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Former Disney Employee Creates Her Own Take on Take-out, er, Comedy
The Walt Disney Company made headlines recently over yet another massive layoff within their Interactive and Mobile Gaming divisions, this time eliminating 700 jobs. Though losing corporate jobs can send many reeling, one former Disney Interactive employee, Zoe Black, saw it as an opportunity. Ms. Black, a Burbank resident, reinvented herself as Lady Geisha, an over-the-top comedic rapper, after being one of 150 handed walking papers at the end of 2012.
Black’s “Gaga-gone-Gangnam” character originated as a caricature she had drawn. Once her senior writer position was eliminated at “the happiest place on earth” after nearly eight years, she decided it was time to bring the wacky rapper to life and leave her cubicle forever.
“Lady Geisha’s a ‘geishanista-gone-bad.’ I modeled her as a cross between Weird Al-on-estrogen and MAD magazine meets VOGUE. She’s twisted, with a penchant for the preposterous — a very UN-Disney trait. I knew I could write funny songs just as easily as crafting a theme park article or red carpet interview, so I went for it.”
She recorded her first song, hired a production crew, and became Executive Producer of her debut music video, GEISHA-MANIA!, which introduced Lady Geisha’s silly, sexy sideshow. The video, directed by Luciano Fontana, features cross-dressing geishas, kimono-clad Chihuahuas, hilarious hot tub scenes, and her signature scream-laugh. In the past, Fontana directed videos for Pitbull, Nicki Minaj, Akon, and Snoop Dogg, to name a few.
In an effort to build her “Lady Geisha” brand, Black has since created, designed, written, and launched two websites, one blog, an online storefront, and numerous pages across every popular social media platform imaginable. Her followers, views, and subscribers are growing on a daily basis, which harkens back to her days at Disney Interactive when she quadrupled her team’s Twitter following within a few months.
Black even compares her ‘gal pals’ performance in the video to Disney’s animated masterpiece, “Mulan.” “My geisha guys practically stole the show in the same way Ling, Yao, and Chien Po did when they disguised themselves as women in ‘Mulan.’ Audiences went crazy for that scene – it’s a classic. They’re both accomplished actors and I’m looking forward to working with them again.”
Black is currently recording new songs and re-releasing GEISHA-MANIA as a sing-along this spring, along with a limited edition t-shirt to benefit local Los Angeles-based charities. “Disney provided good training. I never realized how much easier it was to write about someone else’s creation. On the other hand, I couldn’t be prouder of what I’ve accomplished to date. My heart goes out to those who lost their jobs, but I hope they realize there’s life beyond the House of Mouse. Now it’s time to pursue their dreams.”