Under the sea! Halle Bailey completely transformed for her role as Ariel in the upcoming reimagining of Disney’s The Little Mermaid — and sometimes felt like she was actually part of the ocean world.
“I had a ton of water scenes,” Bailey, 22, exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, March 20. “Like, for the shipwrecks, they’d turn on the wave machines and turn on the rain and thunder and you literally felt like you were in the middle of the ocean. … Most exhilarating thing in my life.”
The Grown-ish alum — who admitted that the process was “for sure” scary at times — previously opened up about the challenges of making the movie during a September 2022 Q&A on her YouTube channel.
“I was in intense physical training for three months and then every single day I’d either be up in the air on wires, in a harness, or I’d be in the water all day,” she shared. “It’s the most in shape I’ve ever been in my life. But that was the toughest part I think, having to be that strong.”
Stepping into the role of the iconic mermaid also tested the Chloe x Halle musician’s emotional strength as her July 2019 casting announcement drew racist backlash from fans who felt that a white actress should portray the role.
“I don’t really pay attention to the negativity,” the Grammy nominee told Us of the negative comments, adding that the public outcry was “not really surprising” to her as “a Black woman in America.” Although Bailey described the hateful reactions from trolls as “normal,” she also emphasized that representation in media has the power to change the status quo.
“I’m so happy right now that other young Black women — especially Black and brown little babies — are gonna be able to see themselves on screen,” the Georgia native said. “Representation is so very important and to other people it may seem so normal and like something that’s not even a question because they’ve seen themselves in the media for years and that’s never a question. The fact that this is all happening for us, and we get a chance to rally together and say we deserve to be in these spots as well, is something truly, truly special.”
As the singer awaits the release of the highly anticipated Disney film, she still prefers to keep her personal life as private as possible.
“I just find that the more private I am, the more happy and at peace I am with things,” she shared. “I really appreciate that the world loves to support my career, so, I just stick to that and everything else is my business.”
Earlier this month, Bailey posed with her boyfriend, rapper DDG — as well as her sister and musical partner, Chloe Bailey — on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. The pair made their romance Instagram official in March 2022.
Although the songwriter is flourishing in her personal and professional life, moving from Georgia to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams did come with its downsides.
“I noticed when I moved to L.A. my allergies really, really ramped up and kicked in for me,” she revealed, noting that ZYRTEC® — which starts working in one hour and provides a full 24 hours of allergy relief — is her “go-to” and “always has been.”
Halle partnered with ZYRTEC® to celebrate the first day of spring and kick off the brand’s multi-city Beat the Mondays Tour, which aims to make Mondays the best day of the week and help allergy sufferers feel like their best selves.
“ZYRTEC® has always been really, really good to me, especially on days like this where you have to get up early, your schedule is hectic and you have to run all over the place. … They’re doing this amazing thing called the Beat the Mondays tour,” the “Do It” singer said, noting that the brand will be hosting popups in cities including Miami and New York.
“You go, you get information on all your allergies, [learn] what to do, hang, get some coupons, vibes. So, it’ll be really, really nice,” Halle said of the campaign.
The Little Mermaid hits theaters on May 26.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi