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Why Mirabel From Encanto Sounds So Familiar

Disney's upcoming animated release "Encanto" has, thus far, been met with critical acclaim, and seems poised to please audiences upon release. The film focuses on the Madrigal family, who live in the titular enchanted and hidden Columbian enclave of Encanto. Quirky Mirabel Madrigal is the film's protagonist, and she's the only Madrigal entirely devoid of magical powers. Her older sister, Isabela (Diane Guerrero) causes flowers to bloom wherever she roams. Middle sister Luisa (Jessica Darrow) possesses super strength. Her mother, Julieta (Angie Cepeda) can heal with her cooking. Uncle Bruno (John Leguizamo) has the power of second sight. Even her young cousins have magical powers. 

However, when danger strikes the Madrigal family and threatens their magic, Mirabel decides to do whatever it takes to make sure they survive, and that Encanto is protected. Mirabel makes for a very likeable character, and her voice will probably sound very familiar to TV viewers. Here's where you've heard (and seen) her before.

Stephanie Beatriz made Rosa all her own

The voice of Mirabel is an actor named Stephanie Beatriz, and before she made a big splash as the moody, tough Rosa Diaz on the long-running cop comedy "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," she was largely unknown. After playing Rosa, though, it's impossible to forget her. 

Per The University of Wisconsin-Madison Badger Herald, she'd originally been hoping to land another part on the show. "I originally auditioned for the role of Amy Santiago because it was delineated in the script that she was Latina," she said during a 2019 interview at the university's Shannon Hall. But the casting director noticed something special in her, and had her read for the part of a character then named Meghan, who was described as Irish, red-haired, and "fiery." Beatriz got a call back for both roles, though, and a screen test lead to her landing the role of Rosa — a rewritten version of Meghan, for which she used tones much lower than her higher natural voice. 

Eventually, Rosa would come out as bisexual during the Season 5 episode "Game Night." Beatriz identifies as bisexual herself (per Vulture) and was excited about getting to explore this side of her character, as well.

You might remember Stephanie Beatriz as Gloria's sister

Beatriz' second most well-known TV role is that of Sonia Ramirez, sister of Gloria Pritchett (Sofia Vergara) from ABC's "Modern Family." The actress appeared four times in the role, from 2013 to 2019.

The put-upon youngest sister of the family, Sonia is initially desperate to escape Columbia and claims that Gloria charmed Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill) away from her when they were first dating. Angry that Gloria has improved her station in life while leaving Sonia alone with their exacting mother, Sonia tries and fails to seduce Jay. Then, she kidnaps Gloria's son, Manny Delgado (Rico Rodriguez), demanding ownership of Gloria's new hot sauce business (which uses an old family recipe) in exchange for the custody of her nephew. Gloria agrees to give Sonia the business, and the fighting siblings finally realize that their lifelong feud only exists because they've been competing for the love of late father, Fulgencio.

Gloria and Sonia's relationship is much more convivial when they next meet. The hot sauce business has finally made Sonia rich, and she's moved to America. She even has a fiancé, Nestor (Francis Gonzalez), whom Gloria immediately suspects of wanting to marry Sonia to take all of her money. Thankfully, it turns out that Nestor truly loves Sonia for who she is.

Stephanie Beatriz recently went In the Heights

Most recently, Beatriz popped up as Carla in the 2021 film version of "In The Heights," directed by Jon M. Chu. Carla is one of the women who works at Daniela (Daphne Rubin-Vega)'s salon, and together with Cuca (Dascha Polanco) the three women provide something of a Greek chorus for Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), who must decide between returning to Stanford University in California and staying in Washington Heights and exploring her attraction to Usnavi (Anthony Ramos) who has harbored a crush on her for years.

The actress said on the Kelly Clarkson Show (via Playbill) on February 18, 2021 that she was reluctant to audition for the role. "The last time I did musical theatre was in college, I was Velma Kelly in Chicago," Beatriz told Clarkson, adding that she felt like musicals were for "real singers." Apparently her "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" colleague Fumero was the one who encouraged her to go out for Carla.  "She really encouraged me to think beyond what my idea of myself is."

Stephanie Beatriz has a great track record with animated programs

"Encanto" is far from Stephanie Beatriz's first animated project. In fact, Beatriz is no stranger to the recording booth, and has a lengthily history of voice acting credits behind her. She was Gertie in "Ice Age: Collision Course" and General Mayhem in "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part." She voiced Gina Cazador for nine episodes of "BoJack Horseman" and was in three episodes of Disney Junior's "Sophia the First" as Ixlan. She was Gosalyn Waddlemeyer for two episodes of the Disney Channel "DuckTales" reboot, and is Tiff in "Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous." Beatriz also voices Princess Mira Popadopolous in Nextflix's "Q-Force," and has a recurring role as Chloe Barbash on Fox's "Bob's Burgers."

Speaking about her passion for voice acting to The Los Angeles Times, she said it dates back to a childhood love of animation, and how the characters often felt more accessible to her than live-action ones. "It wasn't lost on me as a kid that the heroes of the stories [in live-action movies and TV shows] often didn't look like me. Animation was the one place where the heroes in the story sometimes didn't look like anybody I knew because they were out of somebody else's imagination. That world felt a little more accessible to me, somehow."