‘New Girl’s Hannah Simone Shows Off Her Singing Voice in ‘Mira, Royal Detective’
Disney Junior’s Mira, Royal Detective has been enchanting viewers since its debut earlier this year and one of the reasons is because of Hannah Simone‘s animated character Pinky.
The New Girl actress is just one of many stars lending their vocals to this mystery-adventure series for preschoolers that is inspired by the cultures and customs of India. Set within the fictional land of Jalpur, the show follows Mira, a commoner who has been appointed the role of royal detective by the Queen.
With the help of her friends, Mira stops at nothing to solve the cases that land in her path and one of those friends is Simone’s Pinky. In this week’s episode, “The Case of Pinky and the Goat,” Mira will recruit Pinky to help search for a missing goat and Simone will showcase her singing voice for the catchy tune “If I Were a Goat.” We caught up with the actress ahead of the episode’s debut to discuss her role in the series, the impact New Girl continue to has and so much more. Simone breaks it down below.
Your character Pinky has popped up in a few episodes of Mira, Royal Detective already. What makes this installment so special?
Hannah Simone: They trusted me to sing [Laughs] it shows how incredibly brave Disney is. I mean, I did New Girl with a professional singer, that was incredible. So I knew to stay in my lane because I saw how a real singer does it.
Did you seek any advice before stepping into the recording booth, then? Or did you just go with the flow?
I remember when they told me that they wanted Pinky to sing a song, I laughed, very loudly and I said, “I don’t know if this is a great idea.” And they said, “well, she’s singing a song.” I said, “okay, maybe we can make it part of her character. That she’s not the greatest singer.” But it was interesting for me because I think we often don’t assume the best of ourselves. I had so much fun doing it and Pinky is incredibly confident and positive, so I just sang as Pinky.
The big surprise to me was it sounded really good. So, those are the wonderful things about being an actor is that you learn things about yourself through a character. I would never have thought to sing and as Pinky singing this song about goats was great. It was a great experience. So now I’m down to singing on any cartoon.
As you mentioned, Pinky sings about goats and she loves animals. Is that something you can relate to yourself?
It’s really interesting because I am a huge animal lover. I have an Instagram account just for my cats. I’m that person. I love animals so much. And you’d have to ask [EP] Sascha [Paladino] and [Story Editor/Series Developer] Becca [Topol], but I remember when we went in to record the first few episodes, there was mention of a goat. They always envisioned Pinky to be so into goats or that came because I was just so excited to have a little animal associated with her. That’s definitely something that I relate to. I love that animal.
What does it mean to be a part of this series which really highlights South Asian cultures and traditions?
When they brought the series to me and they told me who Mira was — this incredibly smart and brave and resourceful South Asian girl — and that a South Asian actress was going to voice the character, and they were going to surround that character with a full foundation cast. I didn’t even ask what character, I didn’t ask how often my character was featured. I just said yes. It’s important. I grew up watching Sunday morning cartoons and I never saw myself represented. And the idea that we’re at a place now where these shows are being made, that I could be part of that and lend myself to that. I did it with absolutely no question.
In what ways have you seen the show’s impact?
When they announced the cast and all of the amazing actors and actresses that had attached themselves to it, my DMs were just blown. And then the show premiered in March and it’s been the same ever since from parents, teachers and kids big and small, who’ve all written to me saying how much they love the show. It’s been the most heartwarming thing to see how far it reaches. It’s just amazing [to see] parents doing like DIY Mira birthday parties, fashion, costumes and cake toppers. It shows just how much it means to young people to have a show like this.
People have been rediscovering New Girl while stuck at home. How does it feel to know the show is still gaining fans?
Yeah, it’s been very interesting. I remember when we were shooting the show, it was quite an intense process. We worked many hours a day, five days a week, basically. And I remember in the summers when we’d have a break and kind of come out of that bubble, you’d go to the grocery store, it always took me by surprise how many people would come up to say how much they loved the show, because we were just working so hard.
You didn’t really get to see the impact of how many people were fans of the show. And I feel like that’s what’s happening again. I feel when the world hopefully starts to get back to normal because everybody’s made good choices, it’s going to be a little bit of a shock to the system. I know just through social media, how many people are discovering the show for the first time or re-watching the show.
There’s something about New Girl I think, because it is five people that are primarily in a loft together for a lot of it, that people who are home, I think find some comfort in. Because it feels like they’re with a bunch of people that are trying to figure life out. So it’s a natural show I think, to watch in quarantine. It’s been lovely to hear it, but I think it will be interesting once we’re all back out in the world fully to feel it, but I’m excited. I love our show. And anytime someone says that they’ve watched it or re-watched it or it helped them through a difficult time, I take pride in being part of something that can help people and make people laugh when things are difficult.
Mira, Royal Detective, “The Case of Pinky and the Goat,” Friday, September 25, 8:30 a.m./7:30 a.m. c, Disney Channel