For the past decade, America’s favorite doll has been starring in almost 20 movies. In 2001, Barbie began her acting career in The Nutcracker and she’s been busy ever since. If you’ve enjoyed these films with your children as I have, you might have noticed a slight change this year. In 2010, Barbie and her movies gained a new voice. So Mommyish tracked down Diana Kaarina, a mother and the new voice of Barbie, to find out what it’s like voicing such an iconic character.
Barbie had been voiced by the same woman, Kelly Sheridan, for eighteen installments. How did it feel to take over for someone with that kind of record?
Well, it was obviously very daunting! Having a 3 year old daughter at the time, I was familiar with a few of the movies and I think she has a fabulous voice and did an amazing job! At the same time, I’ve never thought of it as “taking over” the role. I basically got the call to audition and went in without knowing a lot about the history – I only had a character description and a lot of notes for callbacks. Once I got the job and finished recording, I realized there were a lot of previous movies and a huge fan base that had grown up with them, and they would be really surprised. I can only hope that I’m doing a good job and they’re not too disappointed.
How are the new Barbie movies different from the beginning of the franchise?
I’ve only been with the movies since “Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale”, so I’ll try my best to answer this question. With the “new” movies, Barbie is herself – while still having magical experiences. Previously, Barbie had been another character, a princess, a fairy, a mermaid, with a different name. This time, she’s been modernized, humanized and hopefully, she’s a little more relatable, while still inspiring dreams, imagination, creativity and adventure in the present day.
You have a young daughter. Had you seen the Barbie movies before?
Of course! We watched “The Island Princess” a lot. Melissa Lyons sings so beautifully in that.
Has your daughter seen your Barbie movies? And if so, does she recognize the voice as your’s?
She has, and she loves them! She does recognize my voice, but I think she thinks everyone’s mom does some character’s voice. I’ve done other cartoon voices & singing albums too so she often asks, “Is that you?” about the different voices she hears.
Are you guys awash with Barbie merchandise now? I imagine your daughter now has a collection going that will make every other pre-school girl swoon.
We do have our fair share of that trademark Barbie Pink around the house! My daughter loves the animals best. I had a huge Barbie collection growing up, so she has some of my old things, and her aunt’s too. Gotta love it.
Barbie has done versions of Swan Lake, Rapunzel and the Nutcracker. Is there a fairytale or story that you’d like to see Barbie tackle?
I love that she’s done some classic ballets, as I grew up studying to be a ballet dancer. I’d love to see Barbie as Coppelia! What a fun twist that would be on that story! As for classic fairytales, Cinderella has always been a favourite – one of the only princesses that doesn’t start out a princess.
In the past, actors like Anjelica Huston, Tim Curry and Kelsey Grammar have come in to voice to villains. Are there any actors you’d like to have join you in a Barbie movie?
Wow! What a tough question! We record in Vancouver, and I’m pretty certain those actors would record their lines in LA, but even should we never meet (complete dream casting) I’d love to share the animated screen with Sir Ian McKellen.
When Mattel decided to update the Barbie franchise, they also hired on a consistent voice for Ken. How is it working as America’s favorite couple?
Adrian is fantastic! He’s very funny, and even looks like Ken! Sadly, we weren’t in the same scenes for a lot of the movies, so we really only got to record together for a day or so combined. We did get to say, “I love you” to each other though, before the animators got to create the historic kiss.
Do you have any friends who have “no Barbie” households?
Not that I know of – all the little girls I know play with Barbies.
As a mother, how do you feel about the influence that Barbie has on young girls?
I grew up with Barbie, and I still love her. I think she is so empowering for young ladies, showing them endless possibilities, teaching important lessons and morals, and inspiring dreams, individuality, and creativity. As a doll, she’s always been a tool for creating a limitless life and role playing, something I enjoyed as a girl before I was ever associated professionally with Barbie. I know that sounds almost rehearsed, but I really do feel that way. I’m all for imaginative play.