Harper’s Bazaar UK: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella: it’s fair to say the traditional Disney princess has come under scrutiny of late.
The notion of a damsel in distress saved only by a man is enough to make the modern woman uncomfortable with the fairytales they read – and accepted, often without question – as children.
Over the past few years, Disney stories have changed with the times, with a rise in strong female characters – thanks to , and a slow move towards more diverse princesses such as Moana and The Princess and The Frog’s Tiana.There was also the #DreamBigPrincess initiative in 2016.
One of Disney’s latest offerings is another modern spin of a classic tale: The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. The all-star cast includes Bazaar cover star Keira Knightley, who takes on the iconic role of the Sugar Plum Fairy alongside Dame Helen Mirren, ballerina Misty Copeland, Jack Whitehall and Ellie Bamber.
For Bamber – who spoke to Harper’s Bazaar ahead of the film’s release and straight after a dress fitting for the London premiere – the movie comes with a plethora of strong female characters to complement this new wave of modern game-changing female Disney leads.
However, while the 21-year-old welcomes this new wave of princesses, she can’t quite bring herself to completely oppose the traditional fairytale role.
“I mean, I think it’s about time really [to have these powerful Disney female leads] but, having said that, I still love Cinderella,” she says. “There is something about that film and about all of the other fairytales that is magical.
“But, in this day and age, it is really important to have strong female characters and there is certainly that in The Nutcracker. So I think it’s about time and [it’s great] to be reimagining the story in this way which is so truthful and also so wonderful for young girls to have role models.”
While Bamber would have liked these new strong female characters to look up to as a child, she wasn’t short of them herself.
“I had two very strong and powerful women in my life,” she says, referring to her mother and grandmother. “So, they were the fairytale I had.”