Auli’i Cravalho, who voiced the titular role in Moana, is back to sing another lead princess role, and is starring as Ariel in ABC’s The Wonderful World of Disney Presents The Little Mermaid Live! on ABC. The two-hour hybrid presentation of the original film mixed in with live performances will also feature Graham Phillips as Prince Eric, Queen Latifah as Ursula, Shaggy as playing Sebastian, and John Stamos is as Chef Louis.
While viewers watch The Little Mermaid Live!, airing from the Disney lot in Los Angeles, audiences can’t help but wonder about the age of the talented lead actress, and while she looks so tall performing on TV, her actual height.
Cravalho, who previously starred on the TV series, Rise, and reprised her role of Moana in the animated film, Ralph Breaks the Internet, is 18-years-old. She was born on November 22, 2000, in Kohala, Hawaii, and grew up in … Before being cast as the Polynesian princess in Moana, she was a sophomore in the Kamehameha Schools, which is a private system that educates over 6,900 students of Hawaiian ancestry, with a goal of preserving Hawaiian culture.
Even though Cravalho has a voice that’s big and powerful, she is a petite young woman, who is 5 foot, 3 inches.
After performing in Little Mermaid Live!, Cravalho has numerous projects lined up. She currently in midst of filming the movie, Sorta Like a Rock Star, alongside Justina Machado, Fred Armisen, and Carol Burnett. Afterward, she is set to play the role of Wendla Bergman in the film version of the musical, Spring Awakening, with Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams playing Ilse, and Ansel Elgort as Melchior Gabor.
Jodi Benson, The Original Actress Who Voiced Ariel Was Much Older Than Cravalho When ‘The Little Mermaid’ First Filmed
Disney is honoring the 30th anniversary of The Little Mermaid film with the live hybrid presentation, and Cravalho got to meet Jodi Benson, the actress who first played the red-headed heroine. Both women previously lent their voices to the film, Ralph Breaks the Internet, in which they reprised their respective original princess roles, Ariel and Moana.
Benson was 27 years old when she first recorded composer Alan Menken’s “Part of Your World,” and is a little bit taller than Cravalho, standing at 5’7. However, the veteran singer shared nearly identical reasons to Cravalho as to why she felt an instant connection to the role of Ariel. She told The Today Show, “There’s nothing impossible for her. And that’s who I am. I’m very tenacious. I will knock on a closed door until it slams literally in my face. So that’s how we connect.”
After Disney announced that Halle Bailey, half of the R&B duo Chloe x Halle, would play the role of Ariel in the upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, Benson was one of the first people to defend the casting of young black woman taking over the iconic role.
She said, “I think that the spirit of a character is what really matters. What you bring to the table in a character as far as their heart and their spirit is what really counts.”
“I think the most important thing for a film is to be able to tell a story,” Benson continued. “We need to be storytellers. And no matter what we look like on the outside, no matter our race, our nation, the color of our skin, our dialect, whether I’m tall or thin, whether I’m overweight or underweight, or my hair is whatever color, we really need to tell the story.”