Halle Bailey spoke with Entertainment Tonight recently about starring as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. The Grown-ish actress said she’s “grateful” to be able to follow in the footsteps of Brandy Norwood and Anika Noni Rose for their roles in Cinderella and The Princess and the Frog.

Bailey said Norwood was a “studying point” for her work in the forthcoming film. “I just watched how amazing she was in that role and how comfortable she was in her skin and how impactful to audiences and little girls like me who watched it,” she told the outlet. “There are these beautiful Black women pioneers who've done this before and been there for me to be able to say, 'OK, I can do this.'”

Commenting on the viral videos of Black children watching her as Ariel for the first time, Bailey said, “It's been such a beautiful moment for me to be able to see the reactions of the babies — it makes me just emotionally overwhelmed honestly and I cry as soon as I watch them.”

She added, “I think of the little girl that's still in me, honestly, and it heals that girl inside of me to watch them feel like they have representation and someone to look to, to know that they deserve to be in those places too. It's so important. It just makes me cry anytime I see any of those videos.”