Tiger Lily resides in the Indian Camp on Neverland. She serves as the princess of her people, ruling the tribe along with her father, the imposing Chief. She is established as a close friend of Neverland's local protector, Peter Pan, who suggests that their relationship is romantic, as they displayed a mutual attraction (even sharing a kiss at one point). As such, she is deathly loyal to him, standing her ground to protect him even in the face of Captain Hook.
Tiger Lily is brave, strong-willed, and incredibly proud. She speaks only when necessary and is often portrayed with a stoic expression and powerful stance (apparently taking after the Chief). She cares deeply for her friends, as she refused to give in to Captain Hook's demands regarding Peter, even though her life was at risk. For all of her seriousness, Tiger Lily has also displayed a fun-loving side to her personality. She enjoys dancing and celebration within her tribe. She is also flirtatious with Peter, rendering him a blushing goof at one point.
Tiger Lily has tanned skin, black eyes, red lips, and long black hair tied in two braids with yellow hair ribbons. She wears a fringed buckskin dress with pink and red stripes on the capelet and blue moccasins. She also sports a blue headband with a feather on her head.
In the film, her friendship with Peter leads Captain Hook to believe that she knows where his hideout is. With the assistance of Smee, Captain Hook kidnaps and takes her to Skull Rock. The Indians believe that she was captured by the Lost Boys, and so they do not come for her. Captain Hook ties her up and places her on a rock sticking out of the sea. He offers to set her free if she reveals where Peter lives. He points out the rising tide, noting that Indian belief says that an Indian who dies by drowning can't make it to the Happy Hunting Grounds. However, she knows better than to take him at his word and refuses to talk, even if it means that she can't ascend to the Happy Hunting Grounds. Losing his patience, he lifts her right up and screams right in her face that she has one more chance, blasting her braids back with the force of his yelling.
Unknown to any of them, Peter and Wendy have spotted them. Peter is able to spook Captain Hook and Smee by mimicking a spirit. When Captain Hook leaves to find its source, Peter begins imitating him. In Captain Hook's voice, he orders Smee to return Tiger Lily to her people. He complies but is then yelled at by the real Captain Hook, who orders him to put her back where she was. Peter and Captain Hook go back and forth until Peter is discovered by Captain Hook. After a short battle, Captain Hook is chased off by the crocodile. By this time, Tiger Lily has almost drowned beneath the rising tide. Peter doesn't notice this until it is pointed out by Wendy. He rescues her, and they, along with Wendy, return her to the Indian Camp.
At the camp, Peter is named Chief Flying Eagle by the Chief as a reward for saving Tiger Lily's life. During the following party, she, as an additional reward for him saving her life, flirts with and even kisses him, causing Wendy to become jealous. She is last seen dancing alongside him and sharing a second nose kiss as the party continues.
Actress Sara Tomko portrays Tiger Lily (a fairy in this incarnation) in the sixth season.
After the birth of Fiona's son, Tiger Lily and the Blue Fairy visit her, and Tiger Lily is revealed as the boy's fairy godmother. Later on, after Fiona learns of his fate as the Savior, Tiger Lily helps her to find him destined to kill him in the far future. Breaking into the Sacred Vault of the Fairies, Tiger Lily is tricked by Fiona, who intends to create a curse to banish all the children of their land to the Land Without Magic and witnesses Fiona's transformation into the Black Fairy upon becoming corrupted by the dark magic she creates. Before Tiger Lily can be killed by the Black Fairy, the Blue Fairy appeared and banished her to the Dark Realm.
At some point, Tiger Lily gives up her fairy wings and relocates to Neverland where she has a history with Captain Hook. Years later, she comes across him once again and teams up with him to send word to the current savior, Emma, that the Black Fairy intends to kill her during the Final Battle. She later helps Captain Hook escape from the Lost Boys into a portal back to Storybrooke. Years later, after somehow regaining her fairy status, she becomes the fairy godmother to Lucy, Henry Mills' daughter and Rumplestiltskin's great-granddaughter. When Lucy comes to her for guidance after Henry goes missing, she asks her to have faith, telling her that she will be reunited with him sometime in the future.
Tiger Lily will appear in the live-action film Peter Pan and Wendy. She will be played by Alyssa Alook and will have a horse sidekick. In this version, she will play a larger role than in the original film and will be portrayed as "a fierce warrior and a serene and benevolent leader" who protects Neverland, the Lost Boys, and Neverland's visitors from Captain Hook. This version will also be bilingual, being able to speak both English and her native language.
Christmas in Never Land
Tiger Lily appears in Christmas in Never Land, a short story featured in 5-minute Christmas Stories.
After hearing Wendy talk about Christmas, Peter and the Lost Boys decide to surprise her and have Christmas right here in Never Land. They first go to the Indian Camp to ask Tiger Lily to help them find Christmas presents and an extra-special gift for Wendy. Tiger Lily tells them that she knows just what they should give. She and Peter make Wendy a beautiful beaded necklace while the Chief teaches John, Michael and the Lost Boys how to make arrowheads.
Tiger Lily appears briefly in the video game, where Peter needs to speak with the Chief, but the entrance is locked. She tells him he needs to make a sort of music to unlock the entrance. Her appearance in this game marks her longest speaking time.
In the July 1995 issue of Disney Adventures magazine promoting the movie Pocahontas, there's a behind-the-scenes section of pages, one of which features a title card from pre-production that includes an early version of Pocahontas who looks a lot like this Tiger Lily, her arms folded, head held up high, eyes closed, and is surrounded by a few forest animals (a poster matching this description can also be seen in the documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty).
In real life, calling the daughter of a tribal chief a "princess" is now often considered derogatory, like the way Native Americans were seen in this film.
Although the totem pole can be seen, she never returned in the sequel Return to Never Land. This may have been due to controversy.
Ironically, Tiger Lily is the only member of her tribe in the "What Made the Red Man Red?" sequence who is portrayed with a realistic appearance and skin color, as opposed to the rest of the Native Americans in her tribe who all had cartoonish caricatured appearances and red skin colors. Despite this, she is still absent in most future renditions of the story.
The revised sequence for the stage play gives Tiger Lily her first and only song in any Disney production, "What Makes the Brave Girl Brave?".