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This Actor’s Cartoon Game Is Strong

Actors live many lives. They inhabit the souls, mull over the ideas and speak the words of the characters they play. Some actors say those figments of imagination become beloved friends. The legendary Tara Strong says they live in her head and come down to play when the time is right. For over 30 years, Tara has lent her voice to some of film and television’s most beloved cartoons. She’s played Dil Pickles in “Rugrats,” Bubbles in “The Powerpuff Girls,” Timmy Turner in “The Fairly OddParents,” Raven in “Teen Titans,” Twilight Sparkle in “My Little Pony.” And that’s just some of them!

So how did this mega-talented grown-up make her way onto kids’ television screens around the world? Like a lot of little ones, Tara loved to talk in funny voices. She’d convince her mom to put on fake accents while they were running errands around her hometown of Toronto, Ontario. But the skills she developed through this playful rouse eventually turned into real work. At age 13, Tara landed her first animated series, “Hello Kitty.” She voiced the series’ title role and her buddy Cree Summer, herself a voice-acting superstar, was Catnip. All these years later, play is at the heart of everything Tara does. Even before she books a job, directors ask her to experiment—making the character a touch older, no younger!, now try it a bit gruffer—until they land on the perfect combination. And some of the biggest fun comes when Tara and her co-actors get to record together in-person. Working off one another’s energy means stronger performances across the board.

See the thing about voice acting is that it’s just that: acting. Not surprisingly, many of Tara’s adoring fans have their own dreams of vocal glory. What does she tell them when they ask for advice? Well, Tara’s adamant that anyone who aspires to work in her hyper-competitive field put in the work and the time. Her first piece of advice? Take acting classes; learning how to read a script, develop a character and collaborate with other actors is a must. And since the best of the best have sharp ears and an ability to mimic, singing lessons wouldn’t hurt either.

So whether you’re putting in the work to land your first gig or merely admiring Tara's incredible career from afar, let her tenacity and playful spirit inspire you towards your own great big adventure.


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