Toddler Identifies With Lookalike 'Encanto' Character And Sparks Discussion About The Importance Of Representation

Jan 11, 2022 by apost team

On December 30, 2021, a young boy named Kenzo Brand was watching the Disney film "Encanto" when suddenly he stood up and faced his parents with a huge smile on his face. Kenzo is only 2, and his mom, Kah Brand, says that she thinks he thought the character of Antonio was himself due to their strong resemblance. 

The film "Encanto" is about a Colombian family called the Madrigals. The main character, Mirabel, struggles with not receiving a special gift like the rest of her family. In one part of the movie, the 5-year-old Antonio receives the power to speak to animals, and there is a huge celebration in his honor. Antonio is a small child with brown skin and gorgeous curly brown hair, just like Kenzo. 

Kenzo's mom was touched by her son identifying with a character on screen because it was not something she got to experience as a child. Kah said the first time she saw a Disney character that resembled her was in "Princess and the Frog," which was released in 2009. Since then, the entertainment industry has grown to include more diverse characters and stories. With films like "Encanto," more Black and brown children will get to see themselves represented on screen.

Kah made a post on Instagram that showed a photo of Kenzo standing next to a shot of Antonio, and the resemblance is a little uncanny. The post has thousands of likes and comments from people supporting Kenzo and pointing out that representation matters. Keep reading to learn more about this touching story.

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While watching "Encanto" for the first time, Kenzo was shocked when he saw a boy who looked exactly like him on screen. His mom said, "When Antonio popped up on the screen Kenzo was just staring. He was in awe. At some point, he turned around to his dad and me sitting on the couch and was smiling: I think he truly thought it was him because there is such a strong resemblance."

For Kah, capturing the precious moments of Kenzo's youth is very important. And the moment he saw Antonio is definitely worth memorializing on camera. Kah shared

"It makes my heart happy. As a mom, I'm always trying to capture these special moments. Growing up there wasn't much diversity in the way characters looked — that's changing. Black and brown children are getting to see themselves in positive images through characters like the ones on 'Encanto.'"

Seeing her son's joy meant to the world to Kah. "My son saw himself and it made him happy and this made me happy. Representation truly does matter," she said.

The mom added, "We've watched it again since, but we are those parents that try to limit screen time."

The novelty of seeing his lookalike in a movie has not worn off of Kenzo. His mom said, "He is still pointing out Antonio. We love it."

Both the picture of Kenzo and "Encanto" in general have been gaining a lot of positive attention. The film's director, Jared Bush, tweeted to the Brands and said: "Absolutely adorable! DM me! I wanna send ya something from the Madrigals!" 

Surely, a surprise from the director will bring even more joy to Kenzo's heart.

Did you find this story touching? Have you watched the film yet? Let us know, and feel free to send this along to your friends and family that love Disney movies.

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