Rachel Renee Watkins was born and raised in Virginia Beach, VA. Virginia Beach is quite the tourist destination. However, the actual oceanfront was always a good thirty-minute drive away from where Rachel lived so to her it never felt like a true beach town.
Rachel went to college at the University of Miami in Florida. Which she says completely spoiled her against any slight shiver of cold. Fittingly, she now lives in Los Angeles, CA. Rachel has lived in LA for three years now.
Rachel's dream job is to one day become the Head of Music & Soundtracks at a studio. She especially loves original soundtracks for movies and television (works like The Prince of Egypt, Sing Street, Smash, etc.), and she hopes to learn and contribute to that creative process. Rachel recently started working at Netflix in their Animated Series Music Department, which has been a dream thus far!
Before that, Rachel worked at ViacomCBS, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and her first year in LA she worked as a server in a sushi restaurant called What The Fish. She was on her feet for ten-hour shifts, and all she ate that year was poké.
Roller skating is big hobby of Rachel's. She and her family used to go to the skating rink every Saturday night. Since COVID hit, that's a pastime Rachel sorely misses.
In addition to skating, Rachel loves to go thrifting. She recently started sewing machine lessons, primarily to craft her Halloween costume this year (Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame!). And daily, she tries to take time to listen to all types of music. Rachel experiences such joy when she comes across an unexpected BOP! So she is always seeking out the new ones.
Rachel had the VHS tape of The Swan Princess growing up and she watched it ALL THE TIME. Both with her family, and by herself. Rachel also had two of The Swan Princess sequels on VHS: Escape from Castle Mountain & The Mystery of the Enchanted Treasure.
When asked which Swan Princess character Rachel most related to she said she liked Queen Uberta. "She is just NUTS, I love it. Oh WAIT! ROGERS! THE SASS! THE WAY HE MESSES WITH PEOPLE! Ugh, goals." We agree Rachel!
The Prince of Egypt and The Hunchback of Notre Dame have been some of Rachel's other favorite animated movies. She loves how both of those films musically establish not just setting, but also character motivation and establish how the story will unfold. Additionally, Rachel grew up on several old school movie musicals, so she can speak extensively on Barbra Streisand, Gene Kelly, Rogers & Hammerstein, and the list goes on. Rachel's favorite movie musical of all time is Funny Girl.
In college, Rachel spontaneously auditioned for a Hindi-English fusion a cappella team called UMiami Tufaan. Being a member of that a cappella group introduced Rachel to Indian culture. And more specifically, Bollywood films and soundtracks. Since then, Rachel has seen about thirty Bollywood films, and found several BOPS that she now regularly listens to and enjoys.
Rachel's proudest accomplishment was taking a leap of faith and permanently moving to Los Angeles. She had no job, no housing, and dwindling funds when she decided to stay in LA. And all of her family was on the East Coast. It was terrifying at times, especially at twenty-four years old, but Rachel did it!
Rachel's favorite story is the makings of her Swan Princess video. A couple years ago, Rachel's roommate (at the time) happened to see a pink stretch limo covered with Swan Princess illustrations. In it, was Mr. Seldon Young, whom she got to meet and later connect with. Eventually, this friend was invited to The Swan Princess 25th Anniversary Celebration in October 2019. Rachel was DETERMINED to also score an invite. So, Rachel went online, and saw that there was a Swan Princess video contest, and the winner would get flown out to the anniversary event. Rachel recorded herself answering Swan Princess trivia, spent every spare minute that following week editing the video down, and submitted it! While Rachel didn’t win the grand prize, she was still invited to the 25th Anniversary Celebration and Rachel and her former roommate had an unforgettable time.
One of Rachel's idols is Cynthia Erivo. Rachel saw her perform in The Color Purple on Broadway, and was an emotional wreck for two hours afterwards.
Audrey Hepburn has also been a lifelong love of Rachel's. Even as early as seven years old, Rachel remember really admiring how elegant and charming Audrey was. Twenty years later, that sentiment remains unchanged. Rachel has seen so many of her films (not all, she is working on that!), and several documentaries.