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Isabela Madrigal Cosplay - Encanto Cosplay Project

Celebrating over EIGHT MILLION YouTube streams of our 'What Else Can I Do?' cosplay shoot from Disney's Encanto 🌸 Watch the Video:

Jessica Seneca as Isabela Madrigal

“As someone who has loved princesses and Disney since a young age, I always tried to find my identity in the characters I saw. Anyone with brown skin, dark hair, or even curls I wanted to be. I never truly realized or understood how underrepresented I felt until this movie came out. 'Encanto' gave me everything I didn't know I needed by seeing this quirky and loving family with various skin tones and hair types. I honestly feel that in this movie, I wasn't just represented with my skin tone or Latin culture but also in the silly personalities and internal struggles of many of the characters. The pressure of always being present for everyone, the need to be perfect, the fear of not being good enough and feeling the need to prove yourself. These are all things I do or have struggled with, and I appreciate the creators of this film for tackling all of these difficult emotions and moments."

Jessica Seneca @pretyjess as Isabela Madrigal

Costume handmade by @philipodango based on designs by @neysabove

Hair and makeup by Jessica Seneca

Photos by Philip Odango, taken at Norfolk Botanical

"I’ll admit, I do still struggle sometimes, but at the time I was convinced I was alone in experiencing all of that. It makes me realize how vital a community like this would have been in my younger years, but I am grateful to have it now." - Jessica Seneca

The Floral Statues of Isabela come to life in this live-action cosplay fan video featuring Latina and POC performers

Isabela Madrigal: @pretyjess

Mirabel Madrigal: @angelmichelle19


Costumes: @PhilipOdango

Based on designs by @neysabove

Production Assistants: @stormy_n_nox@dancing_reef

Krystal Tuzon Gonzalez as Isabela

"What can you do when you know who you wanna be is imperfect? But I'll still be okay." Encanto provides a truly beautiful outside perspective into what sisterhood can look like and mean. As the oldest sister (in a POC family, whew!), Isabela's struggle with maintaining a certain image of perfection definitely stood out to me--the way she felt that her perfect image was carrying the weight of the world was something I'm no stranger to, and to see that represented was comforting... However, it also caused me to think about what I feel defines me and my own relationship with that "sister" title. When I look back on my experience as a sister, I see less of the false perfection and more of the cracks in the façade that have shone through over time--I see more of the examples that it's okay not to be okay. The mistakes and the vulnerability that, over time, have become more prominent. The important part is that we're there to catch each other when we fall."

Isabela, hair and makeup: Krystal Tuzon Gonzalez

Costume: @philipodango

Based on designs by @neysabove

Production Assistants: @stormy_n_nox, @dancing_reef

Sewn on @singersewingcompany Heavy Duty

Caitlin Fitzhugh as Isabela

“Getting to dress up and dance for this project was so joyful. It brought me back to when I was a performer. For over 10 years in the musical theatre industry, I longed for projects that felt “right.” I wanted to tell a story that felt like my own. I have always gravitated toward stories about Hispanic/Latino characters, often seeing myself, my mom, grandmothers, and tias in the women in the pieces. But as a fair-skinned Latina, I quickly learned that I wouldn’t be portraying any of these characters. I didn’t look like the women in the stories who spoke so loudly to my heart. At first, I didn’t realize what everyone else saw. It was only after being passed over again and again for Latina roles that I came to terms with it: I don’t look enough like the media's perception of Hispanic/Latinos. It wasn’t enough that I have Mexican and Puerto Rican blood in my veins. All of a sudden, I was “not a REAL Latina,” with no path for reclaiming the parts of myself I now had to hide. Years later, now a wife and mother, I sat down to watch Encanto with my son. I saw beautiful Colombian characters that came in every color. It was so exciting to see on the screen. And my inclusion on this project has continued the joy. I finally got to be a part of a project that feels right."

Isabela, hair and makeup: @caitlin_wynonna

Costume: @philipodango

Based on designs by @neysabove

Production Assistants: @stormy_n_nox, @dancing_reef

Sewn on @singersewingcompany Heavy Duty

Emily Levy as Isabela

“As a little girl, I grew up watching the “perfect” princesses and seeing the happily ever afters and compared myself and my life to those princesses. There were no Hispanic or Latina characters/princesses that I could relate or look up too. I didn’t look like the princesses I wanted to dress up as for Halloween. My body type was different from all of my peers in my classes due to being Latina and at that the only Latina in my classes. Don’t get me wrong I love and embrace my body now, but at 11 years old, my thick thighs and darker hair on my arms became the ammo for bullies to use against me. At such a young age I was trying to fit into this box, to fit an image, and to fit this expectation of “being and acting perfect”. I wish Isabela was around when I was young because she truly challenged the idea of being this perfect woman and following the expectations that have been told to us. I am so happy that Encanto and Isabela have been created and have the opportunity to show little Latina girls that there are families and princesses like them.

Being given this opportunity to become Isabela and become the “princess” I needed when I was younger not only helped my self-reflection and growth but provided a conversation topic to the teen girls that I work with. I’m able to use Isabela as a parallel to show the image we give off to others isn’t always accurate to how we feel, and striving for perfectionism will hurt us in the long run. Isabela is an excellent example to show that there is perfection in the imperfect and the unique."

Isabela: Emily Levy

Costume: @philipodango

Based on designs by @neysabove

Production Assistant: @stormy_n_nox@dancing_reef

Made possible by @joann_stores@fabrichut

Christina Rhodes as Isabela

“Pretty privilege & the pressures of being perfect: Isabela and Mirabel’s strife is based on the Mirabel’s perception of her sister’s pretty privilege: 'You just seem like your life’s been a dream since the moment you opened your eyes' and Isabela’s experience of pretty penalty: 'So much hides behind my smile.' Pretty privilege says if you are attractive, life is good because it’s easier. Pretty penalty says if you look good, life can ONLY be good without any real problems.

My experience being mestiza Filipina is always being told how attractive I am while simultaneously being told how UN-Filipino I look. I’m pretty, but... in this Eurocentric, colonized way. For years I struggled with imposter syndrome, mediocrity, and complacency.

I often found myself struggling to live up to expectations and to be at my best all the time. I fell into this thought trap that if something didn’t come easily or naturally, it must not be for me. So I chose the easy routes and the doors that opened to me because I’m pretty and agreeable.

I relate so much to Isabela when she asked, 'what else can I do?' What could my life be like if instead of floating, I swam? I’m no longer afraid of making mistakes or being prickly. 'I’m so sick of pretty, I want something true, don’t you?' I no longer feel like silently accepting what i was given because I am afraid to take up 'more' space. I can love myself and be myself unapologetically.

I am still on a journey of discovering myself and my voice but for this project I was so happy to be the wallflower and do my own thing in the background. It didn’t have to be perfect, it just had to be."

Isabela: Christina Rhodes of @viva.valentina

Costume: @PhilipOdango

Based on designs by @neysabove

Production Assistant: @stormy_n_nox@dancing_reef


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