Newark native finding her voice in Hollywood
Special from the Newark Post
— Growing up in Newark, Kimberly Woods never dreamed of being an actress, instead setting her sights on a career in medicine.
In fact, the 2000 Newark High School graduate never even participated in drama club or acted in a school play.
“I thought I wanted to be a doctor,” Woods, now 33, recalled. “It was a lot of math league and Key Club volunteering.”
That all changed, however, during her freshman year at Princeton University, when she took an acting class.
“That’s when I got bit by the acting bug,” she said.
Woods – who has a degree in neuroscience from Princeton – moved to Los Angeles after college and has spent the past decade finding her footing in Hollywood, both as an actress and, more recently, as a voice-over talent.
Her biggest role to date came this year when she landed a leading voice role in the animated children’s film “Barbie: Star Light Adventure.” The movie had a one-day run in selected theaters last month and will be released on DVD in September.
Woods voiced the character of Sal-Lee, a “galactic hover board champion” who teams up with Barbie on a mission to save the stars, which have begun to dim in the sky.
“She’s a really strong female character and a worldclass athlete,” Woods said. “It starts out that Barbie is intimidated by her skills. That’s pretty cool.”
The character is aloof but over the course of the movie, she – and the audience – learns the importance of working as a team and being a good friend, Woods added.
“She’s a role model, who isn’t ashamed of being as good as she is – so it encourages girls to embrace their talents and not hide them,” she said.
Born in Missouri, Woods was 8 when her father’s job was transferred to the Chrysler plant in Newark and the family moved to Delaware. She lived at Admiral’s Club Apartments near Newark and then moved to Pike Creek, where her parents still live.
Though she didn’t have acting ambitions early on, her distinctive, highpitched voice drew attention from an early age.
As a fifth-grader at Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, she participated in Wilmington’s Youth in City Government program. Participants ran mock political campaigns and gave speeches, after which their classmates voted.
“People always said, ‘We’re voting for Kimberly because we like her voice,’” Woods recalled, laughing.
Her first break in Hollywood came in 2009 when she was cast as a “music video girl” in an episode of the Nickelodeon teen sitcom “iCarly.” Since then, she’s also appeared on BET’s “The Game” and other productions. In addition, she acts in and co-produces a web series called “Chicks Flippin the Script,” which features women parodying male-dominated movies.
Though she spent most of her career focusing on oncamera roles, she recently shifted her attention to voice acting, narrating several commercials, video games, audiobooks and animated shows.
“Just being in the studio reading scripts, that’s my happy place,” Woods said. “It’s what I want to do.”
Shifting from on-camera to voice acting was a bit of an adjustment, because she has to convey emotion and meaning strictly through her voice rather than being able to use gestures and facial expressions, she said. Still, many of the same fundamentals apply.
“Breaking down the character and getting into scenes is very much the same,” she said.
Woods said she’s happy she pursued her passion rather than sticking with her original career goal.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I don’t have any regrets.”
Kimberly Woods poses with a Sal-Lee doll, the character she plays in “Barbie: A Star Light Adventure.”
Kimberly Woods, a 2000 Newark High School graduate, records lines for a recent voice acting project. Woods, 33, has found success in Hollywood as an actress and voice actress.
Kimberly Woods voices Sal-Lee (left) in “Barbie: A Star Light Adventure.”
Kimberly Woods voices Sal-Lee in “Barbie: A Star Light Adventure.”