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Heads Up, Disney: This Harvard Student Just Created the Korean Heroine We Need

Even though they’ve slowly taken strides towards more inclusivity and representation, Disney still has a ways to go when it comes to making sure fans around the globe truly see themselves in the brand’s iconic and beloved princesses. Thankfully, one young composer created an incredible new musical as part of her senior thesis project at Harvard University, dreaming up the Korean heroine we absolutely need as one of the future Disney princesses.

Julia Riew, a 22-year-old musical theater composer and lyricist, took to social media to share a glimpse of her original work, called Shimcheong: A Folktale. The original musical is loosely based on the Korean story The Blind Man’s Daughter, which tells the story of a young girl who sacrifices herself for her father and is rewarded for her devotion to him. Earlier this month, Riew shared the first of more than a dozen original songs, “Dive,” on her TikTok account, where it quickly went viral — and when you watch it, you’ll understand why instantly.


There was no Korean Disney princess so I decided to make my own 🙂 #disney #korean #koreanamerican #disneyprincess #musical #originalsong #originalmusical #musicaltheatre #theater #music #newsong #dreamworks

♬ original sound – Julia Riew

“There was no Korean Disney princess so I decided to make my own,” she shared, adding, “I’m a Korean American composer-lyricist-writer and my dream is to write for Disney!”

In the weeks since her newfound viral fame, Riew has shared more behind-the-scenes glimpses into what inspired her along the way as she wrote up a full screenplay and 15 original songs to go along with it. She’s also encouraging fellow artists to share their ideas for concept art, showing off just some of the stunning fan art she’s received from equally talented young artists just as excited by the story as she is.


Korean Disney Princess fan art favs pt 1!!! Which is your favorite? Mine is all of them 😍 #disney #disneyprincess #shimcheong #korean

♬ original sound – Julia Riew

Describing herself as a “second-and-a-half generation Korean American,” Riew is hoping viral fame leads to the attention of the creative geniuses at Disney, who have the power to turn her musical into reality. She put it best when she shared a video of a young Korean American princess singing “Dive,” adding, “Representation matters. My dream is to create the Korean princess that I wish I could’ve seen growing up.” Your move, Disney. We are ready for it!

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