Q & A: Lea Salonga on being a Disney Princess

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Filipinos surely have a close affair with all the Disney Princesses. Aside from the phenomenal box-office results of most of those Disney Princess movies, everyone from all walks of life can easily relate to the Disney songs that pave the roads to Filipino hearts.

When our very own Lea Salonga was declared a Disney Legend in 2011 for her outstanding work with The Walt Disney Company, all the Disney Princesses became even closer to Filipinos’ hearts. Indeed, Lea is a real Disney Princess, notwithstanding the fact that she actually became one not just once but twice when she was casted as the singing voice to Aladdin’s Princess Jasmine in 1992, singing the classical song ‘A Whole New World’ and to Mulan’s Fa Mulan in 1998.

Now, our own Disney Princess is helping find the next Filipino Disney Princess by being a mentor in the first-of-its-kind digital reality series Disney Princess: I Dare To Dream. The project is produced by Globe Studios in collaboration with Disney and Maker Studios.

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In a recent Question-and-Answer session, Lea talked about her views on being a Disney Princess and how she emerged to become one in 1992.

Q: Did you dream of becoming a Disney Princess when you were young?

A: I didn’t think much of it until I was in New York City and I was doing Miss Saigon and there was a note one day from the casting director of Aladdin for me saying, “We’ve been looking for you.” There was that and then I sang for the composer of ‘A Whole New World.’ So that’s how that dream came true.

 

Q: You were a Disney Princess before, what makes being one today different?

A: All of them are very unique. They are all very different. For one moment—take out the fact that there are songs for these movies—you can see who they are.

There’s someone who was taken from her family (Rapunzel); she ends up figuring out the truth. There’s Mulan who didn’t know her place because she didn’t fit in with the conventional woman-marrying-and-having-children mode. She would fail in a matchmaking test if she ends up doing that.

You have all these wonderful princesses. They don’t fit any mold. But they are still heroes. For me, what makes a Disney Princess is that she’s unique, brave, strong, outspoken, opinionated, and smart. If you figure out what your true passion is, and what it is that you really want to do and you really want to contribute to the world, then that makes you special and that makes you believe, so that’s what a Disney Princess is.

 

Q: What advice can you offer to anyone who wants to be the next Disney Princess?

A: If you are specific about being able to sing and being a voice of a character—to be a Disney Princess—there has to be a certain sound you possess that they look for. If you listen to all the singing princesses, there is something, there’s quality, timber, texture—something that is right for each character that they create. There is something, not necessarily innocence but an excitement to see the world and to experience everything. I don’t think there’s any Disney Princess that sounds jaded.

To be a Disney Princess, you have to be first, psychologically prepared. You have to have a sense of wonder and awe and sincerely have that. Secondly, you have to prepare for these auditions.

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Globe Studios Head Quark Henares (leftmost) and Lea Salonga (rightmost) interview the six finalists for the web series during ‘I Dare To Dream’ press launch. 

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Disney Princess: I Dare To Dream
Globe Studios and Disney and Maker Studios began the search for the next Disney Princess in October 2016. In the second week of February, they introduced six young Filipino girls who made it to the shortlist and who would compete not just to be the next Disney Princess but also to walk down the red carpet in the grand princess style at the Tokyo premier this March of the live-action adaptation of the animated classic Beauty and the Beast.

The web series piloted with three episodes on February 25. Every Saturday (until March 18), two new episodes will be posted to be accessed by everyone at www.idaretodream.ph and at Globe Telecom’s YouTube channel.

The next Disney Princess will be revealed on March 22 during the I Dare to Dream concert at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The musical event will be an extravaganza featuring the most loved songs from all the legendary Disney Princess movies. Special guests will include Christian Bautista, KC Concepcion, Erik Santos, and Julie Anne San Jose.

Disney Princess: I Dare To Dream will also be aired on Disney Channel in May.

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