If you were ever dazzled by the Magic of Disney as a kid, you were probably secretly enchanted by the quiet genius of Tyrus Wong. At a time when Disney studios were peddling crass ethnic caricatures, the virtually anonymous young artist infused Disney with misty woodland skylines and sweeping hilltops in brilliant color. He gave Disney a third dimension, beyond the cinematic vanguard of the time, drawing from his hybrid heritage as a migrant, skilled painter, and descendant of the Chinese diaspora.
Elena of Avalor is Disney’s new princess. She has been branded as the “First Latina Princess,” and hailed as a milestone for diversifying the Disney brand, and also reaching out to one of the fastest-growing consumer markets (and youngest demographics) in the country. She’s basically a brown-tinted version of the generic template: sparkly dress with baroque-slash-victorian aesthetics, the hint of an hourglass shape without distracting cleavage, wavy brunette hair betraying no ethnic peculiarities, and of course, a tiara.