Disney debuts first 'plus-size' heroine in new trailer
"16-year-old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn't want to be the fat girl in class anymore"
Disney has quietly released a short film that is understood to feature its first plus-size lead character in a move that has delighted fans.
Reflect, which is part of season two of Short Circuit, a series of experimental short films from Walt Disney Animation Studios, puts the spotlight on Bianca, a young ballet dancer struggling with her confidence and body dysmorphia.
Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance, which are often unnoticeable to others, according to the NHS.
In Reflect, Bianca's teacher is seen inspecting her pose at the barre, reminding her ‘Tight tummy! Long neck!’, when the mirror shatters around the young dancer, reflecting her body image struggles.
An all-new Short Circuit Experimental Film has arrived! Stream “Reflect” and all the Short Circuit Experimental Films by Walt Disney Animation Studios artists now on @DisneyPlus. 🩰 🎆 pic.twitter.com/c0gw5U4ecc
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) September 14, 2022
The short, which dropped on the studio’s streaming platform on September 14, then shows Bianca overcoming her doubt and fear by channeling her inner strength to develop self-confidence.
Reflect is directed by Hillary Bradfield, a Disney Animation artist who has worked on the likes of Frozen 2 and Encanto, which offered the first Disney princess with glasses.
As news of Reflect spread across social media, supercharged by TikTok, fans shared their excitement over the cultural turning point.
"This plus-size Disney ballet dancer will mean so much to so many people," commented one TikTok user, while one fan on Twitter said it had them "sobbing".
"I saw this Disney short called Reflect and it emotionally tore me up," confessed another. "It’s about a little plus-size girl doing ballet and the mirrors start to swallow her up because of her body insecurity but she destroys them by dancing anyway."
16 year old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn’t want to be the fat girl in class anymore. I’m glad little ones will have this. 10/10 for Reflect! https://t.co/WAqEt3Tdpa
— Meg Potter (@MeganPotter_) October 26, 2022
THIS IS NOT A DRILL! Disney+ FINALLY made a short with a Plus Size lead! It’s called Reflect and it’s part of the Short Circuit short series. Let’s just say I was SOBBING
— Coriander (@cori_ander28) October 4, 2022
One person said on Twitter: “This plus-size Disney ballet dancer will mean so much to so many people.”
Another commented: “I saw this Disney short called Reflect and it emotionally tore me up. It’s about a little plus-size girl doing ballet and the mirrors start to swallow her up because of her body insecurity but she destroys them by dancing anyway.”
A third wrote: "16-year-old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn't want to be the fat girl in class anymore. I'm glad little ones will have this. 10/10 for Reflect."
Walt Disney Co Chief Executive Bob Chapek asked to address criticism the company had become "too woke," said on Wednesday that its programming will cater to the audience and reflect the "rich, diverse" world of viewers, NewsMax reported.
"The world is a rich, diverse place, and we want our content to reflect that," Chapek said at The Wall Street Journal Tech Live conference.