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10 Real-Life Models Who Served as Prototypes for the Disney Princesses


Have you ever wondered why Disney characters all look so “alive”? It’s just because the animation quality was beyond all praise, but there’s also something else here. Some of the appearance, mannerisms, and small quirks of Disney characters were taken sketching real actresses, dancers, and models! Let’s just jump into it and see how Snow White, Ariel and Jasmine look like in real life.



1. Tinkerbell – Margaret Kerry
Initially, Marilyn Monroe was supposed to model as Tinkerbell, but the studio execs chose Margaret Kerry instead. She gained fame after portraying the fairy in the 1953 Peter Pan cartoon, and even to this day, 89-year-old Margaret receives letters from her fans.



2. Rapunzel – Taylor Swift
One of the newest princesses was the golden-haired Rapunzel. Turns out Taylor Swift agreed to serve as a live model for this heroine! Who would ever say no to such a fantastic offer? Later a legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz even shot her as Rapunzel for Disney parks campaign.

3. Cinderella – Helen Stanley
After the absolute success of “Snow White” and “Pinocchio”, Disney double-downed on the female-led full-featured animated movies. Instead of sketching out the models, like before, the artists were given movie tapes where they outlined the needed moves, poses, etc., to make them more realistic.



4. Belle – Judy Garland
Let’s face it, Belle is pretty much copy-pasted Judy Garland! The animators really did a great job with her in “Beauty and the Beast”.

5. Jasmine – Jennifer Connelly
According to animator Mark Henn, he saw an incredibly beautiful young girl with long blueish-black hair in Disneyland and decided she’d make a perfect Jasmine. But there was also a second model – a young actress who goes by the name of Jennifer Connelly.



6. Pocahontas – Irene Bedard
Believe it or not, the character and the events Pocahontas goes through are based on the actual Native American Princess Matoaca also known as “Pocahontas”.
But her appearance was inspired by that of Hollywood Native American actress Irene Bedard.

7. Snow White – Marge Champion
Rotoscoping is nothing new today, but back in the day, it was a phenomenal breakthrough in animation. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was created with the help of this technique. A dancer Marge Champion was chosen from more than two hundred contenders to become the real-life Snow White, and she nailed it.

8. Ariel – Alyssa Milano
When creating the Little Mermaid, the artists didn’t know if they really needed a model. After all, by the time this movie came out, rotoscoping had not been used in the studio for 30 years. But of course, in the end, they did use the 16-year-old Alyssa Milano.



9. Aurora – Audrey Hepburn
In case you didn’t know Audrey Hepburn was a real life sleeping beauty Aurora.

10. Tiana – Jennifer Hudson
As you may know, Princess Tiana, the main character of “The Princess and the Frog” was the first black girl among the Disney princesses.