Arista has a red tail with a matching seashell bra, ice blue eyes and long, pale blonde hair tied in a sloppy ponytail, although the original doll had a blue tail and curly hair and was the only one of the sisters released in the original toy line. In extension media released from 1989 onwards, she is the fifth daughter of King Triton. She is given a distinct personality in the television series, where she is shown as having a conflict of ideals with the adventurous Ariel. In the prequel film, she is instead shown to often argue with Aquata. In the books, she loves to ride seahorses and has a wild ride similar to Ariel's ride with Stormy. In the prequel movie, she is portrayed as a ditzy kleptomaniac who has a talent for playing the saxophone.
Arista appears during the "Daughters of Triton" sequence, singing with her sisters. Afterwards, she only appears in cameos alongside her other sisters. After Ursula dies from being impaled by the bowsprit, she watches with her father and other sisters as Ariel marries Prince Eric.
Arista's most important appearance is in the episode "Beached". This episode shows that she and Ariel are prone to fighting, such that Triton "beaches" (or grounds) them both from attending a carnival with the rest of the family. When two gators named Ebb and Flo attempt to steal the royal treasure, Arista and Ariel have to work together; despite their constant arguing, to protect the castle. Arista confesses that she always secretly envied Ariel's adventurous lifestyle.
In the episode "Trident True", when Arista tries to put on her lipstick, she gets upset by having too much of it. She is the only one who appears in the episode "Against the Tide", where she states that Ariel has brought bad luck to Atlantica by rescuing a "Bad Luck Creature".
In the prequel film, Arista is introduced as one of the seven daughters of King Triton and Queen Athena. After her mother dies in an accident, She, like her sisters, is raised very strictly by their governess, Marina Del Rey. She is shown to have a difficult relationship with Aquata. They are prone to arguing, and Arista is known for borrowing Aquata's things without asking. She is the first of her sisters to ask Ariel if she can come along to the Catfish Club. She quickly discovers a passion for playing music, and towards the end of the film, she joins the band.
In the Broadway musical, she is portrayed by Cathryn Basile with bright red hair with a big flower decorated on it, a teal tail, and a red seashell bra.
- Her name is from Arista Records, which Alan Menken had a label with.
- Her hair was a much darker blond in the first film.