Disney spared no expense making The Little Mermaid part of our world.
Camille Friend, a hairstylist who worked on the new live-action version of the beloved mermaid classic, revealed production spent six-figures on Halle Bailey's hair transformation, which saw the actress' locs take on Princess Ariel's signature red color.
"I'm not guesstimating, but we probably spent at least $150,000 because we had to redo it and take it out," Camille told Variety in an article published May 26. "You couldn't use it, and we'd have to start again. It was a process."
Camille said it was important to Halle, the first Black actress to portray a live-action Disney princess, to stay true to herself and her Black identity.
"I went to meet with Halle's family," she recalled. "Her mother is spiritual and they're a kind family. I started to understand who she was and why the natural hair element was important to keep."
Since Halle's locs were over 24 inches long at the time of filming, Camille ruled against hiding them because "putting her in a wig was going to look crazy." Instead, she turned to another solution: wrapping hair around Halle's natural hair.
"If we take hair and wrap it around her locs, we don't have to cut them and we don't have to color them," Camille explained. "We can change her color without changing her internal hair structure. Her structure and her hair are her."
And Halle couldn't be more thrilled with the outcome.
"I've had my locs since I was 5, so they're a huge part of who I am," she told Ebony in a May 2023 cover story. "We need to be able to see ourselves, we need to be able to see our hair on big screens like this, so that we know that it's beautiful and more than acceptable."