Warning: Spoilers ahead
We have Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel, Merida, and now Elsa and Anna. These gals are the most prominent faces for young girls and their Disney princess movie infatuations. These animated women transform into their role models and embody what they foresee as beauty and the ideal woman.
With this in mind, Disney has taken steps to add diversity to their collection – like The Princess and the Frog - and even opened up “true love” to include family – yes, we are looking at you Brave and Frozen! But this new and necessary transformation has many waiting for the Latina princess, especially after the controversy with Sofia the First, a TV series on Disney Channel that was revealed that the young princess is not actually “Latina.”
Atlantis: The Lost Empire was released in 2001 and follows a young man and his crew on an expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis. The crew, composed of unique and interesting individuals, includes a Latina, Audrey Ramirez. Audrey Ramirez is a sixteen years old engineer with a big personality. She’s tough, sarcastic, sassy, and intelligent. Breaking all stereotypes for women, she’s a tomboy that loves to get her hands dirty and very skilled in auto mechanics.
Throughout the movie you learn more about the young engineer, such as how she honed her skills while helping her dad at his Auto Repair Shop at age five. Also, she reveals that her sister is a boxer with a shot at the title. In a touching conversation with Milo, the protagonist, she even shares that with the money they’ll receive from the expedition, she plans to open up her own high end repair show with her father. Through this interaction and other mentions throughout the film, her love and pride of her family is unmistakable.
Another notable aspect of this character is her compassion for friends despite her tough exterior. Both young in age, she connects well with Milo and jokes around a lot with the crew. In a series of unfortunate events that causes her and the crew’s loyalties to be skewed, she is the first to feel guilt on turning on her friend and returns to her loyalties.
“I think people always forget about Atlantis [the movie]because it’s not a big princess movie, but it is a great movie for any gender or any age!” 18-year-old Reana Chavez said. “I liked Audrey’s character a lot – she was my favorite! She’s so spunky and tough and it doesn’t matter if she’s not a princess. She’s different and more relateable to me.”
Audrey Ramirez’s tanned skin, big brown eyes, and black hair does not mislead her culture. Her subtle accent and Bronx attitude does not deceive the audience. She is a Latina and she is strong. Always donning a white shirt and blue overalls – however, cleans up nicely at an award ceremony – she’s young, beautiful, and innovative.
The teenage female mechanic is a grease monkey within a Disney world of pink dresses, endless ruffles, fairy godmothers, handsome princes, and fancy balls. Her attitude and perspective is modern and competes with the rebellious princesses, such as Mulan and Merida. She demonstrates that girls can succeed in STEM and compete with the boys – forget the crown.
Audrey Rocio Ramirez may not be a princess, but her character is undeniably role model worthy for young girls.