When I was growing up, Cinderella was one of my favorite Disney princesses. It didn’t matter that she had blue eyes and blonde hair and I had brown eyes and brown hair, but I still related to the character who struggled as a child to eventually rise out of her poor beginnings to live in a castle. Hey, a little girl can dream, right?
Well, now ABC’s Once Upon a Time is making all of our collective dreams to see a Latina Disney princess come true. Dania Ramirez, who you probably recognize from Devious Maids, Entourage or Heroes, has just made her debut as the Latina Cinderella in the show’s seventh season.
Ramirez plays the tough Cinderella in OUAT’s fairy tale world and Jacinda (a woman who has a young daughter) in the real world. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ramirez spoke about how her character is different from the Cinderella you may have known in the past:
“Unlike other Cinderella stories, she’s not a damsel in distress. She’s not waiting to just go and meet the prince and marry him and have this guy come sweep her off her feet. She’s really taking action and really taking things into her own hands and is more of a rebel as the younger version in the fairy tale world. There’s a lot of those rebellious moments that she has as Jacinda in the real world, however, she has her daughter to think about. So there’s a different weight to her actions that take place in the real world that doesn’t take place for her in the fairy tale world. And there’s a different kind of freedom that she has in the fairy tale world because of that, because she’s really just fighting for herself.”
Playing a Latina Cinderella and how monumentous that is isn’t lost on Ramirez, either. In the same interview, she talks about what it means to play such a pivotal role:
“You’ve got to understand, for me, I grew up in the Dominican Republic without running water or electricity, in a very remote, small town. The thought of even remotely thinking that I could ever, in any realm of possibility, play such an iconic character, that it’s not even written to play for someone that looks like me, that is like me, it was just overwhelming. I was very emotional the first day that I came to set. […] Just for me, the realization of like, ‘Oh my God, I’m getting to play this incredible role and I never thought that it was something that could have been even a possibility.’”
Latinas everywhere are also noticing and noting the impact that the Latina Cinderella could have. Using the hashtag #LatinaCinderella, some women are sharing their praise for Ramirez’s portrayal of Cinderella/Jacinda. It’s amazing to see the positive responses that she has already garnered with just one episode aired so far. As one of this season’s major characters, we are sure to see more from Ramirez and our Latina Cinderella. And I, for one, can’t wait.
— Beth ⚯͛ (@Belle_Beth) October 11, 2017
— Francesca Mutolo (@mutolof92) October 7, 2017
— Katie Mealey (@Katie_Mealey) October 7, 2017