Disney has premiered its first plus-size female protagonist in a short film that is being praised for exploring body positivity and overcoming self-doubt.
The six minute animation, Reflect, tells the story of Bianca, a young ballet dancer who “battles her own reflection, overcoming doubt and fear by channelling her inner strength, grace and power”. Released on the Disney+ streaming service, it's being pitched as an uplifting tale of conquering body dysmorphia and self-doubt, and forms part of Disney’s Short Circuit series of experimental films.
The Disney animation artist and director Hillary Bradfield, who also worked on Encanto and Frozen II, said she hoped viewers would “feel more positively about themselves and how they look” after watching the short.
“Sometimes you go to the dark place to get to the good place. And that just makes the good place that much more beautiful,” she said. It's part of Disney's efforts to reframe its public image, releasing more content featuring diverse characters.
Reflect arrived on Disney+ last month and is gaining a new online fanbase. One tweeted: “Sixteen-year-old me needed this Disney short before I quit ballet because I didn’t want to be the fat girl in class any more. I’m glad little ones will have this. 10/10 for Reflect!”
Disney+ is due to roll out a cheaper advert supported service in December in the US.