Exclusive: 11 Questions with OUAT’s Mekia Cox

Exclusive: 11 Questions with OUAT’s Mekia Cox

Mekia Cox is the latest addition to the Once Upon A Time family, making her debut this season playing Sabine/Princess Tiana. As fate would have it, this role is not Mekia’s first experience with Disney – it was actually where her career got its start when she was still in elementary school. In the years between her Disney experiences, Mekia’s been busy with dancing (she was a lead dancer for Michael Jackson’s This Is It tour), getting her college degree from Florida State University, and acting in recurring or regular roles on a number of television series including the Undercovers, Secrets and Lies, and Chicago Med.

We caught up with Mekia by email and learned more about her connection with Disney, her cooking skills (or lack of them!), and her experiences working on OUAT. Sure, 10 questions is more traditional, but we couldn’t help squeezing just 1 more in!

TFTS: What was your favorite Disney movie as a child? 
Mekia Cox: I had two. The Little Mermaid because I grew up in the [US Virgin] Islands around water and thought I was a mermaid, and The Lion King because who doesn’t love Simba? If more people sang Hakuna Matata the world might be a better place.

We were both born before the modern day princess craze, but would your younger self be ecstatic or chagrined to see you playing a princess now? 
My younger self would be bouncing off the walls. Though I was born in the Islands, I eventually left and moved to Orlando, Florida, where I had my first professional job dancing for Disney’s Magic Kingdom at age 7. Seeing as I was constantly surrounded by Disney, all I wanted to do was be able to play a Disney character. However, me being an African American girl growing up in the 90’s, there was no character for me to play. So once the first African American princess arrived in 2009 with “The Princess and the Frog”, I was ecstatic! So clearly I was over the moon when I found out what character I would be playing in Once Upon A Time.

What has been your favorite part of joining the OUAT cast?
The fans have been pretty awesome. The artwork, gifts and outpouring of love have been really wonderful and truly appreciated.

Sabine is a great baker/cook – what about you?
Next question please, haha!

Do you see anything of yourself in Sabine/Tiana?
I actually see a lot of myself in this character, probably more so than any other character I’ve played. She’s determined, she’s optimistic, she’s loving, and she’s kind.

It’s hard to watch Victoria treat Sabine and Jacinda so badly all the time! Did you find yourself reading each new script hoping Vicky would finally get her comeuppance?
Reading as the character, yes, but reading as myself, no. Haha! Gabrielle Anwar is SO much fun and has such a great energy to be around on set, so the Tiana/Sabine character in me wants her gone but the Mekia in me wants her to stick around and have more scenes with me because she makes me laugh.

Can you tease anything about what is to come for Sabine?
There might be a certain familiar love interest coming her way eventually. I think that’s all I can say!

What’s your dream role?
I’d love to do something that’s completely unlike me, something that’s almost polar opposite so I can stretch myself. As an actor, you always like being challenged and to do something that’s completely out of the ordinary for me would be a lot of fun and fairly rewarding if I could pull it off.

 If you could work with one person in Hollywood, who would it be?
That’s always a hard one for me because I love so many actors. You know what, I’ve worked with this person already but I’d love to work with him again. JJ Abrams. He has such an amazing mind and yet is so incredibly down to earth and just a good person. The work that he puts out is always so superb. It’d be nice to get to work with him again, but maybe on a movie this time!

Do you have any causes or charities that you are particularly passionate about? 
I’ve been working with a charity in LA called the Maple Counseling Center, whose focus is providing low-cost mental health care to those who need it. Mental illness is something that I feel is extremely important for us to be talking about in this day and age. As scientists study the brain, we are constantly learning more and more about people who are affected, and we’re realizing that it’s more prevalent than we all originally thought. It’s something that I feel strongly about and it needs our attention.

Outside of acting, what do you do for fun? Do you have any unusual or interesting hobbies? 
I like to paint (even though I haven’t had time to do it in a while). I also like photography, which I get from my father who was a professional photographer. I also enjoy just hanging out with friends. Give me a game night with some of my closest friends and I am beyond happy.

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We’d love to have a game night with Mekia! We look forward to following Sabine/Tiana’s journey on OUAT as well as Mekia’s career overall!

© Benjo Arwas Photography

About Cay

Cay's family thinks that her obsession with TV and pop culture is "not normal". Yeah, well, "normal" is boring! Follow her on Twitter @Cailie

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