Cristina “Vee” Valenzuela could be described as the black sheep of her family. “I’m actually the only artist in the entire family—ever! I’m the first,” she laughs. The daughter of immigrant parents, Valenzuela grew up in the Los Angeles area. “People in my hometown didn’t become artists or do anything creative. It was very much like a grind. Or, you’d get married young,” says Valenzuela.
The successful voice actor, producer, director, and musician shared with us during this year’s Anime Weekend Atlanta that she was expected to pursue a more traditional career like medicine. Despite her relatives’ best efforts, she knew that wasn’t the profession for her, saying jokingly, “I don’t like blood or guts…I can watch scary movies and I can go to those haunted houses, but if it’s like in real life, I will faint.”
The world of anime will forever be grateful that she chose to veer in a different direction. The list of projects she has lent her talents to is far too long to review here (she estimates she’s done hundreds of voices over the course of her career), but the highlight reel includes Sailor Mars on “Sailor Moon,” “Puella Magi Madoka Magica,” and “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Sailor Mars will always have a special place in her heart since it was “Sailor Moon” that inspired her to pursue voice acting in the first place.
She encourages up-and-coming voice actors who seek to follow in her footsteps to stay dedicated to the craft. “You have to work at it as if you were going to be a doctor because that’s as much time as it takes,” Valenzuela says. She also advises to not get caught up in stereotypes about the business, saying, “It’s not like on-camera acting where I feel like you have to be very cutthroat. I feel like some people think that’s how they have to be to be a voice actor. But it’s a different crowd and people just want to relax really. There aren’t any divas or anything, so be cool and be chill.”
Today, Valenzuela adores being the voice of Ladybug on the Nickelodeon and Disney Channel show, “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir.” She says, “It’s great because I got to see it from like the ground up… and to watch it grow from nobody knowing anything about it to having this huge fan base has been really cool.”
In addition to her voice work, Valenzuela also recorded a song for the show. It didn’t make the final cut, but that minor setback didn’t douse her passion for music. “I’ve never pursued it as seriously as voice-over because, for me, it was always hand-in-hand,” she says. However, it appears music will be playing a bigger role in Valenzuela’s future career plans. “I’m doing a lot more music stuff and it’s been really great. It’s nice to be able to just kind of work at my own pace,” she concludes.
Interviewed by Rico Figliolini during the Anime Weekend Atlanta
Article written by Alex McCray
A piano cover of It’s Ladybug, the opening theme song for Miraculous Ladybug by Cristina Vee and Nathan Sharp (NateWantsToBattle)