‘West Side Story’ star Rachel Zegler shuts down haters mad about Snow White casting

A woman in a white dress looking over her shoulder
Rachel Zegler as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.”
(20th Century Studios / AP)

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?

On Tuesday, Disney crowned rising star Rachel Zegler as its latest live-action princess for the studio giant’s forthcoming remake of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

And the “West Side Story” breakout is not messing around when it comes to evil hags — or trolls — whining about the casting announcement on social media.

Zegler, who is of Colombian and Polish descent, tweeted Tuesday afternoon, “yes i am snow white no i am not bleaching my skin for the role,” presumably in response to a handful of haters who opposed the idea of a Latina Snow White. Her tweet has since been deleted.


Many of the objections cited the beloved character’s canonical history of having “skin white as snow,” while a smattering of disgruntled Twitter users doubled down by insisting that “Snow White” is based on a German fairytale.

The highly anticipated trailer for Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake, starring Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler, debuted during the Oscars.

April 25, 2021

The vast majority of reactions, however, ranged from unbothered to overjoyed, praising the viral internet sensation turned movie star as the “perfect” choice for the role.

“Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts,” said Marc Webb, who has been tapped to direct the upcoming adaptation, in a statement.

“Her strength, intelligence and optimism will become an integral part of rediscovering the joy in this classic Disney fairytale” about a kindhearted young maiden on the run from an envious wicked queen who wants her dead.

Zegler herself celebrated the news by sharing sweet photos and videos of herself meeting Snow White during a trip to Walt Disney World and writing, “homegirl we have LOTS to catch up on.”


“I HAVE MANIFESTED MY ENTIRE LIFE I THINK I THINK,” she added in another tweet.

To her point, the actor also resurfaced old photos of herself playing Ariel from “The Little Mermaid” onstage, which she then captioned “i wanna be a real disney princess.” As Cinderella would say, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true.

Prior to starring in Disney’s revival of its first animated feature film, released in 1937, Zegler will make her big-screen debut in December as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated remake of “West Side Story” opposite Ansel Elgort and Rita Moreno.

(Zegler scored the coveted lead role in the movie musical after a video of her flawlessly belting Lady Gaga’s “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born” electrified the internet in 2018.)

Up next, she’s set to appear in “Fury of the Gods,” the upcoming sequel to the 2019 DC blockbuster “Shazam,” starring Zachary Levi as the titular age-shifting superhero.

With “Snow White,” Zegler joins a star-studded club of young actors who have been selected to portray live-action versions of Disney’s most iconic animated heroines.

The Mouse House has previously cast Lily James as Cinderella, Emma Watson as Belle, Elle Fanning as Aurora, Naomi Scott as Jasmine, Yifei Liu as Mulan and, most recently, pop musician Halle Bailey as Ariel in its forthcoming remake of “The Little Mermaid.”

Zegler tweeted that “seeing halle bailey as ariel makes my heart [happy]” and “i love you disney princess cinematic universe.”

Production on Disney’s live adaptation of “Snow White” is scheduled to begin in 2022.