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A New Kind of Princess

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FROM LEFT: DISNEY; FRAZER HARRISON—GETTY IMAGES

TFK Kid Reporter Abby Rogers spoke with Kelly Marie Tran, who plays Raya in the new animated Disney movie Raya and the Last Dragon. Catch the movie on Disney+ beginning March 5.

1. Can you tell me about Raya and the Last Dragon?

It’s a movie about friendship and learning how to trust. There are a lot of incredible characters, including Raya.

2. How do you feel your character, Raya, changes what it means to be a Disney princess?

People are going to see a lot of things they don’t expect from a Disney princess. Raya is a fighter, and there are a lot of action sequences in this movie that I think people are going to get really amped by. It’s really cool to see her and the martial arts that she is a master at.

3. What was your favorite part of acting in this movie?

My favorite part was getting to open the door to that world. I am such a huge fan of Disney animated movies, and to be part of one feels crazy to me. I would love to think that maybe one day my kids will watch this movie. So that’s really cool.

4. Why is representation important in movies?

It is really important to see yourself in stories. An entire team of people went to Southeast Asia to study the specifics of the cultures there. They were able to bring back all of this incredible knowledge. All of that is seen in the movie. We see foods from that part of the world. We see clothes that are inspired by the fabrics that are used in that part of the world. With this movie, Disney has done an incredible job of making sure that the representation of that part of the world is accurate and true.

5. What do you hope people take away from this movie?

I hope that people will take away that the more we can get rid of our biases about what we think a certain type of person is like, the more we can work together toward a common good—and the better the world will be. That’s the message.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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