Activism, Movies, Pop Culture

Not Dreaming Of Love: What To Know About Rachel Zegler’s Snow White Controversy

rachel zegler snow white criticism

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s senior fall editorial intern Maggie Lardie. Find her on Instagram at @maggielardie. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Since the release of 2014’s Maleficent, Disney has seemingly made it their mission to provide every princess with the live-action treatment. Following in Aurora’s footsteps, Cinderella, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan and Ariel were each revamped as individuals and contributors to their respective stories. In March of 2024, Disney’s original princess will be added to the live-action lineup.

Snow White Hello GIF by Disney Princess - Find & Share on GIPHY

With the release of the Snow White remake on the horizon, actress Rachel Zegler has been facing controversy for her take on both the plot and the title character. Zegler was cast for the role of Snow White in June of 2021 and has been met with various forms of backlash since. The controversy began with online arguments that occurred over the decision to cast Zegler, an actress of Latin descent, as Snow White. Zegler took to X (previously Twitter) to defend herself, writing “extremely appreciative of the love I feel from those defending me online, but please don’t tag me in the nonsensical discourse about my casting. I really, truly, do not want to see it.” Halle Bailey joined those voicing their support for Zegler, having faced similar backlash for her role as Ariel. She wrote “We love you so much. truly the perfect princess.”

After overcoming much of the initial controversy surrounding her casting online, Zegler is once again finding herself under fire after footage from a D23 EXPO interview was released. In the interview, Zegler mentions that Snow White is “not going to be saved by the prince” and “not going to be dreaming about true love,” but rather “dreaming about the leader she knows she can be.” At another point during the night, Zegler mentions that in the original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, “there’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her,” adding “We didn’t do that this time.”


Snow White’s Rachel Zegler feels The Prince in the original is a creepy stalker

♬ original sound – Movie Maniacs

A common theme that Disney has been emphasizing in their live-action films is the independence and capability of their princesses (and female leads in general). A female character who is capable of both falling in love and taking initiative can hardly be found in the film industry, as most female characters remain partial to one storyline or the other. According to what we’ve learned from Zegler’s interview, Snow White is looking like it will follow this one-sided trend. 

Based on the Grimm’s fairy tale, the 1937 film is arguably Disney’s most important; responsible for laying the foundation of the studio that would grow to become an empire. While many technical aspects made Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs a spectacular achievement, the film was also beloved for its kindhearted main character. Snow White proved that a female-led film could be successful, paving the way for the following princesses.

Much of the concern surrounding Rachel Zegler comes from the fear that the new movie will disrespect the original version by drastically altering the plot. Many have taken to the internet to express their opinions on this updated Snow White, commenting “We love the original Snow White because she was experiencing the most horrible things but she still responded with kindness, love and care for others…” and “criticizing Disney princesses is not feminist. Not every woman is a leader. Not every woman wants to be a leader. Not every woman wants or craves power.” In addition to this, Zegler revealed that she’d only seen the original film once during her childhood, never watching it again because of how much it scared her. This statement enraged fans, who questioned Zegler’s credentials regarding her commentary on the original film and its characters.

I don’t believe Zegler meant any harm by saying what she did, but her phrasing brought to light many topics of feminism in the film industry. A female character is capable of being compelling, whether she dreams of ruling a kingdom, falling in love or both. A lot of modern media has pushed the idea that women must be extraordinarily ambitious to be empowering to others, but it’s just as important to be loving and kind as it is to be strong. These updated characters must possess the same dreams and inner qualities as their original versions, otherwise much of the story could be lost.

What’s your take on the Rachel Zegler Snow White criticism? Let us know in the comments!

More Pop Culture Articles

Relationship Articles

Health + Wellness Articles

Fashion Articles