Catching Up With the Voice of She-Ra, Melendy Britt
By Noah Michelson
Last year I interviewed Samantha Newark, who was the voice of Jem from Jem and the Holograms, and we chatted about how when a character has a secret identity, as both She-Ra and Jem do, it's easy for queer people to identify with them. There's something about being a young queer person and seeing this character that has something hidden inside of them that makes them special -- that's really appealing.
Strangely enough -- or sadly enough -- not only with gay people but with so many people I've heard from, there are parts of themselves they had to hide from their parents because they didn't approve of it or whatever. A person's individuality maybe sometimes has to be hidden because you have to be very careful to whom you speak. And I think children are very aware of that.
I do, too. I don't think people always give kids enough credit.
No, not at all. Not at all. They're so much smarter than we think they are.
They're re-releasing the She-Ra episodes on DVD, but I think that kids have changed a lot in the last 25 years. Do you think She-Ra will appeal to today's younger generation?
Oh, I hope you're not right about that. How do you mean that "they've changed"?
I guess I'm kind of scared of -- and scared for -- kids today. When I was growing up I was such a dork and I was so innocent compared to a lot of kids out there now. I just feel like they grow up so much more quickly than we did in the '80s. With She-Ra, the show's message seems very innocent compared to a lot of what's out there now and I wonder if it's too innocent for kids.
I don't know. I think that kids have been traumatized -- literally traumatized -- and I think it's important that we do put things in front of them that do bring a different perspective. Because there might be that one moment when something isn't working and they're looking for another answer. A fan created a website a few years ago and she would send me emails from people who would say that they let their children watch the series. Granted as they got older they didn't want to watch it, they wanted to do other things and they were really bombarded with other sorts of media. But if you can just put one spot in there where they might connect with something, someone will connect -- whether it's everyone, I don't know. But someone will connect.
How plugged into the She-Ra fan community are you? Do you go to the conventions?
I haven't ever been to the Comic-Cons. I think a few years ago I was asked to go but it didn't work out. I do have a girl who was a fan of She-Ra who started a fan site and subsequently she's had like four kids, so she hasn't had much time to do anything [laughs] but now she's got it back up again and she's going to accept more emails and I'll get those and I'll keep in touch with those people because I'm very grateful. It's so nice to have been a part of it.
What else have you been up to lately?
I still do voice-overs for commercials and animations, and I teach and coach some voice-over students. I call myself semiretired because I haven't done any on-camera in at least 10 years and I'm not even looking for a theatrical agent, which I probably should have, but I just didn't do it. I just want a simpler and more creative life and I find the business has changed so much that there are times when I would walk into a place and my heart would start pounding because the vibration was so frenetic. It's not something that I want to get into. I still rode horses until just this year, but I did something to my back. I'm hoping to get back into that as soon as I can.