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Culture > Entertainment

What was the Avantika Rapunzel Drama?  

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

These past few weeks the internet has been flooded with the heavily debated topic of the actress Avantika, most known for her role as Karen in the Means Girls musical movie, playing a live-action Rapunzel in “Tangled.” The majority of this discourse has simply led to a lot of racism online towards Avantika and South Asians in general.  

This all started with a fancast, which is when fans pick someone they would like to play the role of a character, and it got extremely popular on TikTok. It got to the point where I think it turned into many people thinking it was an official casting, which is was not, and began spreading this misinformation. Also, there isn’t even a confirmed live-action “Tangled” in the works, so this is discourse about a fancast for a movie that does not exist. After this, it only went downhill.  

Many people, mostly white women from what I saw, started to make posts talking about how devastated they were about this casting, mind you, that is not real. I saw posts talking about how this was ruining their childhood and dreams about what a live-action Tangled would be like and their blonde hair and green eye representation.  I thought this was definitely dramatic, but then as this spread, I noticed people’s comments were getting more and more racist.  

People were saying a South Asian woman could not play Rapunzel because she has to have blonde hair,be German and that role should go to someone of that descent for the sake of “accuracy.” Some even began comparing this “casting” by naming various white women as castings for Tiana from “The Princess and the Frog”, such as Dove Cameron and Scarlett Johanson. I find this problematic for multiple reasons. One, Tiana is Black, and Avantika is South Asian, so I don’t see how that comparison is relevant, and two, Tiana is not only the sole Black Disney princess, but her race is part of her story. Rapunzel being German is not essential to her story. Then people began arguing that her being blonde is vital to the story, but any race can have any hair color. Wigs and hair dye exist, and even if a white woman were to play the role, she would also have to wear a wig because 70-foot-long hair is not possible.  

Another issue I had with this drama was the hypocrisy of it. People claimed they cared about ethnic accuracy and wanted a German actress, but no one seemed to care when Emma Watson, who played the live action Belle, was British, not French, for example. I truly think white women only had a problem with this fancast because they cannot fathom being able to relate to a character if they are not white and central to the story, when people of color are expected to be able to relate to any character, even if they are white. I saw posts saying she should play the villain, Mother Gothel, instead, which shows they don’t care about “accurate casting” if it’s the villain (also note Mother Gothel is an older woman and Avantika is 19).  

A few weeks ago, after this explosive drama online, Avantika posted a photo to her story of her with blonde hair with a winking face. I thought this response was very cheeky and honestly funny because she was getting such an onslaught of hate in her comments, and she showed she was unbothered by it.  

Ultimately, I think this drama was frankly stupid since it was based on a fancast and got extremely out of hand and many people’s, namely white women’s, true colors showed. I personally would be happy with Avantika being cast because I think her face fits the role as she is beautiful, and many people pointed out the similarities between the story and Indian culture.

Amaya Lam

Temple '26

Hello, my name is Amaya Lam and I am in the class of 2026 at Temple University! I was born and raised in Philadelphia. I’m a staff writer in the Arts and Entertainment section. I’m currently a Media Studies and Production major on the Media Analysis track. I love films and an avid Letterboxd user (@amay4) !