Actress Stephanie Beatrice said goodbye to her unforgettable role as a stern detective on Brooklyn Nine Nine in September, a hit comedy show that ended after eight seasons.
“I will be happy if my name is always associated with Rosa Diaz. It’s a great honor, ”Beatrice said of the fan favorite character.
But 2021 was a year of new beginnings for the 40-year-old actress. In early summer, she appeared as Karla, one of the salon ladies in the film adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “In The Heights.” She also became a mother for the first time.
Voice acting – a skill she can trace when she and her sister pretended to be hosting a radio show with a Fisher Price tape recorder – is also an enduring aspect of her work, most recently in the famous limited Netflix animated series Maya and the Three. … “
Self-styled “adult Disney” – her bachelorette party took place at Disneyland – Beatrice was overjoyed when she was invited to voice Mirabelle, the Latin heroine in the 60th cartoon from the studio “Encanto”, which is set in Colombia. She became part of the legacy of fairy tales she grew up on (The Sleeping Beauty is a personal favorite), on an adventure about her father’s homeland, stunned her.
“When your real dream comes true, it’s very strange,” she said.
On the phone from London, with a newborn next to her, the actress discussed the search for Mirabelle’s voice and reminisced about her favorite cartoon shows as a child. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.
You were born in Argentina to a Colombian father and a Bolivian mother and grew up in Texas. How do you understand your Latin American identity?
I feel like an American Hispanic, which means that there are things that I cling to and that strike me as especially American in my Latino style, which is my love for Selena. [Quintanilla] and country music because I grew up in Texas. But there are things that seem especially Bolivian and Colombian, and there are things that make a huge difference to my experience as an immigrant growing up here since I was 2 years old. Most of all, I identify Mirabelle with her sense of innocence. This reflects my personality in the United States.
During your formative years, did you feel represented in the American media?
We recently did some media interviews and John Leguizamo and I were together. He is an icon to me and one of the first Hispanics I have ever seen on TV. I saw him in a filmed version of one of his plays “Freak”. In this production, he talks about how he first saw the character Diana Morales in the play “Chorus Line”. And so I watch this Latino actor talk about how he looks at another Latino in the play, and decides that this was the moment when he realized that he wanted to be an artist. For me, observing him was when I realized that I also want to be him.
Tell me about the process of finding and creating Mirabelle’s voice for Encanto.
Initially, I thought that she should sound younger, and leaned towards a higher tone. But the directors pushed me to make her seem more mature. We discussed how she often had to take care of herself because there are so many stars in her family. She has to make sure her needs are taken care of, and with that comes a level of maturity. At the same time, she is playful. Unlike many Disney characters, she does not have an assistant to guide her through the plot. Mirabelle is sometimes an assistant and therapist for her family. She uses comedy all the time. There was no other character who joked from the side or with sound. It was Mirabelle and it was very free and fun.
You have made a career as a voiceover for popular animated series such as Bob’s Burgers and Bojack Horseman. What do you like best about this job?
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Voice work is one of the few places where it really doesn’t matter what you look like, which means you can suddenly become a toucan, princess, or monster. Your face is not the most important part and your imagination has no boundaries. While in the recording booth, you close your eyes and follow the animators and director. I am very fortunate that this has been a large part of what I have been doing and that I have been able to continue to do so for the past two years during this global pandemic.
What excited you about voicing Chimi, a character with a traumatic past, in Jorge R. Gutierrez’s Mesoamerican animated epic Maya and Three?
Jorge is such a generous creator. I would give up everything to work with him again. There is a lot of pain in Chimi, which worries me both in Maya and in Encanto. People underestimate the ability of children to understand and understand their emotions. We do them a disservice by talking down to them. We don’t think of them as these incredible little minds. In different ways, both projects address this by saying that children are able to name, discuss and overcome very adult emotions, because at the end of the day, they are just human emotions.
In addition to Disney classics, what cartoons did you watch on TV as a child?
I watched a bunch of stuff: Animanyacs, old Road Runner cartoons and Bugs Bunny. I loved Tom and Jerry, the eternal battle of good and evil. And also the animated series “Batman” with Mark Hamill as Joker. It was so smart and grown-up. This was my extracurricular unit. But then I was also heavily influenced by Sailor Moon, which was shown on television in Texas early in the morning. My sister and I were getting ready for school at about 5 am, and I turned on Sailor Moon.
Given that Encanto features a racial line-up of Latin American characters, I’m wondering what you thought of him. controversy about colorism around “In the Heights”?
Encanto does a great job of highlighting the fact that Latinidad doesn’t look one-sided. Latinos don’t look one way at all. The film we made was really strong and John Chu had a great vision of the film, but I absolutely understand why the casting of In The Heights caused problems for the black Hispanic community. The colorism is real, the main roles are not assigned to black Hispanics. It is very important that their stories are at the forefront.