Our interview with Kari Wahlgren, who is one of the top voiceover actresses in LA.
Kari’s incredible voice talents can currently be heard in movies such as “Justice League vs. Teen Titans,” “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness,” “The Fairly Odd Parents,” “Rick and Morty,” “Star Wars: The Old Republic” and “Final Fantasy XII”. She also will be returning to Rick and Morty for season 3, premiering in 2017.
Kari also produced and wrote a short film, called Girl #2, which premiered at the 12th Annual HollyShorts Film Festival in 2016, which also won her “Best Short” at the New Orleans Film Festival. The short film also premiered at “Shriekfest” in Los Angeles.
Hi Kari, please tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a Los Angeles-based voiceover and on-camera actress. I’m mostly known for my voiceover work in cartoons and video games.
What is your background?
I grew up in a small town in Kansas and went to the University of Kansas before moving to Los Angeles. I love being from the Midwest. I still get back there to see my parents.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by people who are both successful and kind. You can tell so much about a person by how they treat those who can do nothing for them.
Name one your strengths?
I’m punctual. I like to be early to things, if possible. I guess I want people to feel that their time is valued. It may sound boring, but I can’t count the number of times clients have thanked me for it in the past.
Do you have or had acting classes?
I’ve taken so many acting classes! I got a Theater degree in college, and I’ve continued to take classes over the years. I’m much more selective about the classes I take now, but I never want to stop learning.
How would you describe your professional career?
Very busy right now, which is great! Every day is different in my line of work, so I’m constantly auditioning and going to sessions at different studios around town. And with voiceover, you can play multiple characters in a single day, so creatively, it keeps things interesting!
How did you get started?
I started performing at a really early age; I sang and did plays and was a ventriloquist for many years! Then I did professional stage, on-camera and voiceover work in Kansas City before moving out to L.A. It took awhile, but I slowly started booking jobs in Los Angeles….and I’m still here!
Do you ever get nervous?
Yes, I still get butterflies when I start a new project.
What is your next goal as a producer and as a voice actress?
I wrote and produced a short horror film called “Girl #2” which has been doing very well on the film festival circuit. I think I’d like to do some more writing in the future. I want to keep finding ways to challenge myself creatively.
What is the feeling to be named as one of the top voice actresses in Los Angeles?
Wow, that’s really flattering! I’m just glad to be working and doing something I love. It’s still a huge honor when people cast me to work on their projects. I don’t take it lightly.
Tell us about your latest project?
Final Fantasy XV was just released, and I play the voice of ‘Aranea Highwind.’ She’s a no-nonsense mercenary fighter whose allegiance, along with her fighting skills, may be for hire. A very cool, morally ambiguous character! I’m also working on Season 3 of “Rick and Morty.” I’ll be coming back as the voice of Jessica and other incidental roles.
What other project have you been part of?
I was Shandra Jimenez on “Gravity Falls,” Starfire in the DC movie “Justice League VS. Teen Titans” and Chloe Carmichael on Season 10 of “The Fairly Oddparents” on Nickelodeon.
Which artists/movies/games would you like to collaborate with/on?
I’ve always wanted to do something on “Robot Chicken.”
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My morning coffee, my keys, and my granny planner. Yes, I still use a written day planner. I’m an analog girl in a digital world.
What music can we find on your iPod?
I love so many different types of music – jazz, pop, rock – everything from the Carpenters to Marilyn Manson! But I have a secret passion for 80’s/90’s hair bands. Right now, I’m listening to Def Leppard’s Greatest Hits way too much.
What do you do in your free time?
I’m a big reader. I usually have a couple of books going at any given time. I love to listen to live music and go to museums and galleries. I spend as much time with my friends as I can. And I’m making time to travel more.
Do you support any charity?
Charity is a huge passion of mine. I regularly support Homeboy Industries, which helps previously incarcerated gang members find jobs and build careers. I also love Donorschoose.org, which lets teachers across the country post what they need in their classrooms (microscopes, band instruments, art supplies, etc) and you can pick what projects you want to fund.
What do you like to watch on tv?
I just finished Westworld, which I LOVED. Now I’m waiting for Game of Thrones and FACE OFF on the SyFy channel to come back.
Best advice ever given?
Make space in your life for good things to come into it.
Five years from now you will be…?
Hopefully still working…and maybe dating someone…haha…
Any news you want to share with us?
Oh man…I’m literally weeks away from being able to announce a new show, but I can’t tell you today. Crap.
What do you think of Social Media?
It’s hard for me sometimes. I’m a very private person. But it’s been an amazing way to connect with fans and hear from friends and family I haven’t seen in awhile. I love hearing from people, so I am glad social media makes that possible!
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”
Movie: Gone With the Wind, Casino Royale
Travel Destination: Peru, Italy, Japan
Sport Team: LA Dodgers, Kansas City Chiefs, KU Jayhawks
Celebrity Crush: Gabriel Byrne. I hope I never meet him. I would only embarrass myself.
Your favorite song? Why? I can’t pick one, it’s just too hard. As a consolation, I will tell you that Nickelodeon plays the best music in their women’s bathrooms of all the studios.
Drink: I like wine, and a dry Belvedere martini once in awhile.