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New Disney Heroine a Plus-Size Ballerina Dancing Through Self-Doubt

The Disney Plus short Reflect introduces Bianca, a ballerina who overcomes body image issues in the dance studio.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
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Erin Carson

Bianca keeps dancing through her doubt.

Disney Plus

Disney heroines tend to have a certain body type, small and slender, which is why a short film called Reflect is gaining attention for featuring a plus-size lead overcoming body image issues.

The short, which was released in September as part of a series of experimental short films called Short Circuit, stars ballerina Bianca, who goes on a fantasy journey through a shattered mirror in her ballet studio when classmates arrive and she starts feeling self-conscious about how she looks. The world she enters threatens to ruin the good time she was having dancing on her own, until she composes herself and keeps on dancing.

Reflect's director Hillary Bradfield, speaking in an interview at the start of the short, said the idea came for the film came from her own body positivity philosophy. While she usually feels body positive in principle, on a personal level it can be harder to maintain self-acceptance. 

"When people watch the short, I hope they can feel more positively about themselves and how they look and feel OK about the tough parts of the journey," Bradfield said. According to IMDB, Bradfield has worked on Disney movies like Encanto and Frozen 2. The Disney Plus page describes Short Circuit as being a program where anyone in the studio can pitch an idea. If their idea is chosen, they get to make a short film.

Reflect is streaming on Disney Plus.