"I realized it was okay to not always be strong, and allow myself to feel emotional without having to feel insecure with expressing myself."
Encanto is THE movie of the moment. Same goes for its soundtrack, which is sitting comfortably at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection
Needless to say, people are really connecting with it. Especially with Luisa, who is Mirabel's older sister/the middle child with superhuman strength.
Many eldest children/first-gen kids saw themselves reflected in Luisa's struggle when she sang "Surface Pressure," a song about needing to support your family and everyone around you, often at the expense of your own needs.
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So when Maribel Martinez (not to be confused with Mirabel) watched the film and first saw Luisa, she told BuzzFeed that it was amazing to see someone who looked like her. "I was surprised to see a masculine-yet-feminine presented female [character]...I’ve always been told I look too 'masculine' to be feminine, but seeing Luisa just made me feel comfortable with loving myself even more."
Courtesy of Maribel Martinez
A TikTok of her lip-synching to "Surface Pressure" and flexing has been viewed over 28 million times because of the uncanny resemblance she has to the character. But for Maribel, her connection to the character goes way beyond appearance.
She said, "Growing up as a middle child, I felt so much pressure to take care of my siblings and handle adult responsibilities. I never really had the opportunity to be just a child. I was my mom's emotional support and a role model to my younger siblings."
Courtesy of Maribel Martinez
"I felt like I had no choice but to take on so much weight."
For many, Encanto served as a mirror, reflecting back the traumas they had endured growing up. And in that space, many found healing as well. For Maribel, she said, "As a child, I endured a lot of abuse and trauma. With that being said, I also adopted my siblings once I got old enough. It did provide healing. I realized it was okay to not always be strong, and allow myself to feel emotional without having to feel insecure with expressing myself."
And if looking like Luisa and connecting with her wasn't enough, Maribel can also sing! Here she is dueting AJ Rafael's piano cover of "Surface Pressure" with her very own rendition of the song:
Also, you remember when Luisa moves literal boulders with her hips?
Well, we've got a clip of Maribel doing that too...without the boulders, anyway.
Yep, she re-created that too.
Thousands have since commented on her videos, with people either pointing out the physical similarity, the importance of representation, or sharing their own personal connections to Luisa. "I was surprised and shocked that so many people could also relate to Luisa," Maribel said. "Honestly, I feel honored to be called the real-life Luisa."
In recent TikToks, she's also been seen getting a full-blown Luisa outfit together, so Maribel has plans to take the look to the next level very soon. She said, "I will be doing a cosplay for Luisa and working on other projects."
We look forward to seeing the full look come to life and to continued healing!