What happened to Zónya and N'thila?

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What happened to Zónya and N'thila?


Zónya and N'thila were the heroines of the "Sisters" animation demo and Zónya also featured in the EGI manual, until I changed their names into "Fanni" and "Tila". I did not really expect to receive a question as to the why, but it is my pleasure to explain it.

Zónya was, jokingly, called after a friend called Sonia and N'thila got her name from Sonia's sister Nathalie. Stealing the names of these truly charming sisters for a couple of drawn puppets that I made to behave like jealous adolescents was becoming a joke carried too far. Especially because the ladies themselves were unaware of it. Sure, I had been dropping a hint on occasion, but nonetheless. (Some people just don't take hints.)

Another thing that troubled me was that, while working on the puppets, I was constantly thinking of parallels between those puppets and the real Sonia and Nathalie. For example, N'thila got her ponytail at a time that Nathalie was wearing one often, in addition to being another pun on her name: N'thila Queue de Cheval sounds close to Nathalie Cucheval (if you are French, that is, and yes, Nathalie is a Française). Both sisters enjoy to dance and they like Latin-American music, which inspired the main theme of the "Sisters" animation.

The caricatures of the appearance and behaviour of the sisters did not fit well, however. If memory serves, the topic of rivalry between the sisters was inspired by a brief conversation between the sisters on the way to a party. That happened once, way back then, and it lasted a minute. Rivalry is a description not befitting the sisters, it is something that I made up. (And now that we are at it, in real life Sonia is the brunette and Nathalie the redhead —not the other way around, as their respective caricatures suggest.)

Changing the names of the puppets solves all these problems. Except for me, though, because I know the history of the puppets and I keep associating Fanni with Sonia and Tila with Nathalie. Obviously, inventing the name Tila does not take much inspiration if one starts with N'thila. For Zónya, I wanted a name that sounded like "funny", so that Tila could invent "puns" on her sister's name —now that's something that (the real) Nathalie would never do: make fun of her sister.

Fanni & Tila