Interview: Courtney Quinn on Color Me Courtney, LEGO, and More

As part of Disney’s 100th anniversary celebration, Disney has debuted the “LEGO Making Wonder” series. This new YouTube series combines the imagination of Disney storytelling with the creativity of LEGO building through LEGO brick challenges. Each week, an inspirational creator will be challenged to bring LEGO Disney experiences to life, showing the power of LEGO play in fostering creativity, intellectual curiosity, and problem solving. The latest episode features Courtney Quinn of “Color Me Courtney” who participates in a Minnie inspired design-challenge. We are honored to be able to exclusively debut her episode and have a few moments to chat with her about her experience making the video and her passion for Disney.

A life-long Disney fan Courtney grew up in Arizona and earned her MBA in San Francisco, after which she moved to NYC to pursue a career in fashion. She started Color Me Courtney as a resume booster & creative outlet during her journey. After years of working in the corporate world for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Jonathan Adler, Kate Spade and Coach, Courtney left her role developing handbags to pursue Color Me Courtney full time. You may have also seen her Princess and the Frog inspired fashions at the Disney Parks or the D23 Expo.

Laughing Place: Can you talk a little bit about what it was like to work with the folks from Disney Live Entertainment and the LEGO designers?

Courtney Quinn: It was totally a dream come true, because I think when you think of some of the biggest brands in the world, both LEGO and Disney are in that conversation. So, to be able to work with both of them together was just a little mind-blowing. And then, for me specifically, since I'm really into fashion, I've always said that Minnie Mouse is my style icon. It was really cool to get to work with the designer who actually makes Minnie Mouse's outfits. When they said that, and that they were going to make a dress for me out of LEGO, it was just all of my favorite things combined. So, it was very surreal, but in the most exciting way.

Laughing Place: Speaking of Minnie Mouse, she's known for rocking the dots, and they worked with LEGO DOTS. As a fashion expert, design expert, can you talk a little bit about LEGO DOTS and what they bring as a design tool?

Courtney Quinn: LEGO DOTS are so exciting, because there's a lot of fun fashion elements that you can play with. They are really cool because there are so many ways you can use them. You can cover your pencil cup, or use them on your desk, or turn them into a bracelet.  You can continue to play and grow and explore at every stage of your life, which is really fun.

Laughing Place: Your love of the storytelling of Disney's one of your hallmarks. So, do you have any favorite Minnie memories that you can share?

Courtney Quinn: Mine are always tied to her outfits. I love when I can see an outfit that she's wearing from a specific moment. For Disneyland Paris’s 30th anniversary, they gave her a polka dot pantsuit. It was just a fun evolution of her style. Her outfits are always so special. So, if I'm going to a new park, or, for instance, I went on the Disney Wish. I looked up what Captain Minnie wears, and coordinated an outfit, and then we shot a video where she taught me how to pose, and I usually do that every time I meet her. So, that's another moment that's very special for me.

Laughing Place: This is part of Disney's 100th anniversary celebration, celebrating a hundred years of wonder and Disney storytelling. How has Disney's creative legacy inspired you as a creative content creator?

Courtney Quinn: Disney has inspired me my whole life.  I was a dancer growing up. And so, we did this thing where, in high school, we would put on a dance and we would choreograph it. It was at this time where I felt the need, really, to fit in .But I had this secret. While my friends were watching scary movies or things like that, I watched Hercules every night when I went to bed.  So I remember feeling like I needed to choreograph to this Beyoncé song, because that was what a cool person would do to fit in. So, I actually had my first meeting with the girls and I choreographed part of it to Beyoncé. And then, for whatever reason, the second meeting I was just fed up with trying to do that anymore. And I was like, "Actually, scratch all that. We're going to do a dance to Hercules, whether you like it or not." So we did. We full-on did a whole inspired dance to “Zero to Hero.” I bribed with Taco Bell, some of the boys on the football team to dress up; one of them as Hercules, one of them as the “zero” version. And it was just probably the most ridiculous thing, but everyone loved it so much, and would reference it year after year. So, there were other girls who were choreographing to the very popular songs on the radio and the adult things we were supposed to be doing from 16 to 18. But everyone just loved that revisit of their childhood and the magic of Disney, which is I think good proof that it stays with you forever.

But even now, as an adult, just from a storytelling perspective, Encanto was one of the first movies I saw back in theaters from in the pandemic world, and I just remember coming home and being like, "I'm so inspired to create different things." I saw Mary Poppins Returns when I was in a really dark and sad place and had gone through a personal tragedy, and I had stopped creating for a few months, and that was the first thing that inspired me to get back to creating. I think everyone has a story like that. It's not unique to me, which is what's exciting.

I don't know how they do it, but they find a way to touch you right in the heart, and for me, it makes me inspired, to the fact where I'm watching a movie and I'm taking notes, because I'm like, "Ooh, I want to do a video like that," or, "This inspired me to do that." And so even now, if I'm in a creative rut or if I'm working on a project and it's kind of stifling, I'll just put something on in the background. Moana, Princess and the Frog, Hercules, A Goofy Movie, they  inspire me to create something.

You can check out the Making Wonder video series each week on YouTube.