Jessica Darrow voices Luisa in the upcoming Disney animated film Encanto. A larger-than-life character who will do anything for her family and is someone Mirabel highly relies on. The film, which premieres worldwide on November 24, features Luisa in a show-stopping musical number. According to the directors, the performance is “one of the standouts of the film and a crazy visual showpiece that is beautiful and colorful - and Jess really owns it.”
Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Darrow has been a storyteller since a very young age. From creating her version of Mother Goose, “Granny Goose,” in elementary school, to make the morning announcements in character with a wig and a puppet, Jessica knew she wanted to build a career in the entertainment industry. And after an audition for a performing arts middle school, the Cuban-American has been acting ever since.
Jessica attended Rutgers University, where she received a BFA in Acting from the Acting Conservatory Program at the Mason Gross School of the Arts. This included a semester in London studying Shakespeare at the famous Globe Theatre. Upon graduation, Jessica booked her first role in the film “Feast of Seven Fishes” and then she landed a role in the upcoming Disney animated film Encanto.
Encanto tells the story of the Madrigal family, who live in an enchanted town in the mountains of Colombia. In the film, every child has been granted a unique ability such as strength or healing powers, except for one. Mirabel Madrigal, voiced by Stephanie Beatriz, the only ordinary child, discovers that the magic is under threat, and she will do what it takes to save it.
According to the actress, being in a Disney film is a full-circle moment. Not only has she very deeply loved Disney for as long as she can remember, but she and Luisa also share many character traits, including her tough exterior with a very vulnerable side.
Luisa and Jessica would do anything for her family, and both struggle with pushing their own emotions aside. Although Jessica’s character carries all the burdens of her family, she never complains.
The movie is the latest computer-animated musical fantasy comedy film by Walt Disney Animation Studios and is already gaining early Oscar buzz. Under the direction of Byron Howard and Jared Bush and songs written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the studio recently released the first teaser of this fantasy version of the Latin American country.
Besides Stephanie Beatriz, and Jessica Darrow, the cast also includes María Cecilia Botero, Wilmer Valderrama, Adassa, Diane Guerrero, Mauro Castillo, Angie Cepeda, Rhenzy Feliz, and Carolina Gaitan.
There’s a creative and hardworking team behind the movie. To keep the film authentic and accurately portray the beauty of Colombia, the animators and filmmakers traveled to the South American nation. They visited many areas to find inspiration in creating the inspiring world of Encanto.
Discover the five areas in Colombia which were used as inspiration by Disney’s animation team to create the inspiring world of Encanto
- Valle del Cocora / Cocora Valley: Inspired the topography and vegetation
- Barichara: Inspiration for Encanto’s village and the Casa Madrigal exterior architecture
- Salento: Inspiration for Encanto’s village and the Casa Madrigal exterior architecture
- Cartagena: Inspiration for architectural details
- Bogotá: Inspiration for architectural details