Sunday, September 16, 2012

Old School Lane's Nickelodeon Tribute: Interview with Anndi McAfee

The smart one: one of the many roles in an animated show that you always include in. In Hey Arnold's 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. 


Besides voicing Phoebe, she's known for many of her voice acting roles such as Ashley A. in Recess, Robyn Sterling in Tom and Jerry: The Movie, The Land Before Time sequels as Cera, The Mass Effect series as Emily Wong, Hermia, and Hallia, and Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2 as Lebrau. Hope you enjoy the interview.

Patricia- What age did you decided that you knew that you wanted to pursue your life into acting?

Anndi- I was born a singer. I was always singing everywhere and at about 7 or 8 years old I started doing musical theater locally in Los Angeles. I 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't decide to act, I was born to do it! ;) I believe my first professional job was singing for a radio spot when I was about 8.

Kevin- What was the audition process like for voicing Phoebe on Hey Arnold?

Anndi- I showed up to the casting offices with a bunch of other kids and read a script into a microphone for the role of Phoebe for Joey Paul (the casting director). At the time, I had very little information about
Phoebe, I just kind of picked a voice just slightly more shy and younger than my own. I found out I was picked for the role a few weeks 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 him an EXCELLENT guy to work with as a kid. He has a ton of patience with his cast members and often lets them just run with their instincts
when it comes to getting into their characters. For example, the little "romance" between Phoebe and Gerald was never written in the script. Jamil and I were just fooling around in character and Craig loved it and went with it!

Kevin- Do you still keep in touch with any of the voice actors from Hey Arnold?

Anndi- I was friendly with all the voice actors. I was the oldest kid and was the first to drive, which made me the coolest! haha. I keep in touch 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 actors around town and we love to reminisce about the good ol days! ;) We are all a super friendly bunch. No one disliked each other or didn't get along.

Kevin- What would a typical day be like for voicing an episode for Hey Arnold?

Anndi- Recording could be a long day because sometimes there were a LOT of kids with a LOT of energy trying to focus on working! But most of the time we got to record as a full cast which was an amazing experience. You truly create something magic when everyone's energies are all working together. Generally we all had the same time we were supposed to be at the recording studio and we would go in and out of the booth as our characters were needed (or not). Usually we would pick up lines from other shows at the end of the day.

Kevin- What is your favorite Hey Arnold episode?

Anndi- My personal favorite episode was "What's Opera Arnold?" I have always LOVED opera, which is kind of weird/not entirely normal for a kid, so when we got to show up for work and sing different words to some of my favorite opera music I was in heaven! Harold's "Big ugly clown" song is HILARIOUS.

Patricia- What was the audition process like for Ashley A. on Recess?

Anndi- To be honest with you, I can't even remember if I auditioned for that or not, and if I did, I can't recall the audition. That was another fun show to work on. I'm still close with Paul and Joe (the creators) and they are friends with Craig. It's a small industry...everyone knows each other! ;)


Kevin- What were your favorite Nickelodeon shows? What do you think of Nickelodeon now?

Anndi- I used to watch Clarissa Explains it All and Double Dare. I LOVED both of those shows. Oh, and Fun House. Nickelodeon had great game shows for kids. Man did I want to run through those obstacle courses! And of course, Hey Arnold. I don't watch Nickelodeon now because I watch very little TV in general. I'm kind of addicted to Masterpiece Classics from the 70s and 80s though. And they're remaking some now like Great Expectations and Little Dorrit which are SO amazing. I LOVE me some Dickens!

Kevin- How does it feel now that Hey Arnold has finally got a proper DVD release?

Anndi- I actually did not know it had been released on DVD. It's a great show so the more people that can enjoy it for as many generation as possible, the better!

Patricia- You also voice characters on video games such as Mass Effect, Everquest II, and Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2. Are you a gamer? If 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 all the way through college when I was the Tony Hawk champion amongst my friends. After college, it seems like games started getting too
complicated for me so I don't play very much anymore. My favorite games growing up were a few in the Final Fantasy franchise so when I actually got hired to voice Lebreau in Final Fantasy XIII (1 and 2) I

I own Ape Escape 3 and Everquest 2 (both of which I am in) but I just can NOT get very far in either. Thank goodness for YouTube! Now I can see my characters in action without having to feel 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 at 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

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