In between her acting work on “Only Fools and Horses” and “Emmerdale”, and her voiceover work on the BBC, Discovery Channel and numerous documentaries, it’s safe to say that Andree Bernard is one of the UK’s sweethearts. We were excited to learn a little bit more about what has made her so successful…
We know you are both an actor and a VO artist. What did you pursue first?
I’ve been an actor all my life: my love for acting starting at about 6 years old!
What led you into the world of voiceover?
Voice overs for me started from acting in radio plays and then being asked to narrate documentaries. I was fortunate to be encouraged to pursue voiceover and that side of my career has steadily grown over the past 25 years.
What are some differences between acting and voiceover? Can one can help the other?
I find that acting and voiceovers complement each other perfectly. Having worked with directors all my life as an actor, taking on notes and feedback becomes second nature and that’s a great asset to have for VO. Voiceovers have helped my speed reading and reading scripts on the hoof, which is a skill that’s an asset when acting.
What was your first gig? Any memorable ones since then?
My first professional TV gig was dancing on The Two Ronnies at 15! My first professional theatre gig was the musical Cabaret at 16 at the Queens Theatre Hornchurch. Memorable West End shows were definitely Hair and playing Cassie in A Chorus Line (a lifelong dream). A memorable voiceover gig recently would be narrating the beautiful climate change documentary The Longest Day; I loved every second.
What did it feel like the first time you saw yourself on TV?
Very exciting! We are talking 39 years ago and there was only terrestrial TV back then. I was still at school and being on “the telly” was quite a big deal for a school kid from Kent!
What are you up to presently?
Like everyone, I’m looking forward to the arts and work coming back fully. It’s been such a challenge over the past 18 months. My voice-overs from home have been a lifeline but it’s great to get back to the Soho facilities. I’ve just recorded a Christmas TV ad and I’m working on a couple of workshop productions for new plays. I’ve also been filming for the anniversary of TV sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I’m doing what I dreamt of doing when I was a small child and I’m lucky to immerse myself in imagination and creativity. Working with creatives and technicians at the top of their game is a joy.
Any acting and VO idols/mentors?
My VO idol is the incomparable Miriam Margoles. Also, James Smillie is a good friend and I love his diversity of work: we first worked together in the RSC’s Kiss Me Kate at The Old Vic theatre. My mentor of recent years is Steven Berkoff who I’ve been fortunate to work closely with for several years and continue to learn so much from him.
If you weren’t doing VO and acting, what else do you think you’d be doing for a career?
A tough question but probably Interior Design or Architecture.
Has technology/home studios changed the way you work?
Definitely. I’ve had to majorly up my technical skills and do much more editing and processing than before. However, I’ve actually really enjoyed the continued learning and have found my inner geek!
Can you offer 3 helpful tips for newbies trying to make it in the voice-over industry?
- Find your own voice. Once you land on your USP, that’s the way to go.
- Even reading one news article out loud each day keeps you fresh
- You can hear tension in a voice, so, be you and enjoy!
And now…onto the more serious questions!
You have to choose between invisibility or flying…which would you choose, and why?
Flying. Firstly, how incredible and freeing that would be. Secondly, I wouldn’t have to find petrol and be stuck in traffic.
A song plays every time you entered a room…what song would you pick and why?
Les Fleurs by Minnie Riperton, I just love it and it always makes me smile.
And finally….If you were a brand, what would your slogan be?
She Bounces Back!