Lea Salonga

Name: Lea Salonga

Lea and Kermit

I hope I look this good when I’m 44!  I also hope I get to meet Kermit the Frog!

Fictional: Nope!

Universe: Broadway and Disney

Bio: Lea Salonga became a Broadway star at age 18 when she starred in Miss Saigon in London and on Broadway. She won several awards for her performance, including the Tony award (and the first Asian American to do so). She also performed in both the 10th and 25th anniversary concerts of Les Miserables as Eponine and Fantine respectively. Most people outside of the theatre community probably know her best as the singing voice for both Princess Jasmine and Mulan, for which she was named a Disney Legend in 2011. She is currently starring on Broadway with George Takei and Telly Leung in Allegiance, which will run until February 14th.

Why I have a crush on her:

My two biggest nerd areas are Disney and theatre, and Lea Salonga satisfies both of these.

I’ve been in love with Lea Salonga’s voice for what seems like forever. As with most people, I first heard her when she sang A Whole New World in Aladdin. And then she also got to sing as Mulan. Classic Disney films and animations used to use the same actors for several movies, but the more modern Disney animated films very rarely use the same actor in two different movies, at least not for the lead characters, so I can only imagine how cool it must be to claim credit for TWO Disney Princesses! Growing up I wanted to be a voice over artist badly, and I really wanted to voice a Disney Princess.

And then there’s her theatre resume. She’s played both Eponine and Fantine in Les Miserables; two roles most people would kill to do and she’s done both (and I don’t think she murdered anyone to do them, but I can’t say for sure). She’s also played Grizabella in Cats and Cinderella in the Rogers and Hammerstein show in the Philippines. And of course she starred in Miss Saigon and Flower Drum Song on Broadway.

But here’s the thing I didn’t realize until I recently started following her on Facebook; Lea Salonga is a big ole’ nerd like the rest of us. She certainly has no issues speaking her mind, supporting women’s rights, minority’s rights, and artist’s rights. She also makes Star Wars references and pines over Tom Hiddleston! The more I read about her, the more I love her.

My gosh, #Metalocalypse still kicks major butt!!!

Posted by Lea Salonga on Friday, January 15, 2016

And Lea, if you’re reading this, I have a Mulan poster that Ming Na-Wen signed, and I’d love to add your autograph to it!

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Mulan

Name: Mulan

mulan

Who is that girl I see, staring straight back at me?

Fictional: Yes (possibly was a real person, but any truth is probably buried in legend at this point)

Universe: Chinese Legend/Disney

Bio: Mulan is a woman from a family with no sons (some stories say she had a brother but that he was very young). When the Chinese Army orders one man from every family to serve, Mulan saves her elderly father’s life by cross dressing and entering the Army in his place.

Why I have a crush on her:

From what I’ve read about the legend of Mulan, this may be the closest Disney has come to staying true to the original story…that has nothing to do with why I have a crush on her, it’s just interesting.

Mulan is the only Disney Princess who isn’t actually a princess. Seriously! All of the other women featured in the Disney Princess brand are royalty either by blood or marriage, but not Mulan. That’s not to say she didn’t EARN her seat at the cool kids’ table. She didn’t defeat one bad guy, she defeated THOUSANDS OF BAD GUYS! All Snow White did was bite an apple.

Mulan also showed strength (mental and physical), ingenuity, courage, and humility; remember when she was offered a job as the Emperor’s right-hand person and she turned it down because she wanted to go back to her family? She didn’t dress like a man, join the army, become the pack leader, start an avalanche that destroyed the 99% of the Hun army, and then storm the palace to defeat the main bad guy and save the emperor because she was ambitious. She did all those things because they were the right things to do (except dressing like a man, which was the only thing she could do in a misogynistic society).

And although she may have had a crush on Shang, and a romantic relationship was hinted at the end of the movie, the plot was not dependent on it, and Mulan was not dependent on him. So for everyone who says that Elsa is the first Disney heroine to not need a man, remember Mulan! (Also, Merida)