Why H.E.R. Says Transforming Into Belle For Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration Was “Scary”

In an exclusive interview with E! News, Oscar and Grammy winner H.E.R. described her "scary" transformation into Belle for ABC's upcoming Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration special.

By Daniel Trainor Dec 15, 2022 1:15 AMTags
Watch: H.E.R. Says Playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast Was the "Most Fun"

There's a brand new Belle of the ball. 

In the upcoming primetime special Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration, airing Dec. 15 on ABC, five-time Grammy winner H.E.R. transforms into the legendary role of Belle, voiced by Paige O'Hara in the original 1991 film and played by Emma Watson in the 2017 live-action adaptation. 

Stepping into the Belle's iconic yellow dress isn't something H.E.R. (real name Gabriella Wilson) took lightly—and it wasn't easy.

"It's been a little scary," she admitted to E! News Dec. 13. "Not scary in a way that I'm nervous about people seeing me, but more so just really being vulnerable in a different way and allowing people in. I've kept it about the music for so long. But now people get to see Gabriella as the actress, as a producer, as the person more than the music."

H.E.R.—who stars alongside Josh Groban as the Beast, Martin Short as Lumière, Shania Twain as Mrs. Potts and Rita Moreno as the narrator—ultimately found the entire process to be "probably the most fun thing I've ever done in my career." 

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"It's given me a different confidence," she continued. "I'm walking a little bit differently. I'm carrying myself a little bit more princess-like. It's really that I'm more me and more comfortable in me and I really appreciate this whole experience for that."

H.E.R.'s embodiment of Belle is made even more meaningful as an actress of color—which is something the 25-year-old was keenly aware of.

"I didn't think it wasn't possible, and that's the thing," she explained. "If you don't see it happening with somebody that looks like you, there's no connection. You don't think it could happen. So to be here, I'm super surprised and I'm super grateful and I worked really hard."

ABC/Christopher Willard

Watch the fruits of H.E.R.'s labor when Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration—which combines animated and live-action elements, according to the network, "along with new never-before-seen musical performances, brand-new sets and breathtaking costumes inspired by the classic story"—airs Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

It will be available to stream next day on Disney+.

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