Probably best known as the voice of Ash Ketchum during the first eight seasons of the English dubbed Pokémon TV series, Veronica Taylor, a.k.a. Kathleen McInerney, is an accomplished voice actor who has worked on a number of popular TV shows and video games.
She says that every voice actor’s path is different, but it started for her when she began acting at five years old.
“I did all the plays in school, I have a bachelors and a masters in acting, I toured with a bunch of theatre, and all of that informed my ‘voice acting career,’ ” she says.
An acting coach recommended Taylor for a voice acting audition, which she booked, and from there she was asked to audition for other parts and “that kind of built on itself.”
For those interested in pursuing a voice acting career, she recommends training, “because it helps you to build character, to know what your objective is in a scene. Also, just working on things, because a lot of it is cold readings, meaning you have no rehearsal, you don’t get to read the script ahead, you just start acting—so it’s kind of like improv, but with written word.”
She adds that networking is another added bonus of formal training.
Taylor was in town recently for the Edmonton Expo and greeted fans of all ages. Back when she was first invited to voice Ash, she had no idea how big of a phenomena Pokémon would end up being.
“I don’t think any of us could have foreseen—even now, 22 years later—that we’d still be talking about, and watching, and playing Pokémon,” she says.
The show has been a part of Taylor’s life for so long that she has watched fans grow up.
“I have seen some people when they were 10, when they were 20, [and] now that they’re 30,” she says.
Some of the fans who were in elementary school when she first met them now even have kids of their own.
“I do think, ultimately, it’s the heart of the story that keeps people involved, because from Ash’s point of view, it’s the journey, the struggle, [and] we can all relate to it,” she says.
Even though Taylor is no longer part of the show, she was excited to learn that Ash has finally become a Pokémon League champion.
“That’s super exciting!” she says. “I’m only in the first eight years of the show, so I didn’t get to win that episode, but I think we all feel it, and isn’t it a testament to community and how when we all support one another, when one of us wins, we all win? And that’s what we’ve seen even in this outpouring of joy online.”
Currently, Taylor says she’s doing a lot of audio books and video games. She is the voice of Manuela in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which was released in July, and is the voice of Tokio on Netflix’s Rilakkuma to Kaorusan.
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