Best known for her role as Meadow in The Sopranos, Jamie Lynn-Sigler will star in a very different TV series this December. As the voice of Disney’s first Jewish-Latina princess, she’ll make an appearance in a Hanukkah-themed episode of Elena of Avalor — and, next year, in Elena’s royal coronation special.
Walt Disney Animation’s announcement was met with criticism from those who believed Disney’s founder, Walt Disney, held anti-Semitic views. Still, most viewers are happy to hear about the diverse role played by a character, yet to be named, who will be visiting from a “Latino Jewish kingdom.” Um, we’re here for it. And as a Jewish woman myself, it would have been a big deal to see a Jewish Disney princess when I was growing up.
“I am so excited to voice Disney’s first Jewish princess,” the actress tweeted earlier this week. Well, maybe Disney’s second Jewish princess? Apparently Sarah Silverman, who voiced princess Vanellope von Schweetz in Disney’s Wreck-it Ralph, claimed that her character was Jewish.
“Not first, but welcome to the family Jamie,” Rich Moore, one of the movie’s directors, chimed in. Hey, first or second, as far as animation goes, there’s always room for more diversity.
Rachel Ruderman, a writer on the series, tweeted, “@JamieLSigler knocks the role out of the park (wait ’till you hear her song!)….”
I am so excited to voice Disney’s first Jewish princess 💁🏽♀️❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/TISMnknDyQ
— Jamie-Lynn Sigler (@JamieLSigler) September 17, 2019
Lynn-Sigler has a personal connection to the role; she’s the daughter of a Jewish father and a Cuban mother. “I now have a greater understanding and motivation about preserving my Jewishness,” she told The Jerusalem Post after she visited Israel on a Birthright trip in 2008.
If the actress’s Disney character turns out to be anything like Meadow, we can expect a fierce woman who can stick up for herself in the face of hardship. Someone with, let’s say, a lot of chutzpah.
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