talent of so many Disney fans, it seems like some unique homemade Disney princesses might just be inevitable!