Kelly Marie Tran recently paid history to her heritage as she celebrated her historic Disney princess role. The Raya and the Last Dragon actress enjoyed the film’s premiere with a virtual red carpet, and chose a traditional Vietnamese áo dài for the occasion. She had the help of designer Thai Nguyen, who made her dream dress a reality. For Thai, Kelly’s decision to honor their culture left a powerful impression.
“When I first heard my friend @kellymarietran was to be the newest and the 1st ever Southeast Asian Disney princess, I was overjoyed. I’m so proud that Kelly is breaking another glass ceiling,” Thai wrote on Instagram. “Imagine how I felt when she called and told me she wanted me to dress her for the premiere of Raya and the Last Dragon… AND in an ao dai??”
Thai designed a gorgeous gown for Kelly with intricate gold embroidered detailing and a complementary headpiece. He said “pride and excitement” couldn’t adequately describe how it felt to be involved in this “truly special project.” Thai explained, “Kelly and I share passion for what we do and a strong love for Vietnamese culture. We also both understand the challenges of being underrepresented minorities in competitive spaces. It is hard to put into words how much it means to me that we were able to join those emotions and experiences, turn it into an iconic ao dai, and share our heritage with the world.” See more of her dress in the photos below.