Let’s get Superficial – The looks of Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Esmeralda is the most divergent character in the Disney version from the book in both looks and personality. I already talked about her personality, now let’s look at her looks.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame dancing

Esmeralda and Djali Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Djail, Djali has a glint and Esmeralda does not Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame singing "God Help the Outcast" picture image

Esmeralda singing “God Help the Outcast” Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disney Esmeralda looks 100% Romani (Gypsy). She has a darker complexion, dark hair, and light green eyes (with no glint). Her eyes also do not change color pending on how much light is in the space, which kind of makes them look witchy.  She keeps her hair pulled back and the way she does it, it creates a big poof. This poof makes her look older. When her hair is down she looks younger. Her hair also has a slight curl. Though in the middle of the epic running away from Frollo, her hair looks straight but that could just  be inconsistencies in animation or the wind, take your pick. But it does look straight.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre dame

Esmeralda, Quasimodo, Frollo Final battle Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo, Frollo Final Battle Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda complimenting Quaismodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Phoebus leaving Notre Dame

Frollo Hunchback of Notre Dame groping Esmeralda Disney picture image

Frollo groping Esmeralda

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her age is very vague. Most of the Disney characters have a rough age range or they just say (like Ariel and Jasmine). With this shift in Disney heroines being somewhat more independent and less dreamy, they appear to be older than the typical “Disney princess” (except Tiana, I would say she is like a compromise between the archetypal Princess and the confident independent heroine of the late nineties). The question is how old is Disney’s Esmeralda. With the age inflation that Disney implements, I’d say she most likely 22 at the youngest, which is old for a Disney heroine. The long and short of it is, Esmeralda is meant to be older like “she’s been around.” (not my phasing, watch the commentary, it’s the scene where Esmeralda is helping Quasimodo from the pillory.) To listen to the commentary, The DVD

 

19th Century Illustration of Esmeralda with Djali

19th Century Illustration of Esmeralda with Djali

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Dance picture Image

Esmeralda’s Dance Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against the original novel by Victor Hugo, Esmeralda’s looks are very different. Esmeralda is never described in graphic detail but she’s described as very beautiful frequently by many characters. Disney Esmeralda is meant to be beautiful certainly (what Disney main female character isn’t?) but she is never called beautiful in the movie. The closest mention to her looks is Clopin saying she’s “The Finest Girl is France” (which means she beats out Belle considering her cameo.)

Esmeralda Illustration Image picture

19th century Illustration of Esmeralda

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Dance picture image

Esmeralda’s Dance Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esmeralda in the book is not 100% Romani (Gypsy). Her mother is a French women and while her Father could have been a Gypsy, it is never actually mentioned who her father is. Esmeralda has a golden skin tone, black hair and black eyes. Part of Esmeralda’s charm in the book is her innocence and her total unawareness of her beauty. Disney Esmeralda is the complete and utter opposite; she knows her appeal, exploits it and given that quote by the director Kirk Wise that I mention earlier, I’m not sure how innocent she is. (I still wonder if the production actually read the book or just confused it with other Hunchback films) So it safe to say that Disney did not use Hugo for even  a basis of Esmeralda’s design.

 

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the concept art, Esmeralda started off looking more youthful and somehow along the way she lost  the youthful look. My guess the vocal inspiration turned the table on character design. Alas Demi’s Moore doesn’t sound youthful, at least not when the film was recording the voices. For More Concept Art of Hunchback

 

 

Esmeralda and Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda giving Frollo a peck on the nose Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda getting close to Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda getting close to Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Phoebus and Esmeralda Kiss Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus and Esmeralda Kiss Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s actually not Disney’s fault that Esmeralda’s looks/acts sexy whereas Hugo’s Esmeralda  did not. The fault lies in the film history of Hunchback. Esmeralda has long been depicted as sexy or at least no stranger to  feminine charms. Esmeralda has also been depicted by actresses who are more known for their sex appeal over acting prowess. Such actresses have been Stacia Napierkowska, Theda Bara, Gina Lollobrigida and Selma Hayak. Also Disney models their characters after the voice actor playing them, so with the choice of Demi Moore it was  inevitable that Disney Esmeralda was going to be sexy and follow the line of sexy Esmeraldas. In a featurette of the movie, Moore said she could see herself in Esmeralda’s animation. While Disney took their cues from the 1939 version, I think Esmeralda’s look was based somewhat on Gina Lollobrigida’s Esmeralda  as well as Demi Moore (maybe, I can’t really tell, I haven’t seen a ton of Moore’s “body of work” to discern her mannerism and/or acting style in Esmeralda’s animation.)

Demi Moore image picture

Demi Moore

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image red dress

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 image picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Time Phoebus

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame


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9 comments on “Let’s get Superficial – The looks of Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

  1. Wil Enriquez on said:

    Although marketed to children, not a children’s movie by any regards. One of my favorites, and I suspect that parent groups, as well as other groups had complained enough to not only alienate the movie from Disney but, every movie since has been more toonish, and less human element. I think Megara was the next female heroine and the drawing technique changed dramatically. I have tried to do detective work on it, but haven’t found any articles on it. I know that in 2012, when I visited disneyworld, there was little to none Hunchback souveneirs and no Esmeralda.

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  3. christine on said:

    Esmeralda and Belle are my favorite Disney heroines. It´s not the looks – even though Esmeralda is probably prettiest Disney heroine and I don´t think she looks like Demi at all – but pure heart and moral backbone, instead of someone who is just young and sexy. Esme may not be virgin, she may have seen a lot, but she has not let it corrupt herself.

    • Fatima on said:

      Great stuff Adam, so jealous you got to see it in psoern, my favorite scenes were actually the ones with genie and the shadow man from the princess and frog, because they stunned me the most visually, but i loved the whole show.

  4. Esmérella on said:

    Hello!

    I just wanted to say that I love the website, and love Esmérellda. My name actually is Esmé, and I see myself in her a lot (mentally not physically, I’m pale and blonde). It is my favourite Disney movie and one of my favourite stories, although I prefer her in the story than the book, that that is who I relate to. I was going to go to a fancy dress party as her since my friends call me “Esmérellda” as a joke sometimes a found this website when looking for costume ideas. Thank you!

    • Arian on said:

      Yeah and the fact that America has more money ploughed in. Me and my faimly have practically been to Disney Paris every year since I was born it’s sort of a tradition thing and getting to be a bit of a home. Can’t wait to see the show when I go later this year. PS.: You mention the Hunback section, I thought i saw a bit of pixelated animation for the jungle book bit which I did not like the look of at all maybe i was mistaken? like you, trying not to see as much as I can before seeing the actual thing!

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  6. Esmeralda Disney on said:

    Yeah, I agree that Esmeralda Disney is pretty different with the Victor Hugo’s version. Also in Victor Hugo’s version, this Hunchback of Notre-Dame story has more “dark” plot and “adult” scene.

    Here is another article about Esmeralda Disney : http://www.rapunzelfromtangled.com/esmeralda-disney

    • Genevieve on said:

      What a photo! :) I heard that The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a Michael Eisner’s favorite anaitmed feature! It is amazing how they tried to sell it. Solid movie anyway. I like it very much!Mark how it turned out that you went to Esmeralda unit?

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