Rachel Zegler Snow White
Photo: Instagram/@rachelzegler
News and Entertainment

Rachel Zegler to Play Snow White in Disney’s Live-Action Remake

It’s official—Rachel Zegler is Hollywood’s next biggest star. The 20-year-old actress, whose mother is Colombian, first came into the spotlight in 2019 when she uploaded a video of herself singing an a cappella cover of “Shallow” from A Star is Born (2018), which has since gained almost twelve million views. But her rise to prominence has only grown. From snagging the lead role of Maria in Stephen Spielberg’s West Side Story (2021) to the daughter of Atlas in Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023), Zegler’s recent casting as Snow White in the upcoming Disney live-action remake has been a breakthrough for her and for Latinx representation on screen. The film will be directed by industry veteran Marc Webb, known for his directorial work on the indie romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer (2009) and Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man reboot in 2012 and 2014.

“Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts,” Webb said, Variety reported. “Her strength, intelligence, and optimism will become an integral part of rediscovering the joy in this classic Disney fairytale.”

It’s no accident that the news comes as Disney prepares to release a live-action version of The Little Mermaid (2021) this July, featuring Halle Bailey in the lead role, which incidentally, Zegler played in her high school’s production of the musical. Bailey,  like Zegler, occupies an interesting space in her film as an actor ethnically and culturally different from her character.

Due to its origins as a German fairy tale from the nineteenth century, Snow White has largely been a white story (no pun intended), and one that romanticizes European beauty standards by associating purity with pale skin in the very fabric of its plot.

So seeing a Latina actor like Zegler attached to such a role, one that was exclusive to white, non-Latinx actors for a whole host of reasons, feels nothing short of revolutionary. Needless to say, Zegler has been vocal about her enthusiasm for the project on social media.

“I HAVE MANIFESTED MY ENTIRE LIFE I THINK I THINK,” she shared on Twitter, along with photos of her meeting a Snow White cast member at Disneyland when she was seventeen. Fans have already posted art of Zegler dressed in Snow White’s iconic red, blue, and yellow costume from the original cartoon. She also shared the news on Instagram saying, “well… hello to a dream come true.

It’s certainly a well-deserved honor, and the Latinx community couldn’t be happier for her accomplishment and all that’s still to come. Production on the film will begin in 2022.