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Did someone say flowers?
―Isabela Madrigal

Isabela Madrigal is a major character in Disney's 2021 animated feature film Encanto. She is the eldest daughter of Agustin and Julieta Madrigal, and the older sister of Luisa and Mirabel. Described as "Señorita Perfecta" by her youngest sister, Isabela is the golden child of the Madrigal family, whose gift is the power to conjure beautiful flowers and plants.

Background

Born into the Madrigal family, Isabela is the eldest daughter of Julieta and Agustín, and the older sister of Luisa and Mirabel. In addition to being the niece of Félix, Pepa and Bruno, Isabela is also the cousin of Dolores, Camilo and Antonio. Being the oldest of her cousins, she is the firstborn grandchild of the Madrigals and the favorite of her Abuela Alma. In the early years of her life, Isabela lived in the nursery with her cousin Dolores who is a few weeks younger than her, and eventually her younger sister Luisa who is two years younger than her. When Bruno was still with the family, Isabela received a vision from her uncle who told her that someday Isabela would be able to live the life of her dreams, and he also told her that her powers would "grow like the grapes that thrive on the vine". On the night of Isabela‘s fifth birthday, she received the gift of Chlorokinesis and she moved out of the nursery into her new room.

Due to the pressure of having to be the “perfect golden child”, Isabela grew up with the enormous pressure of having to meet the expectations of others and hid her insecurities. Isabela is graceful, and Mirabel describes her as "effortlessly perfect". Because of her looks and power to create beautiful plants, she is betrothed to a local man who is equally good-looking, Mariano Guzmán. But it is later revealed that she did not want to be perfect, and she also does not want to marry Mariano and in reality she only doing it to please people and her family. With Mirabel's help, Isabela is able to finally show her true self. When she feels free from the restraint of familial expectations, she can grow new, different varieties of plants that spray different colors of powder. This brings the two sisters closer, which culminates in a hug (which fulfills Bruno's vision of the candle burning brighter in order to stop the cracks).

Official Description

Mirabel’s sister Isabela is pretty much perfect, with an abundance of grace and poise not to mention a magical ability to make plants grow and flowers bloom.[1]
Isabela is Mirabel's older sister who is smart and brilliant. She is so perfect that flowers start to bloom with every footstep she takes. This leads to a complicated relationship with imperfect Mirabel as everything Isabela does seems to be a success.[2]

Development

As with the rest of the Madrigal family, Isabela was designed to reflect "family archetypes that are immediately relatable".[3] As in the final production, the studio created Isabela from the start as the perfect golden child and thus the pride of the family. Incorporating a subtle undercurrent of anxiety at the same time and hiding her imperfections while she was trying so hard to portray the image of perfection for Abuela Alma.[4]

Diane Guerrero, her voice actor, describes her character: "Isabela was sort of given the role of kind of being perfect, and her gift is to grow, make things grow, plants and beautiful flowers. And so, I guess with this gift sort of came the expectation that she just sort of had to be perfect, and just sew, and make beautiful, and sort of, she uses it kind of like a defense mechanism, something that has worked for her for so long. But I think she discovers that you know, when you're growing up, and you're an actual, real human being, that perfection really isn't sustainable."[5]

Personality

Isabela hugging Dolores as if she were her own sister.

Isabela is primarily known for being graceful, beautiful and even “perfect”, both inside and out, by everyone. Although not very close with her family for most of the film, Isabela cares for them and wants to do whatever it takes to make them proud. Willing to sacrifice her life and happiness for her family, showing her selfless and loyal side. While she doesn't get along with Mirabel for most of the film and is clearly distant from her, she does not share the same strained relationship with her other younger sister, Luisa, and is on good terms with her. Isabela treats her cousin who is a few weeks younger than her, Dolores, like her own sister. During Antonio's gift ceremony, she is seen holding Dolores' hand while hugging her reassuringly for most of the ceremony. Isabela is also one of the few people who does not have a negative opinion of her infamous uncle Bruno, partially due to him telling her a positive vision in her future.

Isabela stressed by having to meet Alma's expectations.

Although not explicitly stated, Isabela has a taste for romance and love. Although she is never interested in Mariano Guzmán, Isabela does hope to marry someday. A part from being incredibly happy (along with Mirabel) when Dolores and Mariano become a couple. She is referred to as the “golden child” by the family for her grace, and is beloved by the town. However, deep down, Isabela does not appreciate the expectations her Abuela sets upon her to be perfect. Instead, she wants to live life the way she wants to, and expand her power based on what she wants and not what the family wants. Unfortunately, due to the pressure of being the “perfect golden child”, Isabela hides these feelings away and willingly goes along with whatever her Abuela wants for her, even agreeing to get married to Mariano, who she does not love. This was also seen when flowers grew in her hair when Dolores said that Mariano wants to have 5 babies with her and was left speechless, and when Camilo teases her by shapeshifting into Mariano, only for Isabela to throw flowers into his face.

Isabela remodeling her appearance and being herself.

To further add to the pressure, Isabela does not get along with her youngest sister Mirabel. Both sisters are mutually jealous of each other's lives, which differed from their own; Isabela envying Mirabel being unburdened by expectations and free to do whatever she wants. Unaware of how unhappy the other was than they let on, Isabela had a strained relationship with her youngest sister. Isabela would be distasteful towards Mirabel in their interactions, insulting her, ordering her to be quiet during the dinner, and later on smugly making Mirabel apologize for "ruining" her life, implying a temperamental and petty side to her. However, after she finally released her emotions (after Mirabel calls her a "selfish, entitled princess") and grew a cactus, Isabela became more expressing of her true feelings, and expanded her powers. She additionally reconciles with Mirabel, growing a better sibling relationship with her.

Isabela (along with Luisa) shamefully looks at Alma.

When Alma yells at her and Mirabel about the mess they caused in the town while they sang, Isabela goes from confident and happy to scared and ashamed. She even tries to brush off the dye caked on her dress, showing how scared Isabela is of making Alma disappointed. When Alma blames Mirabel for her sisters' problems, all Luisa and Isabela can do was shamefully look down, showing that they are not any different from Mirabel. As Mirabel defends Luisa and Isabela by pointing out that they will never be good enough for Alma or her expectations, no matter how hard they try, Isabela (along with Luisa) avoids looking at Alma but looks incredibly hurt. Indicating she knows that Mirabel is right that she can never be perfect as Alma wishes and unfairly being blamed for their problems. Once Mirabel reconciles with Alma and returns to her long-lost uncle, Isabela works alongside her family and the community in rebuilding the house during "All of You", her relationship with both Mirabel and Luisa grew more loving and affectionate as they worked together. With the house and family magic restored, Isabela becomes a happier person, no longer constrained by expectations and, of course, perfection, and free to experiment with her powers and express herself.

Physical appearance

Isabela in her initial dress (left), in her dress after being herself (center), and in her current dress (right).

Isabela is a 21-year-old Colombian woman with dark skin, hazel eyes, a tear-shaped beauty mark on her left cheek, and long, shiny, black hair with a pink flower on the left side, and diamond earrings. While they have notable differences in skin complexion and facial structures, Isabela is otherwise practically the granddaughter most similar to Alma (in her younger years) and inheriting several of her physical traits. Isabela wears a lilac, frilled and layered dress decorated with flowers, and matching lilac slippers. After her transformation during the course of "What Else Can I Do?", her dress was painted in various colors (yellow, red, blue, the colors of the Colombian flag) with the main color dark blue, with matching flowers, and her hair has yellow, green, and blue streaks in it, with an orange flower replacing the previous pink blossom. The flowers on her dress and the one in her hair are cattleya trianae orchid, also known as "may lilies" or "may flowers". Towards the end of the movie, her dress becomes a much lighter indigo, with the other colors remaining as splatters on the bottom, the tips of her hair were indigo and blue, and a vine glove-like accessory is added onto her right arm.

Powers and Abilities

After evolving her gift of being her true self, Isabela can grow other types of plants besides flowers.

Isabela can conjure and grow flowers. She can also manipulate plant life. Originally, she only grew vines and beautiful, symmetrical flowers, such as roses, but later began experimenting with her gift and discovered that she could grow other kinds of plants as well, such as cacti, trees, like palma de cera or wax palm, and even carnivorous plants, like sundew. Her powers also appear to be linked to her emotions: when Dolores mentions Mariano's desire to have five babies with Isabela, she is shocked and flowers sprout in her hair involuntarily. It is also seen in "What Else Can I Do?" that she can grow dyed versions of exotic plants, like if you look closely there's a purple-colored cactus.

Appearances

Encanto

When Pepa is stressed, Isabela appears to calm her down by giving her flowers.

Isabela first appeared getting ready for the day and heading to the village with the rest of her family to help around. In "The Family Madrigal," Isabela was seen dancing along with the rest of his family and growing a vast array of flowers in the village. Isabela is lovingly kissed on the cheek by her Abuela Alma and when Mirabel introduces Mariano to the Town Kids, Isabela simply walks by her side, ignoring both Mirabel and Mariano. Since the day was also her younger cousin's, Antonio, fifth birthday and gift ceremony, Isabela soon returns home and continues to grow flowers to decorate the outside of the house for his special day. When her aunt Pepa started panicking about Antonio's gift ceremony, causing her to create a mini hurricane and damage the flowers, Isabela calms Pepa down by growing more flowers to replace the ones Pepa accidentally ruined, and hands her a bouquet, all while swinging down from the upper level of the house on a vine. When she lands, Pepa and Félix happily thank her for the flowers and after they leave, Isabela accidentally flips her hair in Mirabel's face. When Isabela notices Mirabel's presence, she rolls her eyes and tells Mirabel that if she wasn't trying so hard she wouldn't always be in the way as a form of "sisterly advice". Mirabel tries to tell Isabela that she's helping, while Isabela proceeds to walk away and roll her eyes as her youngest sister was about to walk into a pole.

Isabela is visibly upset when she thinks that Mirabel wants to ruin Antonio's gift ceremony.

Before Antonio's gift ceremony later in the day, Isabela is dancing and entertaining the guests by creating flowers. Isabela joined her other relatives to watch Antonio's ceremony, which Isabela hugs and holds Dolores's hand as they listen to Alma's speech. When Antonio received his gift, Isabela waved her hands in a jump of joy and was impressed when Antonio rode his jaguar in his new room. As the party moved into Antonio's magical bedroom, Isabela was in awe at the sight and took a family picture, which everyone unknowingly excluded Mirabel from. While dancing with Mariano at the celebration party, they heard from a panicked Mirabel that there were cracks in the Casita. When everyone came to investigate and the cracks weren't there, Isabela expresses her dislike for Mirabel because she thought she was envious of Antonio's successful ceremony and wanted to ruin the day.

Isabela swinging on her vine while singing about Bruno.

The next morning, Isabela joined the rest of her family for breakfast and sat down next to Dolores and Camilo. As she prepared to eat, Alma announced that she had spoken with the Guzmáns about Mariano's proposal to Isabela. Throughout the conversation, Isabela is visibly nervous about the prospect of getting married to Mariano, especially when Dolores comments that Mariano wants five babies, which makes Isabela sprout nervous flowers on her head. After Alma finished speaking, Camilo transformed into Mariano and made kissy faces to tease Isabela, which she responded by flicking flowers into his mouth. After breakfast was over, Isabela expresses annoyance for Mirabel who accidentally walks into her while trying to chase after Luisa who left the table in a hurry. Later, Isabela joined her family in "We Don't Talk About Bruno" after the townspeople verse. Isabela recalls the vision that Bruno gave her about how she's guaranteed to live her dream life, as well as him telling her what her power was going to be. She also tells Mirabel that she doesn't want to hear Mirabel say anything during dinner.

Isabela glaring at Mirabel for interrupting the proposal.

On the evening of the proposal, Isabela sits in between Mariano and Mirabel, and often glares at when her relatives start talking. Isabela becomes visibly confused, when Mirabel and Agustín try to hurry Mariano along and get him to propose faster. She gets irritated when Mirabel interrupts Mariano's proposal, but as he's proposing Isabela has a forced smile on her face. As dinner starts spiraling out of control with the spread of Bruno‘s vision about the magic fading and Pepa started forming a thundercloud, Isabela freaks out as various cracks begin to appear around the house and briefly misses control of her powers, using a plant to accidentally break Mariano's nose. After the dinner is ruined and everyone leaves the dining room, Isabela walks past Mirabel and proclaims that she hates her.

Isabela shocked by the creation of an "imperfect" plant.

After the ruined dinner, Mirabel enters Isabela's room to talk things out with her, saying that she knows they've had their issues, but she was ready to be a better sister and they should just hug it out. Isabela gets annoyed with Mirabel, pointing out that Luisa has grown so weak that she can't even lift an empanada, and that Mariano's nose, which is now broken, looks like a smashed papaya. When Mirabel tries to get close to get a hug, Isabela blocks her way with her vines and tells her to get out. She tells Mirabel that everything was perfect for her proposal and that their grandmother was happy as well as the rest of the family and that if Mirabel wanted to be a better sister, she should apologize for ruining her life. When Mirabel lashes out and passive aggressively apologizes for Isabela‘s life being so great, Isabela uses her vines to drag Mirabel out of her room.

Isabela happily thanks Mirabel for helping her be herself.

When she does this, Mirabel tries to break free of the vines, insisting that she's sorry and that she wasn't trying to ruin her life, but there are much bigger problems to deal with. Isabela is shocked when Mirabel refers to her as a "selfish entitled princess" and tells Mirabel that she was "stuck being perfect" all her life and all Mirabel has ever done is mess things up for her. Mirabel tells her things aren't messed up and she can still get married to Mariano, and Isabela reveals that she never wanted to marry him and she was only doing it for the family. After this confession, Isabela accidentally makes a cactus, which she is stunned at due to its faults and how in the world would she make such an "imperfect" plant. Isabela then opens up about her desire to be imperfect in "What Else Can I Do?", and while Mirabel encourages her to be herself, Isabela begins to get along with her better. When they are on the roof of the Casita, Isabela begins creating more exotic, flesh-eating plants all over the town and staining her dress from the bright fumes that comes out of a colorful plant. After freeing herself from expectations and pressures, Isabela hugs Mirabel and thanks her for helping her be herself for the first time (fulfilling Bruno's vision), before jumping to the floor of the Casita.

Isabela in shock realizing that her powers are gone.

Isabela’s joy quickly turns to fear as Alma comes into the house angrily demanding to know what’s happening. Isabela stands silently before walking off to the side as Mirabel tries to explain what was going on. Isabela stands with Luisa shamefully, and sadly watches as Alma berates their sister as she proceeds to blame her for all the family’s troubles because she wasn't given a gift. As their parents stand by their side, Isabela and Luisa avoid looking at Alma when Mirabel defends them by saying that they will never be good enough for Alma and points out that Isabela won't be perfect enough for her. As the Casita started collapsing around them and the Miracle Candle about to fall from its window, Isabela joined Mirabel and Camilo in trying to retrieve the candle. Isabela tried swinging on her vine to reach the candle from Alma’s window, but as the house continued to crack and fall apart, until the cracks reach her door, Isabela‘s powers fade, her vine disappears, and she falls to the floor. When she landed, Isabela looks around as her plants die and both her and her cousin, Camilo realized that they had lost their gifts. Casita then quickly pushed Isabela and the family out, except Mirabel, before it fully crumbled down, though she was able to reach the candle, but as the crumbling ended, the candle's long-lit flame dies in her hands. When Julieta noticed Mirabel went missing, the Madrigals and the other townspeople spread out to search for her.

Isabela and Mirabel hugging Luisa when she reveals that sometimes she cries.

By the next day, Isabela and the family saw that Mirabel and Alma (who reconcile with each other) returned to Casita's ruins, and Isabela is briefly confused during "All of You" when Alma revealed to the entire family that Bruno hid behind the rubble, but they immediately accepted him back into the family. With the family all together, Mirabel rallied them to fix the house and the entire town also pitched in as thanks for all the Madrigals had done for them. While helping to rebuild the Casita, Isabela comments that it’s a dream when they work together and compliments Luisa’s strength. Isabela and Mirabel proceed to give Luisa a comforting hug when she admits that she cries sometimes, saying that they cry too. Isabela then says she needs sun like a fertilizer, and along with her younger sisters plants new cacti saying that they should plant something new and watch it grow. After completing the house, Mirabel added a doorknob the family made just for her to the front door, which caused Casita to spring back to life, and the magic returned to the entire Encanto. Isabela then proceeds to remodel her dress again as well as create a new variety of exotic plants, no longer considered "perfect". The Madrigals then celebrated the return of their home and gifts with a family picture while Casita squished the whole family closer together unexpectedly.

Relationships

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The Disney Wiki has an article focusing on the relationships of Isabela Madrigal.

Gallery

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The Disney Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Isabela Madrigal.

Trivia

  • Isabela's birthday is on August 7, coinciding with the Battle of Boyacá and the month the Festival of the Flowers is celebrated.[6][7]
  • Early in production, the character's name was Ines.[8]
  • According to Jared Bush, Isabela is 21 years old and is the firstborn grandchild of the Madrigals. Her oldest cousin, Dolores, followed a few weeks later. She is even called "Isa's Shadow," as she and Isabela have the same age but is a few weeks younger than Isabela.[9]
  • Due to the fact that Isabela has to be "perfect", her gift has only been used for decorating. Some might even think her power of growing plants should've been more than that, like growing plants used for food, like trees, crops, etc.
  • Aside from growing plants and flowers, Isabela also excels in swinging, due to the fact that she can also grow vines.
  • Isabela saying that Luisa couldn't lift an empanada might be an exaggeration, due to the fact that she's losing her strength.
  • Isabela's desire to not marry Mariano is hinted a few times before she vocally expresses it to Mirabel:
    • Isabela does not notice Mariano, who dreamily looks at her during "The Family Madrigal".
    • When Dolores mentions Mariano's desire to have five babies with Isabela, she looks shocked and slightly horrified as flowers involuntarily sprout in her hair.
    • When Camilo shape-shifts into Mariano to mess with Isabela, she brushes him off with flower petals. Though it could be interpreted as her being annoyed with his antics, it could also show her displeasure with the prospect of marrying Mariano.
    • During the final lines of "We Don't Talk About Bruno", Isabela looks distressed and upset while dancing around Mirabel despite telling a more positive vision she received from Bruno, indicating her true feelings about the looming proposal that she will have to accept, as well as her lyrics changing to "And I'm fine, and I'm fine, I'll be fine", showing how desperate she is to please her family and ignore her own desires.
    • Throughout the proposal dinner, Isabela never really expresses genuine affection towards Mariano.
    • When Mariano presents her with the engagement ring, her smile is tense and strained, like as if it was fake.
    • A flower from Isabela's gift punches and breaks Mariano's nose twice, once during dinner and again during "What Else Can I Do?". Though it was unintentional, it exemplifies how little care she has for him.
    • She says Mariano's nose looks like a smashed papaya after what happened during the chaotic dinner.
  • A deleted scene shows Isabela was in love with a nerdy looking guy named Bubo Marquez who lives in the woods of Encanto (though another concept was he lived outside the town) and was planning to leave with him, but this concept of Isabela was discarded, most likely because it interfered with her arc and development.[10]
  • According to Jared Bush, Isabela and Mirabel were closer when they were younger but gradually drifted apart due to their dissimilar standings in the family and "sisterhood"; the latter referring to realistic scenarios where siblings can become more distant with each other as they mature.[11]
  • In "What Else Can I Do?", Isabela sings "flor de mayo, by the mile". Flor de mayo means 'may flower' in English. Some of the flowers seen on Isabela's dress and the one in her hair are also known as cattleya trianae orchids, 'may liles', or 'may flowers', the national flower of Colombia.
  • In "We Don't Talk About Bruno", Isabela sings "He told me that my power would grow like the grapes that thrive on the vine", foreshadowing her growing vines in her room in "What Else Can I Do?".
  • Isabela now looks different on Casita's new front door. Her dress is now different as she is now her true self and no longer the princess-like version of Isabela we once knew. Though, it is unknown if her room will change once she gets it back.
  • Isabela grew and mentioned several of the plants she conjured throughout the movie. Some of which were roses, chrysanthemums, vines, flor de mayo (may flowers), cacti, jacarandas, strangler figs, palma de cera (wax palm), sundew, and tabebuia, though it appears she can also grow snake plants.

References

  1. Team, D23 (November 16, 2021). "“Encanto” Character Details Revealed". D23.
  2. https://www.laughingplace.com/w/news/2021/09/10/encanto-character-details/
  3. Brown, Tracy (November 24, 2021). "‘Encanto’ is Disney’s first Latino musical. How the filmmakers got Colombia right". LATimes.
  4. The Art of Encanto
  5. https://www.vitalthrills.com/encanto-movie/
  6. Bush, Jared (March 18, 2022). "Isabela's birthday". Twitter.
  7. Bush, Jared (March 18, 2022). "Meaningful Birthdays". Twitter.
  8. Sharpe, Josh (December 9, 2020). "Exclusive: New Details for Walt Disney Animation Studios’ ‘Encanto’". The Disinsider.
  9. Bush, Jared (December 8, 2021). "Ages". Twitter.
  10. Harrak, Antoine (December 28, 2021). "Isabela Goes Into The Woods". YouTube.
  11. Bush, Jared (January 2, 2022). "Encanto on Disney+". Tumblr.


v - e - d
Encanto movie logo.png
Media
Encanto (soundtrack/video) • The Art of Encanto
Disney Parks
Parades: Main Street Electrical Parade
Characters
Encanto: Mirabel MadrigalBruno MadrigalAlma MadrigalIsabela MadrigalLuisa MadrigalDolores MadrigalCamilo MadrigalAntonio MadrigalPepa MadrigalJulieta MadrigalFélix MadrigalAgustín MadrigalPedro MadrigalMariano GuzmánPicoCerberusSeñora GuzmánOsvaldoParceTown KidsSeñora OzmaOld ArturoTiple MaestroSeñor RendonSeñor FloresLiliJosé
Deleted: Zoe MadrigalFuega MadrigalJosé MadrigalAmélia and Sofía MadrigalMiranda MadrigalPrincesa MadrigalBubo Marquez
Locations
ColombiaSouth AmericaEncantoCasa Madrigal
Songs
The Family MadrigalColombia, Mi EncantoWaiting on a MiracleEn Barranquilla Me QuedoSurface PressureWe Don't Talk About BrunoWhat Else Can I Do?Dos OruguitasAll of You
See also
The MadrigalsMiracle Candle
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