Today's awesome female role model needs some background music...
One of the best Disney characters (at least in my humble opinion) is not a princess. She's a 19 year old girl whose parents died in a car crash, keeps losing her jobs, and has to take care of her little sister... and an alien.
Nani from Lilo and Stitch.
Nani is far from being a princess. She doesn't have pretty clothes. She's not stick thin. Birds don't help her get dressed in the morning. She doesn't always know the perfect thing to say at the perfect time. She will never be a good cook.
But Nani is amazing anyways.
Right away, the audience knows all is not well in Nani and Lilo's home. Lilo is always getting into trouble and doesn't have many friends, and Nani is frantically trying to keep their little family together. She yells and argues with Lilo and can't seem to get it together.
Yet, in spite of these things, it's also obvious that Nani cares deeply for her little sister and will do anything for her.
After they fight, they always make up. Lilo understands (to an extent) that Nani is still just her sister... not her mom and that Nani is having a hard time. Nani does her best to push through it, but is also honest with Lilo about their situation. She admits that yes... their family is little and broken... but that's okay. It's still beautiful.
But at the same time, while Nani is honest with Lilo, she also knows when to protect her. When Nani loses her job, Lilo wants to know if it was hers and Stitch's fault. (Honestly... it was.) Nani doesn't want this burden on Lilo, so she tells the little girl that her manager was a vampire and wanted her to join his legion of the undead.
Talk about the best sister ever.
Nani is 100% supportive of Lilo. Yes, she disciplines Lilo and thinks some of her habits are strange... but that's okay with Nani. She'll go develop Lilo's odd photos, she'll let Lilo "borrow" $2 to adpot the crazy dog that really is an alien, she'll buy into the stories and crazy adventures. Nani lets Lilo be herself while also trying to guide her into being a good person. It's a hard balance that Nani hasn't quite gotten the hang of, but she's trying. She takes the strange events of their life in stride and goes with it. She adjusts to whatever life throws at them. Nani also knows when they need to have fun. After a long and discouraging day of job hunting - when David invites them to go surfing Nani knows that's exactly what they need. There's a time to be serious and get down to business (to defeat the Huns), but there's also a time to relax and enjoy life. Even though it's completely insane.
And speaking of David... you've gotta be doing something right if a guy like that is into you. She's not even dating him (yet) and he still sticks by Nani and Lilo like they are his family and will do anything for them. David is seriously one of the most underrated Disney men ever.
Nani is fierce and brave. When Lilo is taken away, Nani yells at strange aliens who could probably kill her and even helps to drive the spaceship. Pretty impressive for an unemployed 19 year old girl if you ask me.
Ultimately, Nani loves her family. Even though her parents are gone she respects their wishes and upholds their values of love, family, and sticking together.
You also have to love someone who lets their little sister listen to Elvis 24/7.
"I think it might be a koala. An evil koala. I can't even pet it! It keeps staring at me like it's going to eat me!"
"The manager is a vampire. He wanted me to join his legion of the un-dead."
"Uh... your head looks... swollen."
"I'll tell you what. If you promise not to fight anymore, I promise not to yell at you anymore. Except on special occasions."
"No! You're not taking her! I'm the only one who understands her! You can't take that away, she won't stand a chance!'
"I hate it when you use Ohana against me."
"Hey! Watch where you're going.... stupid head!"
"At least a rabbit would be better than you... and quieter!"
"Sometimes things don't work out the way you want them to. Sometimes things have to change, sometimes they work out for the better."
Also... I watched this movie on my iPad as I worked.... should not have done that. Trying not to cry in the office...