Check our interview with talented actress Dana Gaier, who is best known as the voice of Edith in the award-winning Despicable Me franchise, which also stars Steve Carell and Kristen Wiig.
Hi Dana, please tell us a little about you?
I’m originally from Livingston, New Jersey, but moved to Burbank, California shortly after Despicable Me 2 was released. I’m currently finishing up my sophomore year at UCLA and I’ll be turning 20 in August. Along with acting, I love to sing and play my guitar.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Empathetic, Spunky, Worry-wart
Who is your biggest supporter?
Everyone in my family. My parents and my sister, Jillian, have always been supportive of me pursuing acting and school at the same time. Although it’s difficult, they make it a lot easier because they’re always reminding me about how well I’m doing and how much I’m achieving when I’m feeling upset or defeated.
How did you get started in the industry?
It’s funny because my sister was actually in the industry before I was. I always loved to sing and perform in shows because I had seen my sister doing it and I admired her a lot. When she got an agent she would go out on auditions all of the time. One day, my mom couldn’t find a babysitter for me so she had to drag me to New York City with her for the audition. The casting directors asked if I wanted to come in and try and audition for the younger sister and I got a callback! I was super excited about acting and my sister’s agents reached out to sign me.
What was your first acting role?
The first show I ever did was The Wizard of Oz! I played the cowardly lion and I was around 5 years old. Those videos still make laugh. Professionally, Edith in Despicable Me was actually the first role that I booked. I was 11 years old at the time and it was an incredible experience.
What is the best and worst part of being an actress?
The best part of acting is getting to put yourself into every role you play. 100 people will play the same role very differently because it’s about what you can bring to the role and you end up getting a lot out of it too. Each role and audition I have gives me new experiences and perspectives. The worst part is that I wear my heart on my sleeve which is why I am able to tap into my emotions for work. As an actress, I feel like I can be a little bit more sensitive so the person sobbing uncontrollably next to you during Marley and Me? Or when that really sweet puppy walked by? Yeah, that was me.
Best advice ever given?
It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice. My dad always says that to me. You should never think that you’re too good for ANYONE and the best thing you can do is to simply be kind.
How did you find out about Despicable Me 3, and tell us about your experience for the voice-over of Edith?
Because I voiced Edith in the first two movies in the franchise, I was really excited when they asked me back for the third installment. I love voicing Edith because she’s such a trouble-maker. It’s easy to play with her lines because they’re really clever. I will say a line several different ways when recording and then the creative team will pick which one works best.
What has been your most memorable experience from the project?
My most memorable experience from the project is probably my funniest moment. I was asked to make an animal noise and everyone in the room was just cracking up. We’re always laughing in the studio because of the way a line is said or written and it’s just really exciting all around.
What other projects you have been part of?
Other than all three movies in the Despicable Me franchise, I filmed an Independent film last summer called The Ice Cream Truck, which will be premiering in August. My role, Brie, is small, but important and I’m really excited for people to see me in my first onscreen role.
Who is your favorite Actor/Actress? And why?
Some of my favorite actors are Brie Larson, Paul Rudd, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jennifer Anniston and Jennifer Lawrence. I love actors who are really versatile and can work with whatever is given to them. These are just a few of the MANY people that I look up to.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My phone, gum, and chapstick.
What music do you like?
My ultimate favorite musician is Billy Joel. His lyrics are amazing and listening to him instantly changes my mood. I also love Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Andy Grammar, John Mayer and Jack Johnson. Right now I’m also really into The 1975.
Your idea of a perfect Sunday is?
I’m super busy during the week with school and auditions, so my perfect Sunday is catching up on all of my tv shows that I missed during the week! I love sitting on my couch with some tea and my family and watching the latest episodes of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, New Girl and The Bachelor/Bachelorette.
How’s a normal day in your life?
A normal day in my life is usually going to class and getting my school-work done. I lived in my sorority house this past year so my friends and I would all sit in the kitchen and do homework together and just hang out.
What was the last book you read?
The last book I read was Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. She’s my absolute favorite writer because of all of her twists and turns.
What would be the dream holiday/vacation, and who would you go with?
I would have to say Greece with my family. Not only is it beautiful, but there is a lot of amazing history there that I would love to explore.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Ice cream. Love a good scoop of cookies and cream.
How do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully I will be working on a TV show and I’ll be really happy.
Do you support any charities?
I volunteer with an organization called Club 21 that helps kids with down syndrome. They have great programs for babies and toddlers as well as children and teenagers. It really just is amazing and every time I’m there I feel very fortunate to get to spend time with these incredible people. My family also helps an organization called MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity),which is a great organization that strives to end poverty. I also just met with DoSomething.org and hope to collaborate with them as well.
What do you like to watch on Tv?
I would have to say my favorite show is Friends. I have seen all ten seasons at least 40 times and it still never gets old. I also love Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, New Girl, The Bachelor/Bachelorette and a lot of other shows. I love all genres.
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “You’ve survived 100% of your worst days. You’re doing great.”
Holiday Destination: Greece.
Song: Anything Billy Joel.
Sports Team: My dad raised me as a Dallas Cowboys fan.
Movie: Silence of the Lambs
Photographer: Birdie Thompson
Glam: Allison Noelle