Moana a Disney Character My Child Can Identify With

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Moana A Disney Character 

Growing up my child has been acutely aware that she is different to most of the children around her. By different I mean, my daughter is Polynesian. Having a British and Maori Mother and a birth Father with Tongan, Samoan and Fijian ancestry, Sylvia is a real fruit cocktail of beauty. I think my child is gorgeous however at times being “different” has not been easy.

Moana a Disney Character My Child Can Identify With


We live in a small village in Lancashire and I can honestly say I have never seen another Polynesian person in our village. I’ve never seen a Polynesian in town or in fact anywhere in Lancashire except an LDS Missionary who was visiting the UK in a religious capacity.

Sylvia has at times felt upset about her skin colour. It didn’t help that the parent of a child down the road called my daughter a **** (not so nice name) which was racist and nasty. However, if you look different from the average child in your class and school and the people you interact with every day, you are going to feel to some degree unique.

I always try to tell my child how special she is. How beautiful she is and what a blessing it is to be part Tongan and Polynesian. I share with Sylvia cultural values and have taught her some words in the Tongan language. I want my child to embrace what makes her unique and special.

Moana Disney

A few years ago Sylvia said to me, she wanted lighter skin and blonde hair. After a deep discussion, it turned out Sylvia felt that way because she wanted to look like a Disney Princess.

Yes My Child Wanted to Look Like a Disney Princess

However, there was not really a princess or Disney character Sylvia could identify with. Sylvia dressed up as Tinkerbell as a child but Tinkerbell had blonde hair. Sylvia did not look like Sleeping Beauty or Snow White, Cinderella or Repunzel. She didn’t look like Mulan or Tiana.

This little 6-year-old child was telling me her mum that she was sad because there was no Disney character like her. Of course, there is the movie Lilo and Stitch but even this character did not really look like my child.

I Told My Child Maybe One Day There Will Be a Polynesian Princess

So you can imagine how excited I was a few years ago to hear about the Disney Movie Moana. Casting calls were made and clips shared online. I told Sylvia the great news and she was really pleased. In fact, she was over the moon. My little girl was finally going to have a Disney character to identify with.

Of course, Sylvia still dresses up as other characters, she has Disney dolls, Elsa and Ahna but we are really excited to go and watch Moana at the movies when it comes out. As a blogger, I decided to make the most of the opportunity and I’m going to pitch and look for opportunities to work with Brands promoting the Disney Moana movie and Moana products.

We are going to embrace this new movie and character and I’m hoping it will in some small way help my child to grow in self-esteem, to know that she is special and that the fact she looks like a beautiful Disney character may help her to better accept who she is.

Of course, we are all different, with different cultures, races and backgrounds and as much as I would love the world to be accepting and wonderful of each other’s differences (and many people are). The reality is some are not.

I will embrace this new movie and use it as a tool to help my child grow in self-esteem, to help her know that she is beautiful, that being different is okay. I’ll teach my daughter that she is special, she is loved and no matter what colour we are, our skin, hair or eyes, we all have great worth.

I hope we can get some fantastic opportunities as the Moana movie Hype begins. Watch this space!

Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and is passionate about kids crafts and having fun as a family. Angela has also taught cooking skills and loves to share both family recipes and easy crafts here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!

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  1. I love this, I can understand how your daughter feels. It can be hard to be of a mixed ethnicity, more so because of others. There’s very little in society that helps us to feel we’re beautiful. It’s very eurocentric driven and even when I was smaller, I loved Jasmine and Pocahontas because they were Princesses of ethnicity but they never seem to be as popular as the blonde / brunette – light eyed Princesses. I’m so glad your daughter has Moana to look up to and realise she’s as gorgeous as everyone else and I hope it does help her self-esteem more. One day she’ll understand it’s ignorance from others who just do not understand x

  2. Great post! I hate racism and can’t believe anyone can say something as disgusting to anyone, let alone a little girl! I’m embarrassed of some people. I’m glad she’s come across someone to identify with, I believe that is very important growing up

  3. We saw the trailer of this animation a week ago in the cinema. Your daughter is beautiful, she is much more beautiful than all the Disney princesses taken together.

  4. I think your daughter is beautiful! I have to admit that I am a little surprised coming from South Africa… I really would have expected that as the UK is a 1st world country people would be more open to multiculturalism. I think you’re doing a great job by continuously building her self-confidence so that when she’s older she’ll realize that it’s not what’s on the outside that counts but it’s what’s inside.

  5. I have not heard about this film, will have to look out for it.
    I did have a little laugh that your Daughter once wanted fair skin and blonde hair, as my Daughter has that and would cry that she couldn’t have the same colour skin and hair like her friend ( now her best friend) who is mixed race.

  6. This is so cool, I hate the fact that there isn’t usually much diversity within the Disney Princesses. 🙂 I feel so sad that there wasn’t a character which was close to your daughter in appearance before. x

    1. Oh I think with time there will be more diversity. It’s never easy. I think its great to have princesses of all kinds.

  7. Well I think Sylvia is brilliant and beautiful, her skin colour and cultural differences should not alienate her but rather show the world how special she is. I grew up wishing I was white, blonde and blue eyed because I was taught that being ‘coloured’ was ugly but its not. I actually love my skin colour now but I am still working on the rest of me. Glad she has a character that she can identify with!

    1. Thanks Ana 🙂 I totally relate. It’s sad when we are taught false truths. I want Sylvia to learn no matter what she is lovely.

  8. It is great that Disney are bringing out a heroine that your daughter will be able to relate to. Having been to Polynesia I feel just how lucky she is to have such a wonderful culture as part of her heritage. The people are friendlier and more welcoming than anywhere I’ve ever visited and they are brave and strong, resiliant and tolerant. They made us feel like part of a community and I would love to go back. A great post about the importance of diversity in helping our children feel recognised.

    1. Thanks. I do think teaching the younger generation about diversity is really important. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  9. So glad that there is a Disney princess now that Sylvia can identify with. She’s such a beautiful girl though with or without a matching Disney princess but I can imagine that being different isn’t easy at times. What a beautiful, rich heritage your daughter has though x

  10. Aw she really looks like Moana! such a beautiful girl you have. It’s hard as mums to see our children face difficult times. I’ve always felt like that and I know my children will too, so it’s great to teach them since they’re young to embrace uniqueness. We all have things that make us different and other ones that makes us equal. 🙂

    Love your new blog and style btw! xx

    1. I think it is really important to teach our daughters and children to have self worth and to love who they are! Thanks for the lovely comments and I’m really excited about the rebranded blog! 🙂

  11. Your daughter is beautiful and I still cant believe how racist people are these days. Children can be so cruel! I am so glad to hear that she now has a disney princess to identify with. Big hugs to her xxx

    1. I’m sure as my child grows she wont feel this way but i guess all people go through it when they are different to those around them.

  12. I feel quite sad she’s ever felt anything but confident in her own skin. She’s just beautiful. Nice to know she finds comfort in the Disney Princess though xx

    1. Thanks Ashleigh. It is sad but it’s a chance to grow and develop I guess too and my challenge as a mum to help her grow in confidence.

  13. It amazes me how cruel people can still be in this day and age! I really enjoyed reading this post, and your daughter is an absolute beauty. 🙂 I saw a clip of Moana online and it looks like it’s going to be a great film, I can’t wait to see it. x


  14. I’ve never heard of Moana, but I’m glad to hear about her! The really good thing about having had to wait so long for this character is if Disney continue in their current vein, she won’t be some sappy, whiny girl who needs a prince to bail her out. She will be self sufficient and strong!
    I remember reading one of your posts before about Sylvia being bullied because of her skin colour. It both saddens and disgusts me that this can happen to anyone, let alone a child. Her skin is a gorgeous colour, I only hope she grows to see that for herself one day!

    1. Thanks Debbie. I appreciate your kind words. I agree. i hope she will grow up and love who she is…she is so young and i believe all will be okay eventually 🙂

  15. Awwh thats really sad that she wanted lighter skin and blonde hair! She is truly stunning and beautiful little girl! I agree that there need to be more princess’ for little girls to identify with, this sounds great though I can’t wait for it to come out so I can see it!

  16. That’s terrible that an adult called Sylvia such a name! Wow. I’m so sorry Sylvia had to experience that 🙁
    Moana sounds great! I haven’t heard of her before but it’s great Sylvia now has someone she can identify with, bless her. xx

  17. I’ve never heard of Moana, but I’m glad to hear the film is coming out and that your daughter will feel more comfortable being able to relate to a Disney princess that looks like her x

  18. Love that they are adding more diversity in Disney movies for girls to aspire too. I’m mixed race too and sometimes found it confusing when growing up.

  19. That’s such a touching story! I’m sorry your daughter’s had to experience feeling this way but hopefully she’ll grow to be a strong woman who appreciates the differences in life. Can’t wait to see the new movie and I hope you get to do lots of collabs on your blog for it 🙂

    Gemma x |

  20. I have never heard of this film before but I will be looking out for it!
    I’m so glad that Sylvia has found a Disney character she can identify with….Your girl is beautiful!

  21. Angela!! Your blog is so beautiful. I just want to sit and scroll and stare at it. You have worked really hard and it has paid off handsomely. You have a blog to be proud of and I LOVE how you have featured your beautiful daughter and highlighted her throughout the website.

    My daughter is bi-racial as well. I’m white causasin with American Indian in my ancestry. My husband is 100% Asian Indian from the country of India. Like yours, our daughter is beautiful, but around age 5 when she first attended school she began to pinch at her skin and cry and say that she hated her skin and wanted to be white like the other girls in class. It was a painfully difficult time for her that I had foolishly not realized she would experience. Thankfully, she made it through with her skin intact and now she is a few months shy of her 18th birthday and having to bat the males away because they think she is so beautiful! LOL

    1. Thanks so much for the lovely message. It can be difficult but sounds like your daughter has done fantastic! 🙂 Lovely to meet you.

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