Halle Bailey talks about nailing Ariel’s iconic hair flip with heavy, wet locs in ‘The Little Mermaid’

Written by on May 20, 2023

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Disney’s newest princess Halle Bailey is reflecting on her experience shooting the live-action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid,” which hits theaters in less than a week.

Halle sat down with “Sherri” host Sherri Shepherd on Friday to discuss the challenges of nailing Ariel’s iconic hair-flip shot with locs and spending long periods of time away from her sister, Chloe Bailey.

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Halle Bailey attends Variety’s Power of Young Hollywood Celebration presented by Facebook Gaming/Meta at NeueHouse Los Angeles on Aug. 11, 2022, in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)

“It took me 20 takes,” Halle said about trying to recreate the hair-flip scene from the animated original while having her hair in locs.

“For those of you that have locs, our locs are heavy. And when we’re in the water they get even heavier,” the 23-year-old added. 

“Yeah, my neck was over it.”

First announced four years ago, the casting of Halle in Disney’s classic mermaid tale sparked racist backlash online from commenters decrying a Black character being chosen to portray Ariel, who appears white with straight hair in the original animated film, as theGrio previously reported.

Despite this, early snippets of the film have been met with an outpouring of excitement and support from many fans happy see their favorite princess portrayed by someone who looks like them. The initial trailer sparked a viral challenge in which parents filmed young Black girls and their emotional reaction to seeing Halle as Ariel onscreen.

The Bailey sisters, who broke onto the scene as Chloe x Halle in 2015 after posting song covers on YouTube, had never spent much time apart before the filming of “The Little Mermaid,” which Halle said was a difficult adjustment.

“It was our first time being apart when I went to go film this movie, so [Chloe] came out with me for the first month just to make sure I’d be okay,” Halle told Shepherd.

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 27: (L-R) Halle Bailey and Chloe Bailey attend the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

“And then, she went back home, and we just stayed on Facetime every day. I’d call her crying saying, ‘I’m trying! I’m trying!’  and she’d be like, ‘You got it! You got it!’ So, I just love her so much. I get emotional … She’s my best friend,” she added.

“The Little Mermaid” releases nationally on Friday, May 26, in theaters.

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