Diane Guerrero Reveals How She Relates To Encanto’s Isabela – Exclusive
A Disney animated movie probably isn’t doing its job very well if there aren’t any characters with whom the audience can identify. You can’t sell Disney Princess dresses if those princesses aren’t in some way relatable and aspirational.
In recent years, you could easily argue that Disney heroes have only gotten more relatable. While characters like Elsa (Idina Menzel) from “Frozen” or Moana (Auliʻi Cravalho) in her own movie are characters who remain relatable despite both having powers over water (weird connection), Disney’s latest film “Encanto” focuses primarily on Mirabel (Stephanie Beatriz), the one character in her story who does not have any superpowers.
Still, “Encanto” is a story about the entire Madrigal clan, a magical family whose uses their powers to bring joy to and protect the community around them. The family members with powers are just as relatable as Mirabel.
Looper sat down with Diane Guerrero to talk about her character, Isabela, and why, despite that character’s ability to magically make flowers grow up wherever she wants, she is still extremely relatable. In fact, Guerrero (not unlike her co-star, Stephanie Beatriz) feels specifically connected with the character she plays.
On the trap of being seen as perfect
While Mirabel isn’t expected to do much other than provide general support, her Madrigal siblings are subject to more scrutiny. In the case of Isabela, she has been placed in the unenviable position of having her fellow family members view her as perfect. She’s beautiful, flowers literally blossom wherever she walks, and people from all around seem to fall in love with her. However, no one is perfect, and perfection places heavy stress on anyone who might feel obligated to keep up appearances.
“I think that a lot of us can relate to Isabela, this sort of pressure, societal pressure and instinctual pressure to be perfect, to get everything right,” said Diane Guerrero when we asked her if she connected with Isabela. “I think that, in a sense, for me, I used this idea of perfection as a survival technique. And it did help for some of the tougher experiences and challenges in my life. But after a while, that gets exhausting and it’s not sustainable.”
Guerrero also understands having to put on a brave face in spite of the fact that her parents were deported when she was a child, something she’s discussed in her memoir, “In the Country We Love”. “I’ve been working on myself in terms of my mental health and learning a lot about familial trauma and ancestral trauma and all sorts of trauma, I’ve learned that perfection has definitely been something that has been hindering me from being comfortable with who I am, fully,” she revealed. “And really being able to express myself in the ways that I want and ultimately bringing me down in a lot of ways. So I’m trying to shed that perfection, much like Isabela.”
“Encanto” is currently showing in theaters.