Some of you may remember Angela from our photo shoot taken last year in Toronto of our Outlander Knitted Goods Collection. From the top of the Old Man of Storr in Skye to downtown Toronto, follow us along as Angela shares the story of her journey and how being introduced to Outlander influenced her to join My Peak Challenge!
Where are you from, Angela?
I was born & raised in downtown Toronto, ON - Go Jays!
As an Actress and Dancer in Training, what has been your favorite performance to date?
This is hard to answer, because each production I've been a part of has given me dear, unforgettable memories. But if I had to pick one, I'd say it'd be Tales of Hoffmann, presented by the Canadian Opera Company in 2012. It's an Opera about love gained & love lost, and features the intoxicately beautiful Barcarolle duet, "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour". It was also in this production that I found my husband & love of my life, Stephen Bell - aka the dashing gent in the newly released AbbyShot Dr. Who Jacket!
What is your favorite costume?
Having been in multiple productions over the years and attended multiple Fan Expos, I've had the opportunity to wear some pretty fantastical costumes! I've been an 1800s courtesan, an Elizabethan lady-in-waiting, a nun, a Cuban dancer, Claire Fraser of Outlander, and many other ridiculously fun things.
But my favorite costume to date is still one of the first I ever wore - the Anne of Green Gables ensemble my mother lovingly put together for me when I was 9 years old. Growing up it was just the two of us, and we didn't have much but she worked night & day to put that piece together. She scrounged thrift stores to find the right carpet bag, plaid frock & dress. At the time, I was wild about the series and she wanted to make it perfect for me. It's always taught me that when it comes to theatre & cosplay, it isn't about the perfection of the costume - it's the love, care and imagination you bring to it that makes it authentic.
What would you describe as the biggest nugget that you carry with you from being a part of My Peak Challenge (MPC)?
Backstory for those who aren't familiar with MPC - My Peak Challenge (MPC) is a charity initiative & global movement launched by Outlander star & philanthropist Sam Heughan. It offers its members a fully-integrated training, nutrition & support program to help them achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. Challenges are entirely individual and can be fitness-related, emotional, health-related, or anything that helps members achieve healthier, happier more balanced lives.
When I joined MPC back in 2016, I was turning 30 years old and felt at odds with life. I was eager to prove to myself that life still held surprises, and that I could still grow, change and surprise myself. So I set the ambitious goal of hiking 50km across the Scottish Highlands, and reach the top of the Old Man of Storr in Skye. As a novice hiker, this goal was extremely daunting.
But much to my surprise, I did it. Muddy, wet & sweaty in parts I didn't know could be, I conquered the Old Man. More importantly, I proved to myself that inside me was an inner warrior capable of achieving dreams & pushing boundaries. MPC taught me that trying to achieve a goal alone can be extremely hard, but with a strong network of positive supporters, virtually anything is possible. I'm proud to be a Peaker for life, and am so excited that my mother has decided to join this year as well! Let's go #MummyDaughterPeakerTeam!
Tell us about your passion for Outlander. How did you first get introduced to the story?
I was first introduced to the story over the dinner table with friends, when our mutual love of Scotland brought the topic up. While I will always love the characters from Outlander (who couldn't love Jamie and Claire?), what hooked me to the series was Scotland - it's heritage, people and overwhelming love for country & home.
So many of us in Canada are of Scottish heritage, and in my case, its on my father's side. The moment I hear the sound of bag pipes, my heart wells up & tears fill my eyes. There is no place like Scotland, with its rolling glens, ruined castles, mist, "kews" & fields of heather. Diana Gabaldon did a marvelous job capturing the heart of this incredible country - and us Outlander fans are simply addicted. She takes us back there with each stroke of her pen.
Have you and your husband performed together?
Yes, multiple times! In virtually every Canadian Opera Company production that we've done together. We've been Cuban vagabonds, a courtier & lady, a nun and priest... oh, the magic of the theatre!
Who is your hero?
Another hard question! I have so many. In the Fantasty world, I'd have to say my all-time hero would be Samwise "the Brave" Gamgee from Lord of the Rings. In many ways, I see him as the unsung hero of the books. Simple, kind and oftentimes prophetic he bears the weight of Frodo's struggles with a smile and looks to see the best in the world.
"There is some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it's worth fighting for."
By Angela Bell
Thank you Angela, for sharing your journey with us! We hope it inspires others to overcome their own challenges and reach for the stars.
Want to continue to follow along with Angela on her journey? Twitter @AngelaBellTO
For further information on 2018 Canadian events and festivals, follow this link https://www.transceltic.com/celtic-festivals-canada