Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey shares emotional reaction to fan hugging her at Disney: ‘She won’t let go’

The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey has shared the emotional reaction she had to a fan who continued hugging her at Disney World.

The 22-year-old took to her Instagram Story on Thursday to document her trip to Disney, where she joined a special event that featured 100 students who are a part of the Disney Dreamers Academy.

In her post, she included a video of herself carrying a fan, who was laying her head on the actor’s shoulder. The fan also had her legs and arms wrapped around Bailey, as she proceeded to give her a hug.

Bailey proceeded to compliment the young fan in the clip, as she said: “You’re so pretty… you’re so beautiful and sweet.” In the background, a woman could be heard telling Bailey that “Ariel” is her “favourite” Disney princess, as the actor plays this iconic character in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

The Grown-ish star proceeded to bounce up and down, while smiling and hugging the fan. She then asked the fan’s family what the girl’s name was, to which they responded: Mila. As she continued to say “hi” to Mila, the young girl’s head briefly lifted up from the actor’s shoulder.

A woman in the background responded to this sweet interaction with a comment about Mila, saying: “Oh my god, she won’t let go.”

Bailey continued to have a happy and shocked look on her face, before the singer asked Mila if she “wanted to smile”. Someone in the background asked the fan if she wanted to take a picture, before she and the singer turned their heads toward a different camera to pose.

The Chloe x Halle member acknowledged how much this experience meant to her in the caption, writing: “And I met this beautiful baby Mila Rose who made me cry…she just hugged me so tightly.”

 (hallebailey / Instagram)
(hallebailey / Instagram)

Bailey’s visit to Disney World comes days after she spoke about her role in The Little Mermaid, which will be released on 26 May. More specifically, she addressed some of the racist messages she received, after it was announced in August 2019 that she’d be playing Ariel.

“Seeing the world’s reaction to it was definitely a shock,” she said in an interview with Edition magazine. However, she also acknowledged some of the positive reactions to her casting, adding: “But seeing all the babies’ reactions, all the brown and Black young girls, really tore me up emotionally.”

When the trailer for the Disney film was released, many parents posted videos of their Black and non-white children reacting to the trailer.

“I think she’s brown,” said a little girl, in a video that has been liked over a million times. She then sat up and brought her hand to her chest as she watched. “Brown Ariel. Brown Ariel is cute,” she said.

When the trailer for the film came out in September, Bailey also spoke about why playing Ariel meant so much to her. “I love this movie so much, and I’ve treasured it since I was a little girl,” she said in an interview with E! News. “I did put a bit of pressure on myself just because I want to deliver all of the feels that I saw when I was a little girl.”

She added that she “gave her all and gave 110 per cent into everything of this film, I am really proud of myself”.