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The Power of Representation: Yara Shahidi Talks to 9-Year-Old Fan About Playing Tinker Bell

The newly released Disney film, "Peter Pan and Wendy," has caught the attention of many, particularly with Yara Shahidi playing Tinker Bell, the first Black woman to take on the role.

We had the pleasure of inviting 9-year-old Isla to meet and interview her hero, Yara Shahidi. In this heartfelt interview, Shahidi shared her thoughts on the importance of imagination, representation, feminism, and using our voices to make a difference.

Shahidi also talked about the significance of her being the first Black woman to play Tinker Bell, stressing the importance of representation in fairy tales.

"To be able to make sure that those stories look like our communities around us. We have a Tinker Bell with curly hair, we have lost kids that look like all of my friends and all of your friends is really important, and I think makes a big impact because it shows us what is to be celebrated and what should be seen as normal in our world"

During the interview, Yara Shahidi opened up about her views on feminism, emphasizing that it is about celebrating every aspect of oneself, including the imperfections that make us human.

She also shared her passion for empowering young girls to speak up and make their voices heard, highlighting the importance of providing them with the space and opportunities to do so. According to Yara, even simple actions like asking for their opinions can help train girls to recognize the value of their perspectives. Finally, she spoke about believing in oneself and chasing one's dreams, acknowledging that it is a journey with ups and downs, but emphasizing the importance of understanding that every person is worthy of being in any space they occupy, regardless of their level of confidence.

Isla's mum, Charlotte, expressed how much the moment meant to her daughter:

"Getting invited to interview Yara was one of the most special moments of Isla's life and it was such an amazing experience as a mother to see Isla involved with. Isla got to ask such important questions about the significant of following your dreams, how to get your voice heard and being inspired by your role models to never give up and believe in yourself.

Charlotte, Isla's Mum

9-Year-old Isla captures a photo with her role model Yara Shahidi (Charlotte / The Female Lead)

After the interview - Isla was invited by Yara to the Premiere because she loved Isla's interview!

According to Isla's mother, Charlotte, the phone call informing them that Yara had invited them to the premiere that evening was the most thrilling phone call. Isla had interviewed Yara earlier, and the actress had been so impressed that she invited Isla to attend the premiere of "Peter Pan and Wendy." Charlotte was overjoyed to see her daughter's excitement and realize that others had recognized how special she was and wanted to provide her with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"Isla has had a difficult few years," Charlotte continued. "But she has faced these difficulties with such maturity and consideration for me. She’s such a kind and loving girl; she truly deserved to see what you can achieve if you believe in yourself."

"Attending the premiere with all the other actors and press was surreal. Yara and her team made such a fuss of Isla and she has not stopped talking about this experience.

Her confidence to follow her dreams and be herself has grown, it’s been such a wonderful thing to be part of. Isla is passionate, like me, about equality, feminism and empowering young girls. Isla could see how important self-belief and dreams are and now knows she can achieve hers.

"Getting the chance to ask Yara how it felt to be the first Black woman cast as Tinkerbell was also a moment we will always be proud of. Isla was able to see a young woman who represents her ethnicity stand proud and tell her how special she is and what it feels like to get to where she has. "

Isla at The Premiere of Peter Pan and Wendy (Charlotte / The Female Lead)

At The Female Lead, we strongly believe that young girls should be exposed to positive role models who inspire and empower them to believe in themselves and their dreams. As we have seen through Isla's experience, meeting a role model can be a life-changing moment that gives young people the confidence and self-belief to achieve their full potential. By providing access to stories of female leaders, innovators, and trailblazers, we hope to encourage the next generation of young girls to follow in their footsteps and make a positive impact in the world. We are proud to be part of a movement that supports young girls in achieving their goals and realizing their full potential.


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