‘Encanto’ Artists Fought Disney to Make Luisa Muscular and Now Her Merchandise Is Outselling Isabela’s
Encanto is heading into the awards season as one of the biggest animated films of the year. Disney brings its magic through the perspective of another culture in a way that charmed audiences around the world. However, Encanto artists had to fight with Disney to give Luisa a muscular physique that fits her magical gift. Their victory is proving successful, as her merchandise is outselling Isabela’s, who fits more into Disney’s typical imagery.
Luisa Madrigal has the power of super-strength in ‘Encanto’
Encanto follows a Colombian teenager named Mirabel Madrigal (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz). A magical candle grants members of her family powerful abilities when they come of age. However, Mirabel is the only child to never receive any magical gifts. She discovers that the family’s magic is fading and must get to the bottom of it before the family is torn apart. Mirabel learns what it is that truly makes someone special and powerful.
Luisa (voiced by Jessica Darrow) is the daughter of Julieta (voiced by Angie Cepeda) and Agustín (voiced by Wilmer Valderrama). She’s also the younger sister of Isabela (voiced by Diane Guerrero) and the older sister of Mirabel. Luisa has the gift of super strength. However, she feels an immense amount of pressure to meet her family’s expectations. As a result, she sings about the pressure that she feels weighing on her shoulders.
Artists had to fight Disney to make Luisa muscular
Encanto illustrator and character modeling supervisor Dylan Ekren explained the fight with Disney to give Luisa a muscular physique that better fits the character. Comic Book Resources shared the difficult struggle in giving the character a muscular frame, rather than a “petite and slim” one.
“I think we all just wanted to do it in a way that worked well with the style and really made sense for the character and I’m really proud of the way that she turned out,” Ekren wrote. “The entire team was so awesome. I just pushed buttons in the right order.”
This surprised many fans online, as it makes sense for Luisa’s physical attributes to match her gift of super-strength. However, Disney tends to portray specific types of male and female-presenting characters in precise ways. It turns out that audiences actually connect more with characters that feel genuine in more ways than one.
Luisa’s ‘Encanto’ merchandise is outselling Isabela’s
HITC reports that Luisa’s merchandise is actually outselling Isabela’s. Fans are even demanding for Disney to make more merchandise for the character. Many young audiences relate to Luisa’s strength, honesty, and ability to be vulnerable.
Isabela’s character communicates that nobody is perfect, nor do they need to pretend to do so. However, Luisa represents a different type of character that Disney doesn’t often portray. Perhaps this will move Disney to further expand their bubble of what feminity means and how they conceptualize it within their narratives.
Encanto is now streaming on Disney+.