Interview with the voice of Sombra: Carolina Ravassa

Hey everyone it’s Maleok here! This time around I have an interviewed which was so much fun to conduct. I was able to chat with Carolina Ravassa, the charming and talented voice behind one of the most anticipated characters of 2016! Please enjoy this peek into the background of the voice behind Sombra!




Maleok: In the most general sense could you tell us who you are and what you do?


Carolina Ravassa: I’m Colombian — I was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. My parents are both from there. On my mom’s side I have a grandma from Wisconsin though, so  I grew up speaking English and Spanish, and it helped since my dad spent a lot of time in England as a kid so we all spoke both languages..  I do have a lot of both in me. I look very white, so I probably wouldn’t have booked Sombra if it was a live-action thing. But Sombra is all about my voice, and so it’s really cool that I get to be her, and it doesn’t matter what I look like. But anyway, I moved to the States when I was 18 to study theatre at Boston College, and then moved to New York to continue in film, and then started working with my agents who got me the audition for Sombra. I’ve done a lot of commercial stuff, both in English and Spanish. I lived in Brazil for awhile so I also speak Portuguese. That’s how I got my gig on Max Payne 3, because it takes place in Sao Paulo. That was my first video game gig. And then GTA5. But Sombra was always Mexican, so I’ve been able to work a lot with different accents that way.


Maleok: What initially piqued your interest about performing?


Carolina: I always joke that I was a hyper child and  auditioned for chorus role at school when I was 4, and I got it, so I liked that first experience on-stage, and then did a play..  and since I was a kid, I loved performing, so I just kept doing it. And when I applied for college, I thought “this is the only thing I think I’m really good at.”  I loved writing, and painting, so I knew I wanted to do something in the arts. So that was it. I kind of always knew, and never really questioned whether I wanted to keep doing it. A lot of people waver or don’t really know what they want to do in life, and I’ve always known, so that’s a nice feeling.


Maleok: You seem to do more on-screen work than voiceover. Is there a reason you prefer that medium over stage or voice?


Carolina: First of all, I answered another question for a different interview where they asked me how I got into voice acting. I don’t really consider myself a “voice actor” — I just consider myself an actor. I was talking to Crispin Freeman, and he primarily does voice work. But for me, I thought we were all just actors who also did voice work, but there are a lot of people who just do voice work. Anyway… I studied theatre and I loved it. And when I got to New York, I started doing a bunch of independent films. I’ve always just gotten more auditions for film and TV. It’s just the way it’s worked out. I’ve been travelling a lot because I’ve gotten some international productions. And they’re not Hollywood things — mostly small indie films — but I have a knack for languages and accents, so I’ve gotten to travel a lot because of it, and it’s been neat.


Maleok: Is there a way you go about developing accents or new dialects?


Carolina: When I was a kid, I always imitated people. My dad went to boarding school in England so sometimes he would say stuff in a British accent. My parents had a German friend who would come over and  I would imitate her. I liked accents, and I didn’t know if I was good at them until college when we did a play that had different accents and we worked with accent coaches. I guess speaking English and Spanish helped with that, and I studied Italian when I was 16, so I got that down. And I lived in Brazil, so I know Portuguese. I think having languages really helps with that, because you’re listening to get the accent properly in that language.


Maleok: How has working with Blizzard specifically been so far?


Carolina: It’s been great. Blizzard employs incredible people. Andrea directed me via internet from LA, so I never met her until Blizzcon, but even when she had to leave for two sessions,  I did them with another director who’s also incredible. They’re so generous and giving. If I wasn’t getting a line, we would just work on it until we got it. When you can’t see someone direct you, it can be anxiety-inducing because you want to know you’re doing a good job, and she always reaffirmed that. And meeting everyone at the wrap party, we were geeking out over meeting them, but they were geeking out over meeting us. It was so exciting to know that they were so excited, and they’re all just lovely people.


Maleok: Most games you just record the one time, and you’re done. But with Overwatch they obviously have all these lines, and interactions and events that come out. How active with them have you been?


Carolina: So far, nothing else. I started recording Sombra in August, and finished my last session with them in September, then she launched in November. I think there will be more stuff coming, but I don’t know when. When the time is right they’ll call.


Maleok: Overwatch has gotten amazing reception. How does that feel to you being a part of it, now that you’ve grasped the scope to a degree?


Carolina: It’s been surreal, and wonderful and exciting. I feel like I understand her, like I knew what kind of tone she required. I love the fans, and that people dig playing her, and have favorite lines. I didn’t know that was a thing. So it’s been exciting. And I love that she’s the first Hispanic hero. So I just feel proud to be a part of that. And I love that she’s not a stereotype. She’s not there to be a sexy Latina — she’s smart and badass. It’s an incredible world they’ve created.


Maleok: You’ve only done a handful of video game roles. Do you feel that Overwatch has opened you up to you more voice roles in the future?


Carolina: Totally. Overwatch is huge. It’s given me followers, and once my agents can use this as leverage, I think it helps. And meeting the Blizzard family was amazing. I’d love to continue doing voice work.


Maleok: Sombra isn’t necessarily one of the “good guys”. Did you feel any connection with her, or did you go to an emotional place whenever you played her?


Carolina: I don’t know why I connected so well to her tone. I audition a lot for agents and cops and badass chicks who have to work harder to make stuff happen, so something about her mystery and smarts connected. I don’t know where I sunk in. I just understand badass chicks, I guess. I like that she’s a little jaded. Nothing phases her. I like that.


Maleok: How have fans treated you and how do you usually come across them?

Carolina: Mostly on Twitter. Instagram is growing. 99% of them have just shown a lot of love. They love the voice, and they love Sombra, or they want to know what I think of her, or what my favorite skins are, and I don’t think about these things. I just play her. One guy didn’t have a nice tweet, but I just ignored that. I didn’t care. I’ve gotten fan art, and one fan sent chocolate to my manager’s office.


Maleok: I always love exploring this next train of thought with people, how does it make you feel that tens of thousands of people hear your voice every day; So many people love Sombra and have her as their favorite or main character, how does that prospect make you feel?

Carolina: That’s insane! It’s crazy. It’s crazy. It’s crazy. I have no words. It’s exciting. I hope it opens up more work for me in voice and on camera. I was watching the actor panel for StarCraft or World of Warcraft and they’ve been doing the voice for years, and I thought “Oh my God. If Overwatch keeps going… I’ve never had something that just grows.” To me, it’s a crazy thought that I’m Sombra until they get tired of my voice or something.


Maleok: Finally, my traditional last question is, do you think you will be doing this for the rest of your life?


Carolina: Oh my God, yes. The going gets tough sometimes, but you gotta keep going. I’ve never considered quitting. Some gigs are better than others, and it pushes you forward, and then you work a bit harder, and then something like Sombra comes along, and it helps a lot. I hope I act until I die.

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I'm a video game journalist and I love what I do. Interviewed more people than I can count on both hands (and feet) Including: Imagine Dragons, Liam O'brien, Nicki Taylor, and more!