The smart one: one of the many roles in an animated show that you always include in. InÂ Hey Arnold’sÂ case, you have Phoebe Hyerdahl, the Asian genius who sides with Helga Pataki every step of the way. Today, we have interviewed the young woman who voices her, Anndi McAfee.Â
Besides voicing Phoebe, she’s known for many of her voice acting roles such as Ashley A. inÂ Recess,Â Robyn Sterling inÂ Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Land Before TimeÂ sequels as Cera, TheÂ Mass EffectÂ series as Emily Wong, Hermia, and Hallia, andÂ Final Fantasy XIIIÂ andÂ XIII-2Â as Lebrau. Hope you enjoy the interview.
Patricia- What age did you decided that you knew that you wanted to pursue yourÂ life into acting?
Anndi- I was born a singer. I was always singing everywhere and at about 7 orÂ 8 years old I started doing musical theater locally in Los Angeles. IÂ began acting professionally because I sort of fell into it. I went
from stage to on camera as a natural progression. I feel like I didn’tÂ decide to act, I was born to do it! 😉 I believe my first professionalÂ job was singing for a radio spot when I was about 8.
Kevin- What was the audition process like for voicing Phoebe onÂ Hey Arnold?
Anndi- I showed up to the casting offices with a bunch of other kids and readÂ a script into a microphone for the role of Phoebe for Joey Paul (theÂ casting director). At the time, I had very little information about
Phoebe, I just kind of picked a voice just slightly more shy andÂ younger than my own. I found out I was picked for the role a few weeksÂ later. It was really a painless process.
Kevin- What was it like working with Craig Bartlett?
Anndi- Craig is a big goofball and he’s incredibly creative which makes himÂ an EXCELLENT guy to work with as a kid. He has a ton of patience withÂ his cast members and often lets them just run with their instincts
when it comes to getting into their characters. For example, theÂ little “romance” between Phoebe and Gerald was never written in theÂ script. Jamil and I were just fooling around in character and CraigÂ loved it and went with it!
Kevin- Do you still keep in touch with any of the voice actors fromÂ Hey Arnold?
Anndi- I was friendly with all the voice actors. I was the oldest kid and wasÂ the first to drive, which made me the coolest! haha. I keep in touchÂ with the cast on Facebook but Olivia Hack and I are still close and we
see each other and talk often. Sometimes I see the other voice actorsÂ around town and we love to reminisce about the good ol days! 😉 We areÂ all a super friendly bunch. No one disliked each other or didn’t getÂ along.
Kevin- What would a typical day be like for voicing an episode forÂ Hey Arnold?
Anndi- Recording could be a long day because sometimes there were a LOT ofÂ kids with a LOT of energy trying to focus on working! But most of theÂ time we got to record as a full cast which was an amazing experience.Â You truly create something magic when everyone’s energies are allÂ working together. Generally we all had the same time we were supposedÂ to be at the recording studio and we would go in and out of the boothÂ as our characters were needed (or not). Usually we would pick up linesÂ from other shows at the end of the day.
Kevin- What is your favoriteÂ Hey ArnoldÂ episode?
Anndi- My personal favorite episode was “What’s Opera Arnold?” I have alwaysÂ LOVED opera, which is kind of weird/not entirely normal for a kid, soÂ when we got to show up for work and sing different words to some of myÂ favorite opera music I was in heaven! Harold’s “Big ugly clown” songÂ is HILARIOUS.
Patricia- What was the audition process like for Ashley A. onÂ Recess?
Anndi- To be honest with you, I can’t even remember if I auditioned for thatÂ or not, and if I did, I can’t recall the audition. That was anotherÂ fun show to work on. I’m still close with Paul and Joe (the creators)Â and they are friends with Craig. It’s a small industry…everyoneÂ knows each other! 😉
Kevin- What were your favorite Nickelodeon shows? What do you think of Nickelodeon now?
Anndi- I used to watchÂ Clarissa Explains it AllÂ andÂ Double Dare. I LOVEDÂ both of those shows. Oh, andÂ Fun House.Â Nickelodeon had great gameÂ shows for kids. Man did I want to run through those obstacle courses!Â And of course,Â Hey Arnold. I don’t watch Nickelodeon now because IÂ watch very little TV in general. I’m kind of addicted toÂ MasterpieceÂ ClassicsÂ from the 70s and 80s though. And they’re remaking some nowÂ likeÂ Great ExpectationsÂ andÂ Little DorritÂ which are SO amazing. IÂ LOVE me some Dickens!
Kevin- How does it feel now thatÂ Hey ArnoldÂ has finally got a proper DVD release?
Anndi- I actually did not know it had been released on DVD. It’s a great showÂ so the more people that can enjoy it for as many generation asÂ possible, the better!
Patricia- You also voice characters on video games such asÂ Mass Effect,Â Everquest II, andÂ Final Fantasy XIIIÂ andÂ XIII-2. Are you a gamer? IfÂ so, have you played any of the games you voiced?
Anndi- I was quite a gamer all the way since I could operate an Apple2E allÂ the way through college when I was theÂ Tony HawkÂ champion amongst myÂ friends. After college, it seems like games started getting too
complicated for me so I don’t play very much anymore. My favoriteÂ games growing up were a few in theÂ Final FantasyÂ franchise so when IÂ actually got hired to voice Lebreau inÂ Final Fantasy XIIIÂ (1 and 2) I
I ownÂ Ape Escape 3Â andÂ Everquest 2Â (both of which I amÂ in) but I just can NOT get very far in either. Thank goodness forÂ YouTube! Now I can see my characters in action without having to feelÂ like a complete loser because I lost my video game skills!
Patricia- That’s all the questions we have. Thank you so much, Anndi.
Anndi- Thanks for the questions.
To know more about Anndi, you can check out her official site atÂ http://www.anndi.com/. You can also follow her at Twitter @AnndiMcAfee.
That’s all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon.
-Patricia and Kevin