At just 22 years old, Halle Bailey has loads of bragging rights and an incredibly impressive resume: she’s a Disney princess! The actress and talented singer was cast as Ariel in the upcoming live action Little Mermaid film, becoming the second Black actress to play a live-action Disney princess after Brandy brought Cinderella to life on screen in 1997, as Twitter user @BrandyLegion pointed out. It’s a “dream come true” for the rising star, which she tweeted after news of her big role broke on July 3, 2019.
Possibly more impressive, Halle edged out many other actresses for the coveted role. “After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role,” director Rob Marshall said in a press release. Here’s what you should know about the actress who’ll soon be covering classics like “Under the Sea” and “Kiss the Girl” on the big screen!
1. She makes up one-half of the singing duo Chloe X Halle.
Halle gained notoriety for her duets with older sister Chloe Bailey, which they would upload to YouTube. Although they play twins on Freeform’s Grown-ish, they’re actually two years apart in age (Halle was born in 2000, Chloe in 1998). Fun fact: The talented duo recorded the theme song, “Grown,” for the television series! In April 2016, they dropped their debut EP, Sugar Symphony, and released their first full-length album, The Kids Are Alright, in March 2018. Showing off their musical prowess even more, Chloe and Halle performed at both the 2019 Grammy Awards and the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show.
2. Chloe is proud of her natural hair
Chloe, a Black American woman, often rocks her natural hair online and in-person, and she thanks her mother for that. “I definitely have to give props to my mom for [growing my confidence in wearing natural hairstyles],” the “Do It” songstress told Teen Vogue in 2021. “Because ever since I was about three years old, I’ve had locs. I’ve grown up in Atlanta, Georgia, and I thought nothing was really different with my hair from the other kids.” She added that she “realized early on in the industry” that having locs wasn’t the norm. “But I feel like when you are confident with yourself, and you own it, then everyone else has to catch up to that,” she pressed. “And I’m so grateful to be given a platform as a young Black woman with locs.”
3. Beyoncé is Halle and Chloe’s mentor
Queen Bey has opened up the stage to the talented sister not once, but twice! Chloe and Halle served as the opening act during Beyonce’s European leg of The Formation World Tour, and also opened for Beyoncé and JAY-Z on the U.S. leg of the On the Run Tour II. You can also catch Halle and Chloe make cameos in the visual album for Lemonade.
Beyonce still serves as a mentor, constructive critic, and hype-girl for the sisters to this day. For instance, Chloe revealed Beyonce offered her feedback following her solo performance at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards. “It just warmed my heart to hear from her during that time and to just know I had her support and her love,” she gushed on Apple Music 1’s The Dotty Show, per Billboard. “The way she performs, the way her presence is on stage … she’s incredible and I’ve always looked up to her.”
4. Chloe was not always so confident
Chloe may be proud of her natural hair and has been seen strutting her stuff down the red carpet in sometimes skin-baring looks with seemingly no effort, but Chloe has admitted she had to work hard to feel comfortable in her skin. “I’ve always had thick thighs and a butt. But I was growing up at a time when, if someone on television told you that you had a big butt, they meant it as an insult,” she told Allure for their June/July 2022 issue. “So I was a little ashamed of my curves. I tried to hide them. It took a very, very long time. Now my favorite thing about [my body] is my butt.”
She then credited Beyonce with helping her find the courage to confidently embrace her curves. “The first woman I saw embrace her body was Beyoncé. Hearing her sing ‘Bootylicious’ or seeing her perform on the BET [awards] made me feel calm about my body,” she warmly remembered. She also noted that singer and actress Jill Scott also helped empower her. “She showed me another beautiful, full-figured, thick, sexy, curvaceous [woman]. And I was like, that is sexy,” she said.
5. Chloe and Halle have five Grammy nominations to their names
Chloe and Halle earned their first Grammy nominations in 2019 in the Best New Artist and Best Urban Contemporary Album categories for their debut album, The Kids Are Alright. They were nominated two years later at the 63rd Grammy Awards in the Best Progressive R&B Album category for their sophomore album, Ungodly Hour, in the Best Traditional R&B Performance category for their song “Wonder What She Thinks of Me”, and finally, had their song “Do It” nominated for the Best R&B Song.
While they have not won a Grammy, the musical sisters dream of it one day. “I’m filled with such gratitude,” Chloe told E!’s Giuliana Rancic following her loss in 2021. “We found out that we didn’t win the three awards tonight but it’s OK, we’re going to get them next time. I’m just happy that we were able to put so much love into the music that we created and can’t wait for what’s next.” That’s the spirit!