'Come On, Guys, Give Her Some Meat!' Shakira Says She Urged Zootopia Filmmakers to Make Her Animated Character Less 'Skinny'
"She was a little too skinny for me," Shakira tells PEOPLE of the initial concept for her character in the animated film, out March 4
Though she recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of her hit song “Hips Don’t Lie,” its sentiments still ring true for Shakira. Lending her voice to Zootopia, the pop sensation told PEOPLE about how she identifies with her animated self.
“They decided to tell me about Gazelle and what she was like and her personality, the things that she stood for,” said about her introduction to the character. “And I just felt that I needed identification with it, and I said to them, ‘Listen, this is me. Gazelle is me . I’m in. You can hire me now if you want!'”
One slight alteration she requested? Gazelle’s shape. After filmmakers changed the character’s eyelashes and hair to more closely resemble Shakira, the singer asked for one more update.
“The one thing they took as a suggestion was that she was a little too skinny for me,” she said. “So I asked them to give her a little – to give her bigger hips. And I said to the director, ‘Come on, guys, give her some meat!’ And they did.”
This was particularly special for the mom of Milan, 3 and Sasha, 1.
“Doing something for Disney is just a whole different story, an experience that is completely unique and knowing that I’ll be able to share this with my kids later on in their lives,” she said. “Not only now, but also when they grow up, we’ll be able to spend the afternoon on the sofa watching Zootopia when they’re older. It’s a movie that will be there forever.”
And while Sasha didn’t get a chance to watch the movie (“He’s only 1 year old and they’re not supposed to watch television, according to the American Association of Pediatric Health,” she joked), Milan loved it.
“Yesterday I actually caught him singing the lyrics to the song and I never actually taught him to learn,” she said of her 3-year-old. “But I guess he picked up on it and he knows it by heart, and it was so cute to see him singing along. These are magical moments that are priceless to me.”
For more on Shakira’s Zootopia adventure – and the toy Sasha and Milan couldn’t keep their hands (or mouths!) off of – pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
Both of her boys love the song she sings in the movie, “Try Everything,” and one special memento Disney gifted her.
“[Disney] gave me a little Gazelle doll that also has music in it, and they want to have it so badly, both of them, [and so] they fight over it,” she said. “You can imagine a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old fighting over a little Gazelle doll. It’s pretty funny.”
And she is especially appreciative of her multi-faceted character, which not only looks, but acts like her, too.
“I love her,” she said of Gazelle. “I think that she is very passionate about her people, she feels a social responsibility, and she feels like she needs to represent her own people and lend her voice to those who can’t be heard … She’s a pop star, but the fact that she’s also so opinionated and so socially aware makes her acquire certain depths that I really enjoyed in the character.”
Zootopia arrives in theaters March 4.