ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Many of us grew up watching cartoons, but one St. Pete woman grew up wanting to be a cartoon.
Those dreams came true for MJ Lallo. She voiced dozens of animated characters during her 20 years working in Hollywood.
Lallo remembers getting in trouble a lot as a kid for doing voices in school
“I remember going into the principal’s office once and he was like, ‘why do you do this Jerry Lewis thing,’” said Lallo.
Lallo never imagined what landed her in detention would also land her in Hollywood voicing all sorts of characters from dogs to fish to kids.
“The whole thing is to jump into this other part of yourself,” said Lallo.
She ended up opening her own studio. She said animation was more like domination.
“Right now if you go on Netflix and go to the childrens' section have you seen how many things when you scroll down are all cartoons,” said Lallo.
Eventually, Lallo decided to trade the glamour of LA for the relaxation of St. Pete.
“It’s ok to party down a little bit, but I still like to do voices all the time,” said Lallo.
In 2020, Lallo found herself in demand once again.
“Just being around her, she’s just so enthusiastic and so funny it makes it easy for her to just play,” said Olga Kruse.
As the number of COVID-19 cases rose, so too did the need for voice-over work. Kruse is one of a handful of local actors who leaned on Lallo for coaching.
“I don’t have to travel, I don’t have to live in New York anymore, I don’t have to live in LA or a big city to get voice-over work, it can happen at home,” said Kruse.
Lallo said she continues to develop new voices every day. Looking around her house, you don’t know what toy or picture is going to speak up next.
For more information, go to creatingvoices.com.