Halle Bailey ‘felt very comfortable’ on the set of ‘The Little Mermaid’ with hair and makeup team of color

Ahead of the film's release, Halle Bailey reveals her experience transforming Ariel’s red hair into red locs.

As a young, rising Black actress, Halle Bailey said she hasn’t always had the luxury of a hair and makeup team that made her feel comfortable. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case on the set of “The Little Mermaid.”

Ahead of the film’s release on May 26, Bailey gave insight into what her experience was like filming “The Little Mermaid,” including transforming Ariel’s iconic red hair into red locs while on the set of “The Little Mermaid,” with a makeup and hair team of color, in a new Glamour profile. 

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Halle Bailey attends the Australian premiere of “The Little Mermaid” at State Theatre on May 22, 2023, in Sydney. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Bailey said she first fell in love with the iconic character of Ariel when she was 5 years old. “When I saw her, [I was] like, ‘She’s so beautiful; I want to be a mermaid too.’ She didn’t look like me, but I was okay with that because it was what I was used to at the time,” she said.

She continued, adding how moved she’s been by watching little girls, especially little Black girls, react to her as Ariel. She said, “When I saw those for the first time, I just cried. I was sobbing uncontrollably. The fact that these babies are looking at me and feeling the emotions that they’re feeling is a really humbling, beautiful thing.” 

The process of creating her version of Ariel that has so many fans transfixed included hairstylist Camille Friend and makeup artist Kat Ali. Bailey told the outlet she “felt very comfortable” in their hands.   

“They’re both women of color, so I felt very comfortable. They know how to take care of me and my hair and makeup,” Bailey said, adding, “I’ve been on sets before where that’s not the case.”

According to Glamour, transforming Bailey’s locs into that of a Mermaid Princess involved Friend dyeing Bailey’s roots red and then wrapping her locs with hair of the same shade. Bailey said, “[Ariel still] has red hair, because that’s a very iconic part of her, but I really did admire the fact that because I’m a Black woman and I have locs, [the producers] wanted to incorporate that into Ariel’s look.”

Bailey recently told theGrio how excited she was to be able to bring her own distinctive style to Ariel.  

“I just wanted to live up to [the original] and also just put my own spin on it,” she said. “I was so grateful that I was allowed that freedom to do certain riffs and nuances and add Halle to Ariel’s character.”

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