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.”

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