The wait is almost over! The Little Mermaid finally arrives in theaters nationwide tomorrow (May 26). Ahead of the film’s release, Halle Bailey, who stars as the magical leading lady, took a trip down memory lane and shared what it took to get to this point.

In an exclusive interview published yesterday (May 24) with USA TODAY, the 23-year-old insists no special effects were used when it came to her abs. “Well, the six-pack is gone now, but it was there when I was filming,” Bailey jokingly told the outlet. The young talent went on to describe the intense, yet rewarding experience of playing King Triton’s youngest daughter, Princess Ariel, in the upcoming Disney live-action remake.

“Looking back, I’m really proud of myself, but it was like it was blood, sweat, and tears,” she confessed. “I’ve been pushing myself to the limits, past what I thought I could ever do in my life,” Bailey admitted. The “Do It” vocalist revealed that filming the movie required her to be in tip-top shape. In addition to swimming lessons, she’d also have a strict 5 a.m. gym start time and after workouts, she’d head over to stunt training where she would spend hours harnessed in the air. “I’m trying to hold myself up with my core while singing and while acting and trying to look like I’m not shaking because it’s like a workout I’m doing, like a plank. So it was all of the things, trying to weave them together and look like, ‘This is natural, this is a normal day. I swim in the ocean every day,’” Bailey confessed.

The Little Mermaid director Rob Marshall was appreciative of her efforts, noting, “You have to have a great core strength for that kind of thing.” Bailey also discussed how tough it was to spend time away from her big sister Chlöe Bailey while filming. The two starred in the sitcom “Grown-ish” together but also form the R&B duo Chlöe x Halle. “We did our own celebration over FaceTime, of course, but her and my baby brother Branson gave me the most beautiful gift, who is now my angel baby, my child, my cat Poseidon,” she fondly recollected of her 21st birthday on set.