Rachel Zegler has taken the high ground against the online trolls who criticised her casting in the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs live-action remake.
Since it was announced in 2021 that the West Side Story breakout would play the iconic Disney Princess, Zegler has attracted significant controversy, with some people condemning the decision to cast an actor of Latin descent as the popular princess.
However, the 22-year-old has not let the hatred bring her down. In conversation with fellow actor and singer Halle Bailey on a new episode of Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Zegler said she feels “so thankful for those moments because they make me feel like solid Teflon”.
“That nothing can hurt anymore because they’ve said the worst that can be said,” she explicated. “You just say, ‘Thank you so much for this. I have a lot of love in my life, and I’m very thankful.’ We get to do our work and have that speak for itself instead.”
She shared that “choosing thankfulness and gratefulness is choosing peace”. “As much as you’d like to remind people verbally that being in the spotlight doesn’t absolve you of your humanity – that you’re allowed to have human moments – it doesn’t necessarily do what you want it to do. It fuels them more,” she acknowledged.
“So it’s choosing to be present and know that they’re probably just having a really hard day. And I’m putting out a movie.”
Bailey, who’s faced similar backlash for her casting as Ariel in the recent live-action Little Mermaid, agreed with Zegler’s words of wisdom.
“I love the saying, ‘You throw stones, and I’ll build a bridge out of them’,” the 23-year-old Grown-ish alum added. “Stay grateful and ignore the hate.”
In August, Zegler’s past remarks about Snow White reemerged online, sparking a new debate among fans who perceived her comments dismissed the original characters.
During 2022 interviews, Zegler repeatedly expressed her distaste for the original storyline.
“The original cartoon came out in 1937, and very evidently so. There’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her. Weird! Weird! So we didn’t do that this time,” she said in an October 2022 interview with ExtraTV.
“We have a different approach to what I’m sure a lot of people will assume is a love story just because we cast a guy in the movie. All of Andrew’s scenes could get cut, who knows? It’s Hollywood, baby,” she added of her Prince Charming co-star Andrew Burnap.
Since clips of her remarks resurfaced online, several commenters accused Zegler of “pseudo-feminism”.
Zegler currently stars in the Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which is out in cinemas now.