lea solanga

Filipino Facts: Did You Know Two Disney Princesses Are Filipino?

Here’s something I’d never know without marrying a Filipino: Disney princesses Jasmine and Mulan are both Filipino. Well, the woman who does their singing is, at least.

Lea Solanga, whom I originally referred to as Lea Solange in my original draft because I’m so out of touch with society and subconsciously thought she was Beyonce’s sister, is one of the Philippines’ most famous singers. She did more than popularize a lesbian’s haircut on a straight woman. She also loaned her vocals to Jasmine and Mulan.

lea solanga
I suspect Disney hasn’t returned her voice either.

It’s funny how Disney used Solanga for their two non-white princesses in the 1990s. Maybe funny isn’t the best word, but I’m not about to accuse a major corporation of racial stereotyping. Let’s say it’s s coincidence in casting, with a wink.

From my understanding of watching YouTube videos with Jenny, Solanga is best known for her role in Miss Saigon in the late 1980s. I’m pretty sure it was the 1980s. The videos we watched featured lots of women in pantsuits, long curly hair, and shoulder pads.

miss saigon
A different Miss Saigon with less musical talent and more…well…you know.

A teenager at the time, she stopped playing around on Facebook and became a star while the rest of us were still in diapers. Her legacy remains and although she’s not nationally known in the US, everybody has heard her sing. I mean, really, who hasn’t watched Aladdin or Mulan? I say or because I’m still a Mulan virgin.

Like most Filipinos, I’m guessing her career began at a karaoke night. Unlike me, it led to so much more.

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