Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, where we spotlight strong women and nonbinary folks who inspire us. This includes fictional characters in geeky media and creators as well. They are a prime example of empowerment and how crucial it is for youth to have said example to follow.

DISCLAIMER: The following may contain spoilers for the Tangled Disney movie, Tangled: Before Ever After TV movie, and Tangled: The Series. If you have not seen the movies or the show, then you may not want to read on. Also note that this article only covers the Disney character and not any other fairy tale iterations.

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An animated image of a young woman with short brown hair and a purple and pink dress. She stands on a balcony in the center of the image. To the right, a brunette man stands behind her. He wears a blue tunic and white shirt with brown pants.


Fast Facts

Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) was born as the princess of the kingdom of Corona, and was celebrated as a miracle. She and her mother, the queen, both would have died had it not been for the magical golden flower that queen consumed while pregnant with Rapunzel. As an infant, Rapunzel was kidnapped by Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) when it became clear that Rapunzel herself had absorbed the healing powers from the flower.

Gothel kept Rapunzel locked away in a tower and used her for her magic. At eighteen, Rapunzel decides to rebel against Gothel’s rules and escapes from the tower with the help of a thief named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi). As she experiences the world for the first time, Rapunzel learns that she is the lost princess of Corona and is able to reunite with her parents after defeating Mother Gothel.

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After officially becoming a princess, Rapunzel must still fight for herself against the rules and customs of the palace. Her adventurous spirit and thirst for knowledge keep her going when she feels trapped in her royal role. Rapunzel is able to make great changes throughout her kingdom and teaches others by example of how to face challenges with humility and determination.

The Real Deal

An animated image with Rapunzel, a young woman with long blonde hair in the center. On the left is a white horse and on the right is a young female knight with short black hair. They are all holding armfuls (mouthful for the horse) of Rapunzel's 70 feet of hair.


One of the most amazing aspects of Rapunzel’s character is that she stays true to herself. For years, she was verbally and emotionally abused by Mother Gothel to keep her under control. But Rapunzel didn’t let those negative ideas harm her sense of self. She remains hopeful for the future and perseveres with optimism. Once she realizes that following Gothel’s orders would crush her dreams, Rapunzel takes her life into her own hands.

While many might see her naivete and innocence as weaknesses, Rapunzel plays them off as strengths. She is able to connect with the thugs at the Snuggly Duckling pub when she humanizes them and is non-judgmental about their dreams. Her curiosity, passion, and creativity are what make Rapunzel the light that everyone is attracted toward. 

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As a princess, Rapunzel does not allow the strict rules of high society and etiquette to break her free spirit. She is able to lead her people diplomatically while still taking the time to focus on herself and her needs. When her father, King Frederic (Clancy Brown), confines her to the palace for her safety, Rapunzel is able to show him her fierce determination and capability. She gains the trust of her family, her friends, and even her enemies through her quiet strength and tenacity.

Why She Matters

An animated image of a young woman with short brown hair, wearing a pink and purple dress. She stands outside with trees and bushes in the background. On her right shoulder sits her pet chameleon. In the top left corner, the title of the tv movie appears as Tangled: Before Ever After. In the bottom left corner, the Disney Channel logo appears.


To any young girl who feels trapped or caged in by societal and family expectations, Rapunzel is a breath of fresh air. She proves time and time again that though she is young, she is capable of incredible things. Even when facing villains that were partly her own making, Rapunzel never backs down and fights for those she loves (including those very villains). She is not afraid to use that frying pan if she has to. She acknowledges her imperfections but never allows them to weigh her down.

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Rapunzel doesn’t allow anyone to dim her light. She stays true to her beliefs and values, and she leaves a space for others to be their true selves around her. She realizes that her dreams are worth the struggle and she doesn’t let anything deter her from achieving those dreams. Rapunzel doesn’t let anyone tell her that she’s “too much” or that she needs to tone down her excitement and passion. She lives her life fully, with every part of her heart and soul.

So, be like Rapunzel. Don’t listen to the world telling you how you must act in order to fit in. Ask yourself “When will my life truly begin?” and then chase after what you want. Live your life out loud. Dream big, dream often, and don’t let the cynics get you down. Find the beauty in everyday things and look for new adventures. Love deeply and see the light that shines in the people around you. Recognize the light that shines within you as well.

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