SpeakBeasty is a team of passionate volunteers who strive to bring its listeners the very best in Fantastic Beasts content as it relates to history, politics, film theory, and Harry Potter canon. Learn more about who we are and where we started below.

Hosts

Amy Hogan
Amy HoganHost
Amy, a Puff, was introduced to Harry at the ripe young age of 9 when her aunt gifted her the Sorcerer’s Stone DVD for Christmas. She gave Amy’s sister the first four books, which Amy promptly snagged off her sister’s bookshelf to read for herself. The rest is history. Growing up in the back hills of New York with dial-up internet, she set MuggleNet.com as her browser homepage. Who knew that all these years later she would be Creative Team Manager for the site and even host a podcast? In her Muggle life, Amy is a proud graduate of Oswego State (Go Lakers!) where she earned her degree in Broadcasting and Mass Communications. She’s putting that diploma to use right now as a television reporter. Oh, and she’s met April the Giraffe in person. That is all.
Ariel Taranski
Ariel TaranskiHost
Ariel has been an avid reader and writer since childhood, and has loved Harry Potter for more than half of her life. When she’s not doing freelance social media for various sites, she works on her own fictional tales with hopes of becoming an author one day. Once a hatstall of Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff, she has now proudly embraced the fact that she’s a full Hufflepuff who values fairness, hard work, and loyalty. A former mermaid who gained her legs for love, it’s only natural that she’s now guest hosting on a podcast about Fantastic Beasts. Despite modeling for the SpeakBeasty logo in her formerly finned days, she is now just a voice in front of a microphone, but oh so happy about it.
Aurelia Leib
Aurelia LeibHost
Aurelia usually goes by Aureo, because that is just easier to pronounce. At Hogwarts, she is a proud Gryffindor, even though she is a German, currently living near Düsseldorf but originally from the Stuttgart area. Aureo also had the opportunity to live in New Zealand for 6 months, which resulted in her mad love for that country. In Muggle life, Aureo has a bachelor’s degree in business and event management and is currently in the process of getting her MBA. For MuggleNet, she is also a content editor, and in Muggle life she works in marketing. In her free time, Aureo plays basketball for a German team, writes (mostly fanfiction), and loves to travel. She is also a massive Doctor Who and Sherlock fan and generally in love with all things British.
Lizzie Sudlow
Lizzie SudlowHost
Lizzie is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta, where she studied Mass Communications, English, and Journalism. She is a proud Gryffinclaw (she’s a true hatstall) and Wampus. Lizzie currently resides in Astoria, NY with her Ravenclaw fiancé and Hufflepuff cat, Leia. She works in Manhattan at Refinery29 and also runs MuggleNet’s Internship Program. When not recording, Lizzie can be found cooking, playing with her cat, and watching Netflix. A fun fact about her is she was introduced on stage for a performance at LeakyCon 2012 by Evanna Lynch.
Shannen Michaelsen
Shannen MichaelsenHost
Shannen is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, podcaster, Ravenclaw, and Wampus. Shannen’s been a fan of Harry Potter since before being able to read, thanks to family reading the series aloud. Shannen is passionate about Newt Scamander and Augureys. When not talking about Fantastic Beasts or working a real job, Shannen makes web shows and plays Dungeons & Dragons.
Helene Karp
Helene KarpHost
Helene is a passionate Hufflepuff with a love for magical creatures, much like Newt Scamander himself! For some reason she chose to live in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the weather makes her cry 9 months out of the year, so she doesn’t know what that says about her decision-making. When she’s not working, Helene is counting down until the next Fantastic Beasts film or re-reading the Potter series. She can usually also be found watching a true crime documentary or obsessing over the Jonas Brothers.
Julianna Coughlin
Julianna CoughlinHost
Hufflepuff, Thunderbird, runner and dog mom. Julianna lives on Cape Cod in Massachusetts with her coonhound doggy daughter, Elaine. To this day, her greatest literary achievement still stands as reading all of Deathly Hallows in under 24 hours. She is an avid listener of ALL the Wizarding World podcasts she can get her ears on, and is honored to be part of the SpeakBeasty team, as she loves talking Potter with anyone who will or will not listen. As a Muggle, she works as a dietitian in long-term care with all of her “adopted grandparents” in a role reminiscent of a health-conscious Molly Weasley. Outside of Potter, Julianna can usually be found running. She has run the Boston Marathon (and is always training for her next marathon) and loves to use her legs to fly herself to new places and see new fantastic things.
Ann Lysy
Ann LysyHost
Ann is a thirty-something Slytherin/Thunderbird living in Chicago with her Gryffindor husband. In her Muggle life, she has a dual degree in English and Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech and works for a pension fund. Her obsession with Harry Potter began when she was sixteen and steadfastly refusing to read the books because they were popular; then a friend shoved “Sorcerer’s Stone” into her hands and said, “You have to read this.” Since then, Ann has been to every Wizarding World in the world and spent seven hours sporadically crying in the Studio Tour during a trip to London. She plans to visit all six Disney parks and also enjoys cross-stitching, writing, and painting her nails.
Marjolaine Martin
Marjolaine MartinHost
If you ask her, Marjolaine is a Ravenclaw/Thunderbird, but she would actually probably be a student at Beauxbâtons ! The Wizarding World has been part of Marjolaine’s life since she was 11; she’s now 28 and still living her best Potterhead life everyday. She is on the team of La Gazette du Sorcier, the French MuggleNet, and is very active in the International Magical Cooperation of the fandom. Anthropology is Marjolaine’s Muggle/No-Maj/Non-Magique life – she has a passion for research. If you can’t find her, she is probably in the library or lost in a deep conversion with a stranger about… anything really. Or maybe she’s looking for everything magical in Paris, where she lived for many years before moving to Marseille, in the south of France.
Craig Ranallo
Craig RanalloHost
Craig is a Gryffindor who discovered Harry’s Wizarding World almost twenty years ago and hasn’t looked back since. He studied Creative Writing, History, Film, and Children’s Literature at the University of Pittsburgh, then went on to graduate school for Library and Information Science, and he’d be foolish to pretend Harry didn’t play some part in those life choices. He currently works as a children’s and teen librarian in Washington, D.C. When he’s not encouraging (read: hounding) the youth of tomorrow to pick up a copy of Sorcerer’s Stone, Craig can be spotted wandering about museums, feverishly outlining new stories, watching drag shows, or riddling out the logistics of taking up residence in a stoic English manor house. If he’s not podcasting with SpeakBeasty, chances are he’s podcasting on his show Splatter Chatter, where Craig discusses all things horror, haunted, and Halloween-y. It’s all rather fantastic.
Elayna Mae Darcy
Elayna Mae DarcyHost
Elayna is first and foremost a lover of stories. From the time she first read the Harry Potter series as a child, her imagination was ignited, and she’s been passionately pursuing storytelling ever since. Thanks to pursuing a creative degree in Film & Media Arts from Temple University, she’s responsible for a number of short films, screenplays, and has led numerous social media campaigns. When not podcasting or professionally fangirling, Elayna can usually be found blogging about her experiences of writing her first novel trilogy on her website, Elayna Musings. Or tweeting. She likes tweeting.
Lizzie Gladwyn
Lizzie GladwynHost
Lizzie is also known as British Lizzie within the MuggleNet Fam! She lives in Bath Spa, England, where she is embarking on an academic career studying media and gender studies. She is a proud Gryffindor who is brave and will fight for people’s rights, but she doesn’t always think things through before charging into a situation!

Production Team

Ashley Craig
Ashley CraigProducer
Ashley is a proud Slytherin from Texas, and has been obsessed with Harry Potter since book 2 was released. When she’s not co-producing SpeakBeasty, you can find her working on the Creative Social Media team for MuggleNet. When forced to act like a Muggle, (her father will hear about this!) Ashley enjoys cheering on her beloved Dallas Mavericks, shouting at the TV while watching various sporting events, obsessing over all things Disney and occasionally acting her age.
Catherine Lewis
Catherine LewisEditor
Catherine, a half-and-half Ravenpuff, lives in lower Alabama with her husband Brandon (a Slytherin) and 3 furbabies. She enjoys bringing characters to life through narration in collaboration with Audible, and bringing the magic of music to the lives of muggle children in her music classroom. When she isn’t editing SpeakBeasty podcasts or audiobooks, she embodies the legacy of Professor Sprout through her love of plants and ALL things “succulents.” In short, she loves Jesus, her husband, her dogs, her plants, and people!
Laine McCurrin
Laine McCurrinSocial Media Manager
Laine is a graduate of Florida State University where she studied Music and English Literature. She always figured she’d be a Hufflepuff, had Hogwarts invited her to attend, but upon learning of the existence of Ilvermorny, was pleasantly pleased to be sorted into Thunderbird. When she isn’t reading books and comics or looking up Fantastic Beasts fan art, Laine is obsessing over her pugs, wishing she could swim with sharks, or crocheting Pugsharks.
Megan Kelly
Megan KellyProducer and Host
Megan, a Gryffindor, is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied Creative Writing, Film, and Children’s Literature. She’s been in love with Harry since childhood, and credits him largely with her continued love of reading and writing. When she’s not recording for SpeakBeasty, Megan works as an project manager for an advertising agency. She can also be found drinking coffee, writing stories, running rather slowly, making travel plans, watching British comedies, and trying out exotic recipes. (Also, if anyone wants to talk about Larry Stylinson, she’s your girl.)

Social Media and Graphics Team

Ananda De Abreu
Ananda De AbreuSocial Media
Ananda is a 23-year-old living in South Africa with an Honors in Marketing and a proud ROAR ROAR GRYFFINDOR! The Wizarding World has been a part of her life since she was 8 and her mom was trying to make her into a bookworm. It’s 15 years later and her passion has only grown – Harry Potter taught her how to have a passion for fictional literature, how to play chess (seriously) and how to flaunt her inner nerd (her friends know her as “the one that knows all the HP stuff”) . She stands for S.P.E.W., she stands for sticking to her guns (Cursed Child is NOT canon #sorrynotsorry), and she can’t wait to grow in the SpeakBeasty community!
Cheyenne Padgett
Cheyenne PadgettGraphic Designer
Cheyenne is a proud Midwesterner and Slytherin who will defend the antics of her house any day of the week. She graduated from Cedarville University in 2016 clutching a Professional Writing and Graphic Design degree (otherwise known as, she really likes designing boring manuals). Aside from creating graphics (both in her Muggle job and in her Beasty job), she can be seen watching people play video games on YouTube, shopping feverishly online for things she’ll never actually buy, selling Lularoe with her mother, and planning her and her fiancé’s dream wedding for January 18, 2020.
Evelyn McLoughlin
Evelyn McLoughlinSocial Media
Evelyn is a proud Gryffindor and, a little reluctantly, a Pukwudgie. A rather late to the party Potter fan, Ev was aware of the series in her teens but thought she was too grown up. She was very, very wrong, and fell in love with the Harry Potter books after feeling compelled to read them following seeing the first Fantastic Beasts film, eating fancy cake and contemplating her misspent youth. She lives in Northern Ireland with her Slytherin husband and Gryffinpuff son and has given up on ever becoming a real grown-up. You can find her on Twitter @evelynblake712, or somewhere with a cup of coffee and a book.
Jennifer May
Jennifer MaySocial Media
Jennifer is a Ravenclaw Horned Serpent (AKA nerdy nerd) who graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Language and an obsession with Harry Potter. She lives in the UK, in the same town that JK Rowling was born in (it’s only claim to fame), and is definitely part Niffler. In her spare time, she can usually be found at the cinema, blogging, or feeding her tortoise (Dobby) dandelions.
Samantha Joubert
Samantha JoubertSocial Media
Samantha has been waiting for her Hogwarts letter since she was eight, and hasn’t given up hope yet, she is positive that her owl is definitely just lost. She’s a Gryffindor and a Thunderbird and lives in the UK. In her spare time she’s an aspiring writer and artist, and can usually be found in her natural habitat (her bedroom) drawing with her Niffler, Gatsby.

Our Story

SpeakBeasty was born in December of 2015, just after the first teaser trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was released. We amused ourselves by speculating what we’d see in the film, learning about all of the beasts in the textbook, and getting to know our friend Newt Scamander. As each new trailer and film has dropped, the hosts and listeners of SpeakBeasty have found ways to continue to theorize about what would come next. We’re proud to bring Harry Potter fans new and old varied ways to examine the fandom and its contents during such a transitional period in the fandom’s history. We pride ourselves on being critical but passionate, and we hope to continue to be able to contribute to the fandom’s discussions as the Fantastic Beasts films progress.

Where We Live

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