Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I am very excited to bring you an interview with voice actress Lara Jill Miller. You may know her best as ‘Kari’ on Digimon, ‘Clifford’ on Clifford’s Puppy Days, ‘Lambie’ on Doc McStuffins, and many other memorable roles. In this interview we talk about Lara’s career as a stage, on-camera, and voice actress, how she feels about reprising her Digimon Adventure Tri (let’s cross our fingers that the movies get a U.S. dub!), what to look out for from her next, and so much more! So now let’s get to the part that y’all came here for…the interview. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
Celinda: Hi Lara, first of all I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.
Lara: Thank you for asking me, Celinda.
Celinda: So I want to begin by asking you about your role as Amaryllis in the Broadway production of The Music Man, which starred Dick Van Dyke. What was it like to work with such an iconic actor at such an early stage in your career, and how do you think this experience shaped you as an entertainer?
Lara: Dick Van Dyke was amazing. So funny, so talented. I was so thrilled to meet him at my audition for the show, I couldn’t believe I was actually meeting the guy from CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG and MARY POPPINS! I was really little when I met him and I remember shaking his hand and seeing his really long feet in white sneakers, and then looking all the way up to his head, WAYYY up there.
Touring in the show, and then performing on Broadway was a spectacular experience overall. Traveling all over the US for the first time was really exciting. I love performing live and had a lot of experience in the years prior at a local dinner theatre in my hometown. Dancing and singing is a great joy of mine, and that made me realize I was born to do this.
Celinda: That sounds like such a cool experience! So, you’re widely known for your role as Samantha on the 6 seasons of the television show Gimme A Break. When the show ended Samantha was beginning her new life as a college student, and you also later earned a college degree yourself, so there was a very cool life imitating art aspect there. Were there any other similarities between you and Samantha, and how do you think growing up on the set of a sitcom shaped you as a person?
Lara: Well, I’m the youngest of 3 daughters, so there’s that. And I was pretty much a tomboy, but I certainly didn’t wear overalls like my character Samantha, NOR play with WORMS! I loved Nell as much as Samantha did. And well, when I got my braces off and got my hair cut, so did my character on TV!
Growing up on a set really made me – well – grow up. I learned a lot about responsibility, being professional, a great work ethic. And also I became a better performer over the years, comic timing and such. I also learned that when you’re a celebrity, people treat you differently, but that it can all change in an instant, so one should never take anything for granted. I loved and appreciated all the years on the show. Unlike many child stars, I really loved my life and came out unscathed, no drugs, no alcohol, nothing. My parents were wonderful and supportive and not pushy. I learned a lot about ‘show business’ – both parts: the show AND the business!
Celinda: Wow that is such a profound answer, and so true, many people forget about the business part of the industry. Well, a lot of your fans (myself included) might know you best from your role as Kari on Digimon. When it was announced that Digimon was coming back to continue the story of the 8 original characters, the internet went into a frenzy. How does it feel to have fans still get really excited about a project you did 15 years ago?
Lara: Love hearing from you and all the fans! Digimon was my first animated gig. Lots of great memories. And well, yah! It feels GREAT to hear that people love the project and love Kari. If the show comes back to the US for a US dub, I’d love to be the grown up Kari.
Celinda: I think I can speak for all of your fans when I say that we would love to hear you voice adult Kari. So, another voice-over role that a lot of fans know you from is Clifford’s Puppy Days, how did this experience differ from your experiences working on Anime?
Lara: Anime is dubbed after the fact. Clifford’s Puppy Days (and some of my other shows like Juniper Lee, Wubbzy, Curious George, SciGirls, Hugglemonsters, Doc, etc…oh, and also the new Nick show I’m working on…) are original animation. We record first and then they draw the character TO US… We CREATE the roles. And for most of these shows, we record together as a cast. That’s fun.
Celinda: That does sound really fun. One of the many shows that you’re working on at the moment is Doc McStuffins on Disney Junior. This show has been widely praised for it’s educational aspects, how does it feel to know that shows you’ve worked on such as Doc McStuffins and SciGirls are influencing your audience to become more interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects?
Lara: I’m so honored and thrilled to be a part of these shows. Doc McStuffins is changing the world! Really! What a concept to be a part of such a big thing, right? I love playing Lambie. And Izzie on SciGirls – what a brilliant show! I hope that with both shows, we make a difference!
Celinda: I’m sure both shows will have a huge positive influence on your audience. So what are some of the major differences between preparing for a recording session for a voice-over project, versus an on-camera job?
Lara: Make-up…or lack thereof! And wardrobe. Although sometimes I like picking out cute outfits to record in… although they must be quiet clothes. You know, mic-worthy.
The thing with animation, we don’t have to memorize lines, but I do read the scripts, and prepare ad libs, etc, ahead of time. Also each week for Doc and Hugglemonsters we have to learn songs, harmonies. There’s a lot of preparation for that.
Celinda: Wow, I never would have thought about a lot of that, particularly the mic-worthy clothes. Lastly are there any upcoming projects that your fans should look out for, and is there anything that you would like to say to any of your fans who are reading this interview?
Lara: Oh yah! There’s a new Nickelodeon show! And… that’s about all I’m allowed to say right now! Go to my FB Page and/or follow me on Twitter for updates. I’m not THAT active on those social media pages, but I’m trying! And I love hearing from fans! The nice ones (which I’m SURE the ones reading this are!) And well, thanks for reading this. I feel very lucky that I get to do what I love to do and that so many people love what I do, too. Thank you for that.
Celinda: Thank you again for taking the time to speak with me Lara.
Lara: Thank YOU Celinda! And thanks again to all your readers for reading this!
Keep up with everything Lara is doing:
Facebook: Lara Jill Miller
Check out these clips to see a couple of the AWESOME characters Lara has voiced! (you can check out more clips on Lara’s official website, which is linked above):
‘Kari’ – Digimon (You can hear Lara’s voice beginning at 0:04)
‘Lambie’ – Doc McStuffins (You can hear Lara’s voice beginning at 1:04)