'Elena of Avalor' inspired by the diversity of Latin culture

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Thursday, October 5, 2017
'Elena of Avalor' inspired by the diversity of Latin culture
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Elena of Avalor is a fun and adventurous show that features Disney's first Latina princess.

Featuring Disney's first Latina Princess, Elena of Avalor has drawn inspiration from the cultures across Latin America to create the hit show.

"Latin culture is extremely diverse," show creator Craig Gerber told ABC. "There are many nations and each nation has its own traditions. Then there are traditions that they share based on their mutual heritage."

Gerber saw the demand for a Disney Latina princess while working on his Disney Junior show, Sofia the First.

"One of the best things about working on this show has been embracing and portraying these myths and legends and magic from a tradition that hasn't gotten a lot of attention," he said.

As a Latina who grew up in Los Angeles, story editor and co-executive producer Silvia Olivas always wanted a Disney princess who looked like her. Once she discovered Gerber was working on the show, she knew she had to be a part of it.

Olivas draws inspiration from her upbringing and family for many of the stories and characters of Elena of Avalor. She continues to be inspired by moms who come to her crying because they are touched by the show.

"They're happy that I'm telling their stories, our stories," she said. "And their kids get to see a girl who looks just like them going through these adventures and stories."

When Elena was first created, Olivas thought of her as a Latin princess, but she's amazed that the young audience sees Elena as a leader first and foremost.

"Little girls are thinking about her as a leader, and that's amazing to me," Olivas said. "That's what makes me so excited because from their point of view she's just a beautiful, smart leader, and they want to be just like her."