Beyond the lyrics of “Reflection,” Mulan is Chinese and I am half-Chinese. Our connection was cultural. She looks like me and says “Ai-ya” to express annoyance and surprise like my mom’s family does. (Apologies if I’ve told this story before.) My Po-Po told me and my mom the fable about the “woman warrior”, who snuck into the Chinese army to save the life of her kid brother (who she believed was too young to go to war). As she relayed this story, my connection with Disney’s “Mulan” deepened, and because of this memory Mulan connects me to my Po-Po. Sometimes I imagine that my Gung-Gung and Po-Po are hovering around like the Ancestors in the movie. I’m still waiting for them to send a dragon guardian.
Photographs by Lou Daprille
More on costume: https://fabricalchemist.com/2015/04/10/costume-notes-mulan/