We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Southerland and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Stephanie, what role has risk played in your life or career?

As a voice actor, every day is full of risks. Every audition is a risk. Every strong and bold choice is a risk. Every marketing email, networking event, meeting, callback, etc. is a risk. But if no risks are taken, no rewards ever come to fruition. When it comes to auditioning, it can be easy for me to fall into the thought process of trying to give the casting director what I think they want to hear, but I’ve started living by this advice I once received: “Rather than making yourself be the character, make the character be you”. It can feel risky at times, but the roles I’ve booked that I have enjoyed the very most, are the ones that have come from taking the risk of letting my authentic self shine through.
In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. If we live life in the safety of what we’ve experienced and already know, then we may never get to see how far we’ll go. Sometimes it may even feel like a risk to try to slow down. To say no. To trust that you are exactly where you need to be. These are risks that I have been learning to take over the past few months and by doing so, my life has been more peaceful, more fulfilling, and ultimately more joyful.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I am fortunate to work every day as a voice actor, and I’ve been able to voice several characters I’m very proud of. Getting to voice Jean in the video game Genshin Impact has been a dream come true, and it has been so fun to interact with the Genshin Impact community online. Voicing Polly Pocket has been a blast, especially since I played with Polly Pocket toys as a kid! I also voice Madame Blueberry and Callie Flower in The VeggieTales Show, which gives me a chance to sing and put my training in musical theater to use!
No two paths to becoming an actor are the same. I’d love to have a roadmap to know if I’m on course and to see how much further I need to go before I arrive at my “destination,” but I quickly learned that there really isn’t a roadmap to success in this career. Dedication, determination, a commitment to playing the long-game, resiliency, and self compassion are all tools that I’ve developed over time and continue to work on every day. These tools have helped me become a better actor too. I used to believe I would only ever play quirky or comedic roles, but these tools have allowed me to expand my range to be able to play so many more archetypes. This career is also an entrepreneurial venture (something I didn’t realize at first) and I’ve really enjoyed learning the business side of things along with the creative!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

How much time do we have? LA is abundant with things to do and places to see!
Destinations/Fun places and things to do: Spend the morning at the LA Arboretum, Visit The Last Bookstore, Little Tokyo, Hike LA’s hidden stairs, Visit Leo Carrillo or Zuma Beach, Catch a show at The Groundlings, and of course, a trip to LA would not be complete without visiting the Griffith Observatory.
Favorite places to eat: We’d get LA’s best deep dish pizza at Masa of Echo Park, pastrami fries at The Hat in Pasadena, spend a day wandering Grand Central Market eating tacos at Tacos Tumbras a Tomas, doughnuts at The Donut Man, head up to Melrose to Happy Ice, and of course, head back up to Burbank to Porto’s. On a beach day, a must-visit is Malibu Seafood Fish Market & Patio Cafe.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

There are so many people that have had a huge impact on my career and on my life, I couldn’t possibly name them all in one interview! But there are a few that have been my rock through the past few years.
Big shoutout to my husband Aaron for supporting me in going for my dreams. He is my partner in every sense of the word and I feel incredibly fortunate that two young 20-something year olds who hardly knew each other and foolishly rushed into marriage, turned out to be incredibly compatible with each other. He also works in the entertainment industry as an audio engineer so not only is he my best friend, he’s also my personal tech guy (I wouldn’t have survived working from home through the pandemic without his knowledge and skill).
One organization that I owe a lot of my success to is Voice Actors Network, a network of professional voice actors in animation, video games, commercials, promos, and dubbing. It’s a space for learning, encouraging, and supporting fellow working vo pros. I’ve gained so much confidence through my participation in workshops and clinics, and it’s even through VAN that I have made some of my very best friends in the VO world. One of my dearest friends is Brittany Cox. Brittany is an amazing support as we now run Voice Actors Network together. Not only is she one of the most responsible people I know, she is also an incredible friend I can rely on, and who has taught me a lot about working hard, and having balance and boundaries in life.
Of course, there are so many other friends that deserve some recognition too! Shelby Young, Arianna Ratner, Marcella Lentz-Pope, Kaitlyn Robrock, Jen Losi, and Kelly Baskin all deserve a shoutout. They have been a lifeline for me during the pandemic and I feel grateful to have so many gal pals that support and lift each other up.
My agent Micaela Hicks at Vox is truly a gift to this world. Not only is she a badass Hollywood boss agent, but is also one of the loveliest and most centered humans I know. Micaela reminds me to start each day with gratitude, do what feeds your soul, and that this world is incredibly abundant. Her friendship, support, and willingness to take a chance on me has made me a better person, and has given me opportunities that I could only dream of.

Website: www.stephaniesoutherland.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stephsoutherland/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniesoutherlandvo/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StephSouthVO

Other: If you’re a fan of Genshin Impact or adorable kittens, check out Stephanie’s TikTok: http://tiktok.com/@stephsouthvo

Image Credits
Walking Dogs Photo Credit: Julie Shuford Photography

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