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Representation Matters

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

In my last post, I wrote about the Disney Ice Cream truck event. Little did I know, something super exciting would happen the following week.

As you may know, Disney has a new movie about 15 year old Rhea Kumar and her journey of trying to be a DJ while balancing her family life and helping at her father's restaurant, making time for her friends, and exploring a new love interest. Though my main reason for going to LA was to see Disney's Magic Bake Off on the Ice-Cream truck, it was so cool to see Rhea wearing her lengha on the front of the truck and seeing the Indian representation.

I was super flattered when a little girl pointed at the main lead in Disney's Spin and told her mom that that girl looked like me! I looked at the image that covered the side of the truck and thought,"she is so beautiful, and I love her tikka (the jewelry on her forehead)! It felt so good being told I resemble the star of a Disney movie!"

On my way back home from LA to visit the truck, my mom’s friend called her and asked her if I could fly down for the premiere after seeing my Instagram posts about being in Southern California. Even though I was already on my way back to San Jose, my mom made it happen! Two days later, I flew to LA for the movie premier and had such a blast! There was so much South Asian representation perfectly mixed with traditional Disney themes! Being there gave me this sense of pride that i hadn't experienced before and it felt amazing so amazing.

Music plays such a big part of my own personal family life. I have been learning two different types of Indian dance since I was about 5 years old (Bhangra/Gidha and Katak). love dancing with my grandparents, so when the grandma in the show danced to Bollywood music, I could relate. I also love wearing Indian clothes and getting dressed up for parties and weddings and wearing lenghas (floor length Indian skirts which are normally worn for special occasions) and loved seeing her wear them.

Another fun similarity was the food. Even though I am a third generation Indian (my grandparents from both my mom and dad's side came to America in 1970), eating Indian food is a big part of my diet. As a baker, I also love to try out Indian flavors in my cakes and desserts.

I loved Rhea's long hair and how important her family was to her. I could even relate to having a passion that is not the norm for your community and following your heart. Rhea's character was really relatable and the whole movie really spoke to a lot of members of the Indian community.

I really hope Disney makes more movies like this and that you are able to sit with your family and watch Disney's Spin on Disney+!

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