Halle Bailey

Halle Bailey is about to become a household name. Thanks to a star turn as Ariel in the upcoming live-action Disney film The Little Mermaid, Bailey’s celebrity status will be firmly cemented by the end of the year. But right now, you may not know a lot about the actress.

Below, find out everything you need to know about Halle Bailey, from her singing career to her previous roles in film and television.

Halle Bailey Began Her Career as a Child Star

Halle Bailey is now 22, but her career began decades ago. When she was just 3 years old, the actress had minor roles in films like Last Holiday. 

But music was the star’s key focus. She grew up in a musical family and began a YouTube channel with sister Chloe when she was 11 and her sister 13. Coining themselves “Chloe x Halle,” their first video was a cover of Beyoncé’s “The Best Thing I Never Had.” They quickly went viral and appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in April 2012, before winning the fifth season of The Next Big Thing on Radio Disney that December. They then independently released their debut album of covers called Uncovered in September 2013.

Beyoncé Had a Hand in Her Success

While Chloe x Halle was already a hugely successful YouTube channel, their real rise to fame came when the Queen B herself, Beyoncé, noticed their cover of her son “Pretty Hurts” and promptly signed the duo to her label, Parkwood Entertainment, in 2015. At the time, Chloe was 18 and Halle 16.

From there, Chloe x Halle went from strength to strength. Their first EP, Sugar Symphony, was released in April 2016, and they even performed at the White House and South by Southwest Festival. They are widely considered to be Beyoncé’s prodigies, opening for the European leg of The Formation World Tour and now in a five-year contract with Parkwood.

Most recently, Chloe x Halle received multiple nominations at the 2020 Grammy Awards, including Best Progressive R&B Album, Best R&B Song and Best Traditional R&B Performance.

Halle Bailey Is Also an Established Actress

After her initial foray into acting as a child and subsequent focus on music, Bailey landed a major role as Skylar “Sky” Forster on Grown-ish, the spin-off series to Black-ish. In the series, Halle Bailey and Chloe Bailey play sisters and track athletes at the fictional college where Black-ish character Zoey (Yara Shahidi) attends.

The sisters were main cast members for three seasons, with Halle Bailey’s character Sky leaving at the end of season three for an opportunity to join the Olympics, but remaining in part as a recurring character.

Her Musical Background Was a Major Factor in Her Casting As Ariel

For The Little Mermaid, director Rob Marshall was looking for a star that was both dynamic on screen and could hold their own with the classic Disney songs that are so known and loved from the film. He said in a statement, “After an extensive search, it was abundantly clear that Halle possesses that rare combination of spirit, heart, youth, innocence, and substance — plus a glorious singing voice — all intrinsic qualities necessary to play this iconic role.”

However, her casting led to backlash — with some critics unhappy that Halle Bailey, a Black woman, was cast as Ariel. Bailey responded, telling Teen Vogue that she remained focused on the incredible role and the opportunity to play a classic Disney princess. “We’ve always learned to just keep our heads up no matter the situation,” she said at the time.”No matter what anybody has to say about you… just keep pushing.”