With their slender waists, flowing manes and rosy cheeks, Disney princesses have long conformed to stereotypical ideals of beauty.
But when promotional material for Walt Disney Pictures' live-action version of "Cinderella" dropped in February, many began to question whether the studio had gone too far to make the fairytale princess seem perfect. A trailer featuring star Lily James in Cinderella's baby blue ballgown was roundly criticized online, with many outlets pondering whether Disney had digitally altered the actress' waist to make it appear smaller.
But in an interview with The Times on Monday, James denied that any CGI trickery had occurred. She said her costume's corset and voluminous skirt created an illusion, and she does not feel she is promoting an unhealthy body image.
"I naturally have a really small waist," said James, 25. "The skirt's big and the corset pulls me in, and that's the point. That's the shape [costume designer] Sandy Powell created."
Perhaps it was because she's been bombarded with the question a lot lately — the film premiered with a lavish royal ball and dozens of reporters on Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday — but James seemed dismayed when asked to discuss the topic on Monday.
"I think it's all very hypocritical, and they contradict themselves, and they're drawing more attention to it. I think all that stuff's so negative, and you've got to let it wash over your head," she said, struggling to find her words. "I'm so healthy. I've got hips and boobs and a bum and a small waist."
She went on to recall the first time she put on the ballgown — her hair dripping with Swarovski crystals, butterflies sewn onto her shoulders — and how special she felt. When she saw her reflection in the mirror, she said, she couldn't "help but gasp. It felt like a suit of armor."
"I think it's a beautiful gown with a beautiful shape," she said. "I love the curves. I think it's very old and 40s, the way it goes in and out. It's what made me feel like I could be a princess."