One of the greatest assets of comic-conventions is getting the chance to meet iconic actors who have brought our favorite characters to life. If it weren’t for these idols, cosplayers wouldn’t have the luxury of recreating intricate costumes from legendary characters such as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Paige O’Hara, Beauty and the Beast‘s original Belle, is one such actress who has made her rounds to conventions this year. Ms. O’Hara appeared at MegaCon Orlando, Fan Expo Canada, as well as D23 alongside her fellow Disney princesses.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. O’Hara on her role as 1991’s Beauty and got the scoop on her take of the 2017 live-action remake starring Emma Watson, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad (to name of few off the star-studded cast). In this exclusive interview, Ms. O’Hara filled us in on how she got the role of Belle and what she’s doing with Disney today.
Beauty and the Beast‘s Original Belle: Paige O’Hara Exclusive Interview
Cosplay and Coffee (C&C): I’ve seen that yourself and some of the other cast from the original Beauty and the Beasthave gone to a lot of conventions. Do you have a ton of great interactions with your life-long fans?
Paige O’Hara (POH): Oh, it’s great. I love it! The reception has been so phenomenal when we go. And I love being able to talk to the fans and hear what their stories are and what the movie meant to them. That’s the most fun of doing the comic-cons is meeting people.
C&C:Is there anything about your personality traits the reflect Belle’s?
POH: You know what, in my career, this is the only role I’ve ever played that was so much like me that it was almost frightening (laughs). When they were directing me in the film they were saying, “I want more Paige to come through, I want more Paige to come through!” And you know normally, as an actress and as a Broadway actress, you hide behind the characters. But there’s something very vulnerable that—when you have to let yourself come through—who you really are, it was also something that was—very challenging—but also very rewarding. So pretty much every character trait about Belle is like me. To be honest.
C&C:Did you know a lot about her character before you went in?
POH: I sort of knew a little bit before I went in the first couple of auditons. And then when I got to read it, you know, then I was like, “Wow. This is strange. This character is me.” It was an incredible experience.
C&C:How did you react when you found out you got the role?
POH: Oh, it was crazy! I found out sort of by the wrong means because I came home from the morning of the final audition (I did seven of them) and on my voicemail, on my machine (we had the little machines back then), was David Freedman-the conductor- saying, “Paige! We have to get together and set keys for Beauty and the Beast.” And I went, Oh my gosh. That means I got it! Yeha, I was pretty excited. My husband and I, Michael had proposed to me the day before and I got the job the next day and it was my birthday that week… it was quite a week!
C&C: Wow! It’s hard to top that!
POH: (laughs) Yeah.
C&C:So were you a die-hard Disney fan like so many people are now?
POH: Oh, yes! My entire life. You know, Mary Poppins is my favorite film. I grew up, you know, I watched all of them. And even when I went to New York, pretty much every Saturday I had to go to the Disney movies. Especially when I was struggling in New York, it was sort of my uplifting time to go and do that. And also, I’ve been an animation freak forever. So it’s something that’s been with me forever so this is really a dream come true.
C&C:Is Mary Poppins somebody that you would have liked to play?
POH: Oh yes! You know, like, little girls pretend to be Belle, when I was little I pretended to be Mary Poppins. And then I was so fortunate to be able to meet Julie Andrews. And actually, I was so shy when I met her. We got to talking and we ended up hanging out together at Disney World for a day. It was really amazing.
C&C:My sister is a die-hard Julie Andrews fan. She would be so jealous.
POH: Aw! Well she’s as wonderful, and funny, and classy as you’d think she is.
C&C:In regards to the movie that came out this year (Beauty and the Beast 2017 for future readers), is there anything you would have liked to change at all?
POH: Well, you know, it was all their choices. I wouldn’t have gone quite as dark with the way Gaston is killed. I would have rather seen them do a struggling fight rather than the gun (I’m very much against the guns). But I loved the film for the most part, and I loved Emma. I thought that making her the inventor was brilliant. I loved that idea. And I thought the acting on everyone’s part was really sensational. Dan Stevens is an amazing actor. I was already a fan of his before I saw the film.
Yeah that was the only part I wasn’t thrilled about was the gun shooting. I think they had to make it PG mainly for that scene and the wolf scene. I don’t think you want little tiny kids seeing it– I think the wolf scene would give them nightmares. But it’s a great film. It won the MTV Award for the Best Film and Emma won Best Actress and actually thanked me on her speech, which I was like, floored by.
And Emma’s known to be a bit of a feminist and revolutionary in her own way, and I love that about her.
C&C:You didn’t make a cameo in the movie, did you?
POH: No, I didn’t. I wish I had, I wish I’d played the mom. In retrospect, when I saw it, I was like, “Oh looks like she’s kinda like me.” (laughs). But it’s okay! It was still great to be a part of it and go to the premiere and meet Emma and the cast. It was sensational.
C&C: Speaking of Emma Watson, she’s recently been known to bring sustainable clothing to the red carpet. Do you think that kind of consideration she takes into everyday life is something that is characteristic of Belle?
POH: Oh yes, definitely. Belle was way ahead of her time in terms of, you know, having her own identity. And Emma’s known to be a bit of a feminist and revolutionary in her own way, and I love that about her. I love that she’s a strong young woman. That’s where she’s extremely similar to Belle as well.
C&C: What did you think about her input into the costumes and how the costumes were made?
POH: You know, I thought they were fine. I thought they were wonderful. It’s not my choice (I prefer the costumes that were drawn from some of the animators). But I thought they worked for her and I thought she was amazing. The little boots and stuff, it made kinda sense that she would run around town in boots rather than little ballet flat slippers. So it was actually very intelligent on her part. And I loved her ballgown, by the way. I thought it was absolutely exquisite.
C&C: Considering you go to conventions where cosplayers recreate costumes that are so iconic to them, do you have a favorite dress or costume from the film?
POH: I love the yellow ballgown. I think it’s stunning. And as an artist, I love painting it as well. Because it is so intricate and so incredibly lovely. And I was really anxious to see the one Emma was going to wear and I love the one the designed for her, too. So I think that’s my favorite costume.
C&C: I actually came across some of your paintings. Do you sell those?
POH: I’m signed with Disney Fine Art as an artist. They go through Disney and we open(ed) a new gallery in Las Vegas called Magical Memories and it’s all Disney Fine Art. It open(ed) on June 8th at the Caesar’s Forum Shops. So it’s sold through the galleries, it’s sold through the internet, but also it’s through Disney Fine Art because I’m signed with them as an artist.
Paige O’Hara working as one of Disney’s Fine Artists
You can see more of Paige O’Hara’s artwork here. The live-action Beauty and the Beast is now streaming live on Netflix as of September 19th, 2017!
At this point in the year, pretty much the highlight of discussion is the new Beauty and Beast live-action remake starring Emma Watson. We are eagerly awaiting the flood of new Belle and Gaston cosplays (and we see you, cosplay Instagrammers) to show their unique variations our favorite characters from the tale as old as time.
One cosplayer in particular, Megan Flockhart is well-known for being an Emma Watson look-a-like. She’s already ahead of the game, with her unique version of the live-action “peasant Belle” cosplay! We were thrilled and honored to talk to Megan about her viral recognition as a cosplayer (she’s even been noticed by Josh Gad and J.K. Rowling!), especially noting her Hermione and Belle.
Cosplay & Coffee wanted to get to know the real Megan. We talked to her about cosplaying, inspirations, daily life, and she even told us what she thinks of the new Beauty and the Beast!
Cosplay&Coffee: You have been widely recognized as being an Emma Watson look-a-like. How do you feel about that?
Megan Flockhart: It’s an amazing compliment, it always will be, but sometimes I feel like people now expect me to act and forever resemble her and that’s just not realistic! I’m Megan Flockhart — not Emma Watson. So I act different and I’m not always going to remind people of her. I’ve tried to tap into other cosplays that have no correlation to Emma and I get comments like “no, this isn’t you.” It’s totally ridiculous! But I mean, it’s a very minor problem I can ignore. All in all, it’s been incredible to be compared to my favourite celebrity!
Cosplay&Coffee: It’s no doubt that you have a lot in common with Watson. Has she always been an inspiration for you?
MF: She has, since I was a child. In ways, she’s really helped shape who I am today because we do seem to (I don’t know her personally so I can’t say for sure, but judging by interviews, etc.) have so much in common.
When I was younger, she inspired me to always take my education seriously and to always be my unapologetic self. Then as I got older, she’s educated me on topics like feminism, sustainable fashion, and so many other issues. I feel like I wouldn’t be as clued up on if it wasn’t for her. I really owe her a massive thank you.
Cosplay&Coffee: Who else would you call your inspiration?
MF: I really look up to and am forever inspired/educated by Michelle Obama, Rowan Blanchard, Lupita Nyong’o, Carey Mulligan, Lily Collins, Amandla Stenberg, Douglas Booth, and Nev Schulman.
Cosplay&Coffee: In our original article about you (which also appeared on Movie Pilot), we talked about your fight for women. What is your advice to feminists or others who want to make a difference in the world for women? (Also, thoughts on Watson’s HeForShe?)
MF: I think I’d say keep doing what’s right. I talk to a lot of women nowadays that say they are scared of feminism because of how its perceived. It comes with this negative connotation that you’re anti-men when it’s really not the case. Gender is a spectrum; feminism is just about giving every single being equal rights and opportunities no matter what gender or race or sexuality. I absolutely love #HeForShe and how it’s encouraging men to raise their voice as well. I think it’s vital in the progress for gender equality.
Cosplay&Coffee: You’re a fashion blogger. How did you get started doing that?
MF: I actually had a lookbook.nu account and (at the time; it died a fast death for me a few years after) and it really took off! I felt like I wanted to do more than just post photos of my outfits. I wanted an online portfolio where I was free to be more creative and illustrate who I am.
“She inspired me to always take my education seriously…Then as I got older, she’s educated me on topics like feminism…”
Cosplay&Coffee: Besides cosplaying as Hermione, what other cosplays do you enjoy?
MF: Belle! Ironic enough that Emma is playing her because she was my first favourite princess. I watched Beauty and the Beast so much as a child that my parents still know all the words to the cartoon. But I’m also planning an Ariel cosplay that I’m really really excited about!
Cosplay&Coffee: Do you make your own cosplays?
MF: I don’t make them, but I do buy everything in individually. I had @youngjaneandlittlemeg_in_dland make my Belle dress and it’s absolutely breathtaking!
Cosplay&Coffee: How did you celebrate the Harry Potter movie premieres and the book releases?
MF: Usually by excessively fan-girling to my boyfriend or parents (people who expect me to fan girl) then I’ll re-read one of the books and watch a film!
Cosplay&Coffee: What is a day in the life of Megan Flockhart like?
MF: I’m from Scotland and I’m a student studying International Marketing. Honestly? I have the inner spirit of an 80 year-old, so I genuinely love cosy nights in! Sometimes with a prosecco, sometimes with tea. If it’s a weekend there’s normally prosecco involved though, haha. Other weekends, I’ll go out with friends or my boyfriend who I visit regularly in Manchester.
Cosplay&Coffee: Have you traveled much?
MF: I have! I’m an expat child so over my life I’ve lived in: Scotland, Canada, Abu Dhabi, Australia, and America.
Traveling wise I’ve been all over! My parents loved to travel, so I’ve been many places that I’m forever thankful for. But I’m really keen on visiting Thialand or New Zealand or Rome (I also love historical vacations.I’m a huge history buff)!
Cosplay&Coffee: What movie could you watch over and over again on repeat?
MF: Elf (no matter what season), Titanic (Leo was my first crush ever), Harry Potter (any one), Perks of Being a Wallflower, Love Rosie, Secret Life of Walter Mitty, any Disney film, The Other Guys, Step Brothers….and so many more I’ve forgotten and probably will forget at night!
Cosplay&Coffee: How do you get your morning started? Are you a big coffee drinker?
MF: No, I’m a total tea Jenny! I start my day off with tea, but I’m not a great morning person.
Cosplay&Coffee: Are you excited for the Beauty and the Beast movie? Which scene are you most looking forward to seeing in the remake?
MF: Yes I am! So incredibly excited. Every time I see a clip it’s like I’m a child again! Honestly, I’m not excited for one specific scene, I’m excited to see all of it! I’m so inspired by Emma Watson’s take on Belle,.I applaud her so much because I feel like it does Belle so much justice and it’s so important for young children to see such an independent, unique, open-minded, and strong Disney princess!
Cosplay&Coffee: What Beauty and the Beast cosplays are you doing?
MF: Just Belle, at the moment!
Cosplay&Coffee: Any advice for those who want to make a Beauty and the Beast cosplay?
MF:Do it! Embrace it! Make it your own and I’ll love it 🙂
Last weekend, Universal Orlando outdid themselves yet again by bringing pure magic to their fourth annual Celebration of Harry Potter. Between the expo with real movie props, a chance to look behind the scenes in exhibits such as the WB Studio Tour, and seeing the Harry Potter cast members in real life, what more could you expect to come out of this revolutionary event?
One of the best parts about A Celebration of Harry Potter is the opportunity to see the plethora of talented cosplayers from all around the world. There were so many outstanding cosplays at the event that it would be impossible to show you them all. Instead, here are a few of our favorite cosplays from the annual Harry Potter event:
Diego a.k.a @Dialpi is the cosplayer to look out for at A Celebration of Harry Potter. Last year, I was blown away by his menacing likeness of Lucious Malfoy. This year he came back with a cosplay from the other side of the fence. This Dumbledore cosplay was certainly a highlight of the Harry Potter expo, having even caught the attention of representatives from Pottermore! Give him a follow on Instagram to see more of his hilarious and accurate Harry Potter cosplays!
@theprincessnightmare did a fantastic job constructing this Slytherin princess ensemble. It’s just the perfect balance between the typical princess ballgown and a dark, slightly ominous dress that a Slytherin might wear. Her Bellatrix Lestrange cosplay is also spot on!
Some cosplayers even took to bringing the newest addition to the Harry Potter universe to the celebration. These Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them cosplayers not only look startlingly similar to the characters, but they used the Universal scenery to help bring their photos to life.
The Hogwarts Express
Photo courtesy Universal Orlando Blog
Could this be any more precious? This little guy was envied by everyone at the event as he made his way through Hogsmead and Diagon Alley in his own personal Hogwarts Express. His parents reconstructed his wheelchair into the mini train, complete with billowing smoke coming from the top. This very well might have been the best cosplay of the weekend.
This was the first time I had seen someone cosplay as second year Hermione after her unfortunate mix-up with the Polyjuice Potion (who remembers who she was trying to turn into?). This cosplay was incredibly unique and definitely brought a laugh to anyone who recognized her.
Young Harry & Ron
This cosplay trio brings back a lot of nostalgia for Harry Potter fans who have been there since the first films came out. This young Harry and Ron look incredibly similar to preteen Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint. And obviously the loving Molly Weasley is by their side in her wizard mom drab.
Ilvermorny Quidditch Team
If you’ve ever wondered what the USA Quidditch team might look like, look no further! This group — known as Cosserole — put together the American Nationals team (we can only assume that they attended Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry). The cosplays are, of course, homemade. From left to right, meet the American National coach, Chaser, Seeker, and Keeper!
In reality, every single cosplay at the annual Celebration of Harry Potter was incredibly well-crafted and helped bring this extraordinary event to life. From Hagrids to Rita Skeeters, nearly every Harry Potter character could be found last weekend with Universal’s walls. To see more, follow @cosplay_and_coffee on Instagram or search #hpcelebration2017 !
In a casual stroll through Instagram galore, it would be natural to stumble upon a photo like this and think, “Hey, it’s Emma Watson’s Instagram.”
When in fact, this isn’t Emma Watson at all. Megan Flockhart is a style blogger and new cosplayer who just happens to look exactly like Watson!
Followers on Megan’s Instagram routinely remind her of her likeness to Watson. It’s unbelievable how much her facial features look like the famous Harry Potter actress, from the smirk to the smoky, dark eyes.
Coincidentally, Emma Watson and her twin have a lot in common:
They Are Both Feminists On The Path To Activate Female Rights.
“Other women are not my competition, I stand with them not against them”
Emma Watson And Megan Both Enjoy A Good Read.
Their Sense Of Style Is On Point.
Elegant and classy.
And They Both Fit Hermione Granger’s Character Perfectly.
Megan Flockhart’s Hermione Granger Cosplay
“I could literally write novel about how much I not only relate to but also admire Hermione, [sic] since I was 10 she has inspired me to take education seriously, love who I am regardless of the judgement of others and to stand up for what I believe, so it only feels right that my first “proper” cosplay is my Favorite character of all time! ” -Megan Flockhart , ‘Scottish Tea’
On her blog, Scottish Tea, Megan posts about her unique fashion style, which is typically derived from females that inspire her. She’s fashioned herself in the style of Professor McGonagall, Alice in Wonderland, Marie from The Aristocats, Eleven from Stranger Things, and Chanel from Scream Queens.
The Scottish doppelgänger has been featured in style magazines such as Billabong, Hades Magazine, Free People, Hound Magazine, and Vogue Italia. She was even invited to Company Magazine’s #stylebloggerawards in association with Missguide for “Best Personal Style Blog.”
And how perfect is this picture of Megan with a Chip cup from Beauty and the Beast???
You can get confused by Megan’s uncanny resemblance to Emma Watson by following her on Instagram here.
Do you think Megan looks like Emma Watson? Tell us in the comments below!