- Disney / Naomi Watanabe / Plushies
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Rising to fame in 2008 for her imitation of Beyoncé, comedian, actress and fashion designer Naomi Watanabe is loved by fans not only in Japan but across the world for her shining smile, colourful personality and activities as an advocate for body positivity.
Earlier this year Watanabe announced that she would be relocating the base of her activities to the United States from April. Despite the move she still retains a strong presence in Japan, and as the most followed Japanese female entertainer on instagram, continues to inspire millions to exist to their fullest potential.
The international star will celebrate her 34th birthday this Saturday the 23rd of October. To commemorate the event, Watanabe has teamed up with Walt Disney Japan to design a new character – Pepperoni – who will be joining the Disney store Japan-limited UniBEARsity plush toy lineup on the same day.
Of course, the introduction of a new character to the UniBEARsity lineup warrants a story, which Walt Disney Japan has already prepared;
Whilst looking at a fashion magazine and discussing their favourite styles in Minnie Mouse’s bedroom, UniBEARsity bears Pudding and Puffy are interrupted by fellow bear Souffle, who has appeared through a vortex in the mirror.
“Quick, come join me!’ Souffle exclaims, ‘a fun party is about to begin!”
After passing through the mirror, the three bears find themselves in the dressing room of celebrity bear Pepperoni, who happens to be eating a hamburger for her lunch before going live on stage.
Pudding and Puffy are overjoyed to meet the star, who leaves them with a glistening smile and some magical advice before heading on stage;
“The secret to making your dreams come true is to believe in yourself and keep doing what you love. If you do that, anything is possible!”
Pepperoni UniBEARsity Plush Toy: 6,050 yen
Created in the image of Watanabe herself, the new UniBEARsity character Pepperoni takes inspiration from her unique quirky and bright style. Watanabe also wanted to plug in some body positivity into the design of the bear, and so it’s a little larger in size compared to previous UniBEARsity designs.
Complete with adorable silky bangs, a cute turquoise ribbon and a delicious hamburger in hand, Pepperoni might just be the most stylish UniBEARsity character yet.
Pepperoni has a unique UniBEARsity emblem on the sole of it’s foot, which appears to be hiding an adorably mischievous Watanabe-like bear.
Pepperoni UniBEARsity Room Wear Costume: 5,500 yen
In addition to the plush toy, Japan-based Disney Stores will also be unleashing a costume designed specifically for the bear. Featured in the ‘Pepperoni Introduction’ story, this costume consists of Pepperoni’s room wear, which includes a burger-print T-shirt, a fluffy bear-shaped eye mask and adorable room slippers.