Disney's Elena of Avalor Interview w/ Aimee Carrero, Craig Gerber & Silvia Cardenas Olivas #ElenaOfAvalor

With a one hour premiere on Disney Channel, Princess Elena of Avalor made her royal debut in the animated series "Elena of Avalor".

Disney's Elena of Avalor Interview with Aimee Carrero

Note: I was invited as media to the movie screening and press junket interviews. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

To learn more about the series and the first official Disney Latina Princess, I was able to interview Aimee Carrero (voice of Princess Elena) Craig Gerber (Creator/Executive Producer) and Silvia Cardenas Olivas (Story Editor).

Onica {Mommy Factor}: How did you first hear about Disney's Elena of Valor?

Aimee Carrero: It was all a bit secretive to start. I received an email from my agent about an audition. No mention of princess or anything. After a few cal backs. I booked the job but I still had no idea. So when the press release came out I was very shocked and excited obviously.

Disney's Elena of Avalor Interview with Aimee Carrero

Onica {Mommy Factor}: Princess Elena is very head strong. From the first she's confident and clear about what she wants to do. Is that similar to you in real life?

Aimee Carrero: Yes. Definitely. I grew up surrounded by various strong women. So because of that, I don't shy away from saying what I think. Which sometimes gets me in trouble, the same as Elena.

But I think what's she learning, which I'm also learning, is to be more tactful. Because as a person in a position of power, I think you have to be a bit more careful. But yeah I didn't have to dig too deep.

Onica {Mommy Factor}: Elena is a "Latina" princess, which is a very big deal for the Latina community. As a person with Hispanic background (Dominican/Puerto Rican) how do you feel about this?

Aimee Carrero: First of all, it's an incredible honor to be part of this History. But not only for Latina culture. Absolutely this is the first and it's so important. But also for women it's huge. Because to see a woman of color in a position of power. She's doing a great job and she's autonomous.

I think that's an important image for people to see. It's not one we see that often, especially in a positive context. So I feel very proud of that.

Elena deals with things that anybody has dealt with, or will deal with in their adolescence into adulthood. Because it's about trying to find your place in the world.

Elena is just trying to find her place in the world. How she fits in. How she going to eave the world a little better then how she found it. all the while being a leader, being a daughter, being a grand daughter, being a sister, being a friend etc

Disney's Elena of Avalor Interview with Aimee Carrero

Onica {Mommy Factor}: Is there anything you want to change or have added to Princess Elena?

Aimee Carrero: What I didn't know they were going to add, but that I was really excited about, was the instrument. That she plays guitar, I thought that was really cool. I picked up learning guitar not too long ago and it's really great to see her doing it also.

It was awesome chatting with Aimee about voicing Elena of Avalor. She was so sweet, funny and excited about being part of the animated series.

Disney's Elena of Avalor Interview with Craig Gerber and Silvia Cardenas Olivas

To learn more about how of Disney's Elena of Avalor was developed my next interview was with Craig Gerber (Creator/Executive Producer) and Silvia Cardenas Olivas (Story Editor).

Onica {Mommy Factor}: How did you come up with the idea for Elena of Avalor?

Craig Gerber: I was working on another show for Disney (Sophia the First), which involved a lot of Disney Princess. While immersed in that world, I discovered a great need and demand for a Latina princess. Rather then do it in that show, I felt it really deserved it's own series.

But it needed a really great idea, in order to get everyone to say yes to a new series. So I thought, what would a new fresh, exciting and empowering idea? Then one it just hit me. What if there was a princess who had to be in charge of her kingdom? She wasn't old enough to be queen, but was still a Princess who ruled. Had to do the nitty griddy of taking care of this kingdom and her family.

I thought this was a compelling story idea for a series and worthy of Disney's first Latina princess. And everyone else at the company agreed.

Disney's Elena of Avalor Interview with Craig Gerber and Silvia Cardenas Olivas

Onica {Mommy Factor}: The Latina culture is very diverse. What research did you do to help form the story?

Craig Gerber: Many of the classic Disney Princess hailed from Fairy tale kingdoms. There's a great tradition of Disney with Fairytale kingdoms that are inspired by actual fairy tales, myths or history.

If you want a Latina Disney Princess, part of that is having a fairy tale kingdom. That allows us to separate ourselves from history and create a kingdom that is inspired by various elements of different Latin cultures. So it feels more inclusive. It's not just about one country or one group of folks. It's about a heritage that is represented.

So that was our goal. To do a lot of research and create our own kingdom to have the freedom to have our own fantasy world.

Onica {Mommy Factor}: When did you come into the story-line process?

Silvia Cardenas Olivas: I came in pretty early in the process. Craig wrote a series overview. When I read it, I got excited. I started to see the characters and the world pop off the page.

Personally I hadn't read anything where there was Latinos royals, wizards, etc. I said I have to be part of this. I know there's so much I can bring. It got me excited in a way, I felt it was going to change culture.

It was going to change the ways Latinos viewed each other and how other people viewed Latinos.

And to see this empowered Latina ruling this kingdom, with the help of the grand counsel, also empowering other women and promoting them into her grand counsel was something that is relevant today.

Disney's Elena of Avalor Interview with Craig Gerber and Silvia Cardenas Olivas

Onica {Mommy Factor}: When it comes to the mystical elements of the show, how were you able to weave it into the story telling?

Craig Gerber: Rather then relay on the same European folk tales and magic, we did a lot of research into Latin American and Mesto American myths and legends to come up with the magic of our world. We started with the research and then came up with our own spin on it.

For example. Mateo, who's the royal wizard of Avalor has a drum wand. Rather then just a normal wizards wand. That was inspired by these medicine woman in Chile. They played these drums to do their magic so we were inspired by that.

Elena has a spirit animal, who's inspired by the Mayan myth, that says everyone has their own animal spirit companion. So we use him as guardian angel/life coach. So we did a lot of research and used a lot of it to inspire us.

Disney's Elena of Avalor

Onica {Mommy Factor}: Even this is a Latina princess, what do you want my readers to know about Elena and how she fits into with the other Disney Princess?

Silvia Cardenas Olivas: I think Elena embodies all the values and principals that we all aspire to. I really do think of her as a Princess for everyone. And if they like adventure and fun, then your readers will like our show. And parents will like it also because there's a theme usually about leadership, family or friendship. So you can talk to your kids about it after the episode.

Craig Gerber: Yes, it was really important for us to not just create a character that Latino children and families can watch and feel represented by. But also to create a character that would have universal appeal. So that was baked right into our storytelling.

The heritage makes the Princess unique but their character and their story makes them compelling. I'm hoping that anyone who gives Elena a chance will see that she is, as Silvia said, a princess for everyone!

Disney's Elena of Avalor NYC Screening and Cast Interview

Set in the enchanted fairytale land of Avalor, the series tells the story of Elena, a brave and adventurous teenager who has saved her kingdom from an evil sorceress and must now learn to rule as crown princess until she is old enough to be queen.

Elena’s journey will lead her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders.

"Elena of Avalor" stars Aimee Carrero as the voice of Elena; Jenna Ortega as Princess Isabel; Chris Parnell, Yvette Nicole Brown and Carlos Alazraqui as the jaquins Migs, Luna and Skylar respectively; Emiliano Díez as Francisco; Julia Vera as Luisa; Christian Lanz as Chancellor Esteban; Jillian Rose Reed as Naomi; Joseph Haro as Mateo; Jorge Diaz as Gabe; Keith Ferguson as Zuzo; and Joe Nunez as Armando.

To learn more about Elena of Avalor, visit - www.disney.com/elena-of-avalor

Like Elena of Avalor on Facebook: www.facebook.com/princesselenaofavalor
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