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Meet Hyacinth Hippo

Hattie Noel

I know what you’re saying to yourself right now: he’s finally lost his marbles and has started posting suggestive photos of voluptuous black women and calling them hippos. But actually the above photo is a rare piece of Disney animation history. It’s a photo of actress Hattie Noel who was the live-action reference for Hyacinth Hippo in Fantasia.

This is one of the “lost” pics from her modelling sessions for Disney artists. For obvious reasons, it’s a bit of Disney history that you never read about in their official histories. Over the years, I’ve seen a couple other reference shots of her, but this one has ended up on eBay (or at least a copy of it has, since the seller is only offering a printout and not the original photo).

(via Disney History blog)