Interview: Mekia Cox Talks Princess Tiana and Once Upon A Time – Exclusive
Pop City Life had the opportunity to chat with actress Mekia Cox about joining the hit ABC series Once Upon A Time. We spoke with Mekia about being a triple threat in the business, taking on an already iconic Disney character in Princess Tiana, and what her fans and viewers can expect from her next.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Mekia Cox below:
To start off, can you talk a little about your character on ABC’s Once Upon A Time and what originally attracted you to the role?
Mekia Cox: So I play Princess Tiana, whose real-world counterpart is Sabine. She forms a close bond and friendship with Jacinda/Cinderella, with whom she’s roommates in the real world. Tiana is the leader of the rebellion in Fairy Tale Land. She’s a strong, loving, caring soul who wants the best for her people and is willing to fight for it.
What motivated you to initially pursue acting? Is there anyone who influenced or inspired you? Is there anyone you would love to work with someday?
I’ve actually been performing all my life. I started dancing at 2-and-a-half, and then moved into singing and eventually acting. I went to a performing arts high school and then to Florida State, where I got my Bachelor of Music in Musical Theater, so entertainment has always been a large part of my life. My favorite musical growing up was Ragtime and I always wanted to play Sara, whose role was originated by Audra McDonald. She has been a major influence in my life, along with other actresses like Phylicia Rashad, Debbie Allen, and Meryl Streep. If I could work with any of those actresses one day, I’d be very happy.
Where do you draw your inspiration for your character? We are big fans of Princess Tiana and the Disney animated movie The Princess and the Frog. Were you a fan of the original?
I was. Actually, I should say Anika Noni Rose has also been another influence in my life. I saw her in Caroline, or Change in New York a while back and have loved her ever since, so I was ecstatic when I heard she got that role. Needless to say, I really enjoyed the movie.
The Princess and the Frog features a great soundtrack to go along with the story, and we love to sing along. As a triple threat yourself, both on Broadway and off, is music something you would like to continue to pursue in the future?
Oh, definitely. I really, truly miss the stage. I actually started my own production company (42 Seven Productions) because of it. We put on shows at select W Hotels across the country. However, the company’s origin stemmed from my desire to sing again. It’s something that has always been a part of me and something I wish I could do more of.
When comparing acting on television and musical theater, are there qualities of both that you prefer?
They really are two different skill sets, but I do love them both. There’s nothing like being on stage. There’s a comfort there that, I think for me, just comes from the fact that that’s where I began. I’ve been performing onstage since I was a child, so my heart will always be there. However, there’s also nothing like acting on a TV show. To be able to learn your character and stretch and grow with your character over a long period of time, sometimes years, is really gratifying for an actor.
How has the experience been working with the cast of Once Upon A Time? Are there any fun memories that stick out for you from filming?
This cast has been awesome. I really, truly do love everyone in it. It’s just a good bunch and I’m genuinely happy to come in and work with them every day. And the “veterans” from the last few seasons have welcomed all of us newbies with open arms. It’s been really nice.
How has the fan support been for you so far? Do you enjoy interacting with fans on social media?
I do! I also always enjoy a good live tweet with the fans! The fans on this show are awesome! The love and support I’ve felt from them is amazing and truly appreciated.
Once Upon A Time is known for twists and turns that keep the viewers guessing. What can you tease about what the fans can expect from the upcoming episodes? What’s ahead for your character?
Hmmm, I think what I can tell you is that you will be seeing a familiar love interest of Tiana’s at some point in time in the future.
What are you most excited for the viewers to see?
I’m excited for them to see Tiana’s journey and to understand more about how she got to where she is now and how we begin to see her revealed in the real world as Sabine. It’s also fun to watch Sabine as she starts to really pursue her goals and follow her dream of one day owning a restaurant.
What else are you working on? What can your fans look forward to from you next?
Well, as I said before, I do have my production company: 42 Seven Productions. We put on shows at the W Hotels in NYC, LA, Chicago, and occasionally in London. If you want more information on our shows, you can check out 42sevenproductions.com.
Thank you so much to Mekia Cox for taking the time to chat with us! We really appreciate it.