by R.C. Samo
Avid gamers know her as Oerba Yun Fang, the rough and tumble Australian vixen from the Final Fantasy series or as Sara Sidle in CSI: Fatal Conspiracy. Fans of the hit MTV series Celebrity Deathmatch will remember her as the voice of Pamela Anderson and Verne Troyer; animation fans may hear a familiarity in the voice of Empress Megaria in Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters; while Anime aficionados will recognize her as Zorin Blitz in Hellsing Ultimate. But who is Rachel Robinson, the woman behind all theses voice?
“You don’t need a lifetime of training, but having some definitely helps. I was always a great mimic and a very good listener,” said Robinson, who holds a BFA from Syracuse University. She has often said that she sometimes learn better on the fly, which stems from Robinson’s musical training, which she describes as invaluable.
Before returning to Los Angeles and pursuing a career in voice acting, Robinson lived in Colorado working at The Ice House Lodge and Camel’s Garden Hotels. While residing in the Centennial State, she enjoyed her down time skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, ice climbing and a host of other seasonal activities that add to her life experiences.
The youngest of four, Robinson’s father was a literary agent, who helped teach her the value of reading, storytelling, articulation and quick thinking, while her mother is a music teacher, who implemented 10 years of classical piano training and supported Rachel’s love of rhythm, timing and the beauty of sound. She was also a fine artist for years and drew or painted on virtually any surface she could get her hands on.
In high school, Robinson’s first experience with voice acting was the tutelage of Larry Moss, the world-renowned dialect coach; there she found her gift for accents and when a life in the vocal arts began to take form.
While performing was always in her blood, the acting bug finally bit and she began studying voice acting for commercials and animation with Dolores Diehl, who Robinson refers to as, “…a great, funny broad.”
After receiving her training under Diehl and other greats like Pat Fraley, Bob Bergen and Ginny McSwain, a distant relative put Robinson in touch with someone who owned a studio where she could start solid training and eventually cut a demo, and from there she ventured into the world of voice acting.
“I can’t believe I’m doing this. I feel that if you choose what you want to be good at something and you enjoy it, then you should do it,” said Robinson who is a 13-year veteran who has performed in everything from video games to PSAs to Coca-Cola commercials.
Robinson has said that video game voice acting is more realistic and relies on the emotional side, like with Fang, who is jaded only because in the world that character lives in, life can end at almost any moment.
“I recently took a video game class with Zach Hanks, a wonderful voice actor and teacher. Video game acting is more dramatic and often a bit more “adult” than standard animation, said Robinson.
Robinson is a very honest and straightforward person; something that is very rare and quite refreshing in Hollywood. She is one of the most appreciative actors for every opportunity she’s ever earned and gives this piece of advice for anyone who aspires to succeed in any industry.
“Respect what you do, and have respect for your peers. I’m grateful when someone appreciates what I do. I’m not curing cancer, but if I’m making someone happy, I’m doing something right. Always aspire for more, because you’re never done learning,” said Robinson.
In addition to planning on continuing her VO career for as long as she can speak, Robinson still sometimes fantasizes about also being in a rock n’ roll cover band. Keyboards or vocals.
You can find out more about Rachel Robinson at www.rachel-robinson.com
Follow her on Twitter @larynx-lynx