There's a good reason why people can't stop talking about the recent casting of Halle Bailey as Ariel in The Little Mermaid. After all, it is believed that she will be the first woman of color to play the lovestruck mermaid. However, there was another non-white actress who had previously portrayed Ariel in the Broadway production of the animated classic and she has some amazing advice for Bailey.
Diana Huey actually played Ariel on Broadway back in 2017 and she believes Bailey shouldn't pay attention to all the naysayers.
"Keep your head up and know that it's so much bigger than you as a single person fighting these battles," Huey told TheWrap. "If she can stay positive and just remember, there's more support than there is hatred. It's an important battle to fight and she's not alone."
The Japanese-American Huey says that her color actually didn't matter for the younger members of the audience at Broadway.
"I never had one kid in 300-something shows over the course of a year say, ‘Oh, you don't look like Ariel.' They would see me come out of the stage door with my hair and street clothes and throw themselves at me screaming. ‘Ariel!' when I looked like Diana," she said. "The kids were totally on board. So if we just keep doing this, that's the good work we need to do to make the world just a more opened-minded place."
Huey stated that she decided to express her support for Bailey as a way of paying it forward when the original Broadway Ariel Sierra Boggess supported Huey when she was first cast.
"As soon as I saw this was happening to her, I needed to pass on that torch and stand up for my fellow Ariel sister, just help shut it down in any way I can," Huey said. "We have to continue to raise the positive voices and let them outweigh the negative. If I have to take some cyberbullying to help this little kid in Indonesia feel better, then I'm here for it."
The Little Mermaid is expected to begin production in April 2020.
Related: Halle Berry Reacts to Halle Bailey's Live-Action Little Mermaid Casting