With Bridgit Mendler turning 23 today, it seems the perfect time to celebrate the Disney stars, old and new, who have had a killer year. The media seems to constantly scrutinise Disney Channel’s female stars, just waiting for them to derail. But not only have these five celebrities proved them wrong, they’ve all been doing incredible things this year. All hail the Queens of Disney:
1. Bridgit Mendler
Turning 23, Bridgit’s done more in her lifetime than many adults double her age. She’s currently starring as Candance in NBC’s series ‘Undateable’ (which she also provided an amazing song for). In May this year, not only was it announced that the show was renewed, but that the third series will be made up of all live episodes. If there needed to be any more proof of her wonderful acting talents, this is it. Doing live episodes would be a daunting challenge for most actors, but Bridgit seems to have taken it in her stride. In the UK, ‘Undateable’ is currently showing on Comedy Central on Tuesday at 9.30pm (though Bridgit doesn’t appear till the second series. With a brilliant TV show already in the bag, 2016 is set to be a great year for Bridgit Mendler.
2. Selena Gomez
After Selena Gomez was horribly fat-shamed earlier this year, she responded perfectly. By posting an Instagram of herself in her swimsuit with the hashtag ‘there’s more to love,’ Selena showed the importance of self-worth. In terms of her career, it’s also been an amazing year. She released her album ‘Revival,’ which centred on the same message of being yourself and empowered. Her song ‘Kill ‘Em With Kindness’ highlights the dignity and elegance she handles any negativity with. She’s also just performed at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, as if there needed to be any more proof of the talented singer she’s becoming.
Still starring in her Disney Channel show ‘K.C. Undercover,’ Zendaya has shown herself to be an incredible role model. At the 2015 Oscars, former E! News anchor Giuliana Rancic criticised Zendaya for wearing her hair in dreadlocks, saying it meant she would probably smell like weed. Zendaya responded on social media by highlighting the negative stereotypes that are still present in society, emphasising the ignorance behind Rancic’s comments. Zendaya’s Oscar’s look has also now become immortalised in a Barbie doll, showing the importance of diversity within our definition of beauty.
But Zendaya’s role in challenging these beauty standards didn’t end there. After Modeliste Magazine had retouched her body following a photoshoot, Zendaya chose to post the un-retouched photo alongside the photoshopped one on her social media. She criticised the ‘unrealistic ideals of beauty,’ saying she stood for ‘honest and pure self love.’ Modeliste Magazine later removed the slimmed down image and reverted back to the original, showing how taking a stand can lead to change. We salute you Zendaya!
4. Demi Lovato
After releasing an album called ‘Confident’ earlier this year, it seems that’s exactly what Demi Lovato has been preaching. Encouraging her fans to take part in ‘No Make Up Mondays’ by posting selfies of her own bare face, she’s joining her fellow Disney stars in teaching self-love. With all the criticism these celebrities receive from the press, it’s no wonder these ideas of empowerment are important to the Disney alumni. In a recent interview with PopSugar, Demi spoke about how though we may be looking for relationships, the most important one is the one we have with ourselves. Saying “you have to learn to love yourself first” is a vital message I think we all forget sometimes. After winning the ‘Rulebreaker’ award at the Billboard Women of the Year Awards earlier this month, Demi definitely shows it’s good to stand out. Being yourself seems to be the hardest thing in the world sometimes, but these Disney stars are showing how it’s done.
5. Rowan Blanchard
Currently starring in ‘Girl Meets World,’ Rowan Blanchard has already proved that she’s one to watch at just fourteen years old. As part of the #HeforShe campaign, she has already spoken at the UN Women and US National Committee’s annual conference. Her essay on white feminism also went viral earlier this year, with everyone praising her thoughtful and insightful comments. Rowan is a force to be reckoned with. Her stance on social justice issues show how engaged many young people are; instead of being dismissed, it’s about time we listen to them.
Although perhaps not ideal for a catchy headline in the media, all these Disney leading ladies have been going from strength to strength this year. Whether they’re tackling discrimination, winning music awards, or showing off their acting talents, 2015 has been the year of the Disney star. We’re excited to see what these wonderful women do next year. Bring on 2016!