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Raya and the Last Dragon Virtual Red Carpet Made Me Ugly Cry and I’m OK With It

*Shares tissue box.*

Leave it to a virtual event for Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon to make me cry—not just regular tears, either. We’re talking ugly crying born out of watching Disney from a young age and understanding the cultural significance of a Southeast Asian princess joining the Disney-verse. Top it all of with a celebrity intro welcoming Kelly Marie Tran to the family, and I was a lost cause overflowing with feels.

Ming-Na Wen, the voice behind Disney’s Mulan, told Tran how proud she was that there was another princess warrior in the mix. *Cue tears from Kelly Marie and us.* Following Wen was Jonathan Groff, who voiced Kristoff in the Frozen movies and made Tran fangirl. And they were both joined by Ariel’s voice actress Jodi Benson, Belle’s voice actress Paige O’Hara, Judy Hopps voice actress Ginnifer Goodwin, and Tiana’s voice actress Anika Noni Rose.

The reminder that Kelly Marie Tran is going to be part of children’s lives and their story was the part that really broke me. As a Latina, I remember what it felt like to see Coco for the first time. I remember being overwhelmed but so excited that little kids were going to live in a world where their culture and traditions were in the movies they consumed. Same thing goes for Raya and the Last Dragon, and I can’t wait to see little girls and boys dress up as this princess and feel as seen as I did via Coco.

On a special note, Tran had another chance to freak out when her icon Ming-Na Wen surprised her during an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show. The two shared their excitement to see each other and the former said she felt like she was going to cry. And I sure did when Wen told Tran how she followed her footsteps to the Star Wars universe, and how Tran was following Wen’s and joining the Disney family with Raya and the Last Dragon.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Kelly Marie Tran’s dress and headpiece at the virtual red carpet. The dress is known as “Áo Dài.” This traditional Vietnamese dress holds a place of honor and cultural significance for its people. It has been a source of inspiration for Vietnamese artists, poets, and authors. And it is now the Vietnamese woman’s choice of fashion for special occasions according to the Áo Dài Festival. The headpiece is known as Khăn Đống and is only worn on special occasions with the Áo Dài.

This particular Áo Dài and Khăn Đống combo was created by Vietnamese designer Thai Nguyen. He is best known for his Eastern fusion custom handmade designs. Nguyen was born and raised in South Vietnam and fell in love with fashion at a young age. According to his bio, his family immigrated to the US and Thai pursued his dreams, becoming one of the few Vietnamese designers in the fashion world today.

(image: Youtube/Walt Disney Animation Studios)

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Lyra (She/Her) is a queer Latinx writer who stans badass women in movies, TV shows, and books. She loves crafting, tostones, and speculating all over queer media. And when not writing she's scrolling through TikTok or rebuilding her book collection.