“Come on, vamonos , everybody let’s go,” is a phrase that almost every little girl and boy can identify. Dora the Explorer is a Nickelodeon series featuring Dora, a young adventurous girl that aims to teach Spanish to pre-school aged children.
So who is behind the sweet, inimitable voice? Twelve-year-old Fátima Ptacek is the voice behind the Latina cartoon “Dora the Explorer.”
“My favorite part about being the voice of Dora is that I can put a smile on millions of kids’ faces. If you think about it really, I’m just talking and teaching them, it fascinates me that millions of kids are stomping along with me,” says Ptacek.
The young star is not just a “pretty voice” – she was also cast in lead roles in upcoming films ” Tio Papi,” “The Miracle of Spanish Harlem” and “Anything’s Possible.” Ptacek also starred in the Oscar-winning short-film “Curfew.”
Her latest project is a new Nickelodeon series called “Dora and Friends,” a “Dora the Explorer” spin-off, set to premiere Fall 2014. The half-hour series follows Dora, as a 10-year-old, and her friends throughout her adventures in the big city.
Ptacek says she identifies with the “new Dora” more because she is closer to her age. She also says she thinks the audience will enjoy the slightly older Dora.
“She [Dora the Explorer] is a little more mature, a bit more realistic, she’s in the city and I’m in the city 99 percent of the time,” says Ptacek.
Ptacek was a “Dora the Explorer” fan ever since she could remember. When she found out she got the role of Dora, she started to notice her everywhere she went.
“Sometimes I chuckle to myself because no one knows that I’m the voice of Dora when I’m in a room, and it’s kind of surreal,” jokes Ptacek.
Dora the Explorer is portrayed as a pan-Latin American girl on the animated show – in other words, she is not from a particular country. Ptacek says she identifies with Dora’s Latino roots.
“Dora teaches about Latino culture and different traditions and I teach a lot of my friends; I have a really diverse range of friends and I teach them about what I do at home,” says Ptacek.
Her mother is an Ecuadorian native and her father is of European descent. Fatima says she loves to indulge in cuy and ceviche, two common Ecuadorian dishes.
“My grandma loves sending over cuy from Ecuador – my mom sometimes makes me little salads and soups that are all Ecuadorian recipes,” says Ptacek.
The Latina star has a very busy schedule but on her down time she loves to read books. Her family often calls her a “Book-Eater” because she reads them so quickly and very often. She is currently reading “Anna Karerina,” and intends to watch the movie after she is done.
She also hopes to one day go to an Ivy League university to study law or politics, but she says, “I’m still deciding.”