When Ariel Met Ariel: Halle Bailey Got Jodi Benson’s ‘Stamp of Approval’ on ‘Little Mermaid’ Set and Was Told to ‘Just Go for It’
Halle Bailey revealed in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times that original princess Ariel voice actor Jodie Benson has a cameo appearance in Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid” remake. Benson appears in a scene set on land, so, alas, she’s not back as a mermaid. However, the cameo meant the two Ariel actors got a chance to meet on the set of the live-action movie. Bailey said she was grateful to have Benson’s blessing.
“She told me how proud she was of me and how I’m handling everything, and encouraged me to just go for it,” Bailey said of Benson. “I appreciate her for being so warm and welcoming to me because she’s the GOAT, and it was important to me to get her stamp of approval.”
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Benson took to Instagram last September to call Bailey “absolutely amazing” after the first footage from the live-action “The Little Mermaid” screened at Disney’s D23 convention. That footage included a first listen of Bailey’s rendition of “Part of Your World,” which Benson made famous in the 1989 animated movie.
“Thank you so much, Jodi Benson,” Bailey wrote back at the time. “This means the world to me coming from you! You made Ariel magical for us.”
Both Ariel actors were in attendance at “The Little Mermaid” world premiere on May 8 in Hollywood. A video of the two performers hugging on the red carpet went viral on social media. While some fans thought the carpet was the first meeting of the Ariel actors, they actually met on set during production where Benson gave Bailey her blessing.
Benson isn’t the only famous star to give Bailey words of encouragement over playing Ariel in “The Little Mermaid.” Beyoncé, who has long been one of Bailey’s mentors after she signed Chloe x Halle to her music label, told her to lean into her power on set.
“She’s always been very, very complimentary and proud of me, and that means the world coming from her, somebody that’s been one of my biggest inspirations since I was 3,” Bailey said of Beyoncé. “She just told me to stand in my power and to not give up and to know that I can do this and believe in myself.”
In her interview with the Los Angeles Times, Bailey added that she has “learned so much” about herself as an actor and singer thanks to playing Ariel.
“Going into the film, I was more timid and shy, but like Ariel, I ended up having to come out of my shell,” Bailey said. “I gained so much confidence and courage to speak up for what I need; I came out a different, more mature human being. I really feel like Ariel taught me how to find my voice.”
“The Little Mermaid” opens in theaters nationwide on May 26 from Disney.
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