Hey Moonies! Once again as part of our celebration of the 15th Anniversary of the English Version of Sailor Moon, we present to you an interview! This time, with Tracey Hoyt, the first actress to play Rini! Tracey has had a very interesting and varied acting career from comedy to drama to cartoons, and we're excited to bring this to you all today!
TH: You are most welcome! I'm well, thanks. It's been a busy one, which seems to be the norm these days.
MC: How did you get started in acting?
TH: I was doing plays from the time I was in nursery school. My mother says that at age 3, I was impersonating family members, actors in TV commercials and celebrities, so I guess I've always been a bit of a mimic. Once I got my first laugh, my fate was sealed.
MC: How did you get started in comedy and with the Second City in Toronto?
TH: I moved to Toronto in my second-last year of high school. I was a huge fan of the SCTV series and decided to sign up for Improvisation classes at the Second City Old Fire Hall. This was not only an excellent way to learn the basics of acting, but to feel more comfortable in a big city after many years of small town and suburban living.
I took 36 weeks of classes. Then I was asked to audition for the National Touring Company, which was a huge surprise. I was the youngest one there and truly worried about having to quit school when I got hired. Naturally, I didn't!!!
I went on to earn my theatre degree at York University, then did a shorter-term, advanced Improv program at Second City, which ended in a show that we wrote and performed. Then I auditioned again and joined the company.
I was lucky to tour Canada for 9 blissful months while understudying the talented Lindsay Leese on the main stage in Toronto whenever she got a film or TV gig. This was the best training of my life and I couldn't believe my luck.
MC: Have you ever done any standup comedy? If not, would this be something you'd be interested in?
TH: I did it once – at a wonderful show directed by a Second City colleague, Jerry Schaeffer. We all got a suggestion from the audience and had a very limited time (30 minutes?) to write our act or "bit." I thought it would be terrifying, but since I was allowed to read it - as opposed to memorizing it – the experience was a total blast.
Once was enough. Stand-up was something I had always wanted to try! I have enormous respect for the craft and have many dear friends who are brave enough to do this job night after night.
MC: Are you still teaching any improv and/or involved with improv nowadays?
TH: I taught Improv at The Second City Training Centre in Toronto for 8 years, and loved the experience. I taught all of the basic levels and specialized in Character. I also taught a Monologue class with my dear friend Melody Johnson – who just directed the most recent Second City Toronto Review.
I use Improv at every audition, every booking and in my day-to-day life. It's the best training I could have ever asked for – as an actor and a human being. (The entire premise of Improv is simply saying: "Yes!")
Recently, I've been taking an Improv class with a fantastic group of women in the business. Being a student again has been completely liberating!
MC: Supertown Challenge was a wonderful show that was hosted by Colin Mochrie! I enjoyed watching your character Sue Vandetelli work her feisty character through the mock game show – what was it like working with Colin Mochrie? What did you take away from your work on this interesting concept for a show? Had you even heard of many of the small towns used in the show?
TH: Thanks for the compliment! Sue was a really fun character to play because she had absolutely no sense of humour!
Colin is lovely. In fact, Supertown was actually our second time working together. In 1994, we were both in a stage production of The Brady Bunch Live in Toronto. Colin played Mr. Mike Brady and I played Marcia! Colin is humble, focused and absolutely hilarious.
We recorded 2 live-to-tape shows once a week with a studio audience. Actually, it was a lot like doing theatre, which I loved. This show imposed a lot of discipline: read the scripts, learn the scripts and shoot the scripts!
The best thing I took away from Supertown was bonding with co-star Katherine Ashby, who is now one of my dearest friends in the world.
I had definitely heard of some of the small towns and still think of the show when I hear the names!
MC: Aurora Farqueson was a riot in The Tournament! Was it hard to find the humor in this character since she works at the family funeral home? Since this show was a lot like a reality show, was there any room for improv? How much of the show was improvised?
TH: What's hilarious to me is that Sue Vanditelli (from Supertown) was sort of the kernel for the character of Aurora! (There are some distinct similarities, vocally and physically!)
It wasn't hard to find the humour in Aurora at all because she was really intense! The toughest part about playing Aurora was that it was very hard for me not to laugh when I worked with Richard Jutras, the brilliant Montreal actor who played my (estranged) husband Hal. That show was a serious lesson in focus for me!
This show was brilliantly written and the producers and directors were generous in leaving the camera rolling after our one-on-one monologues. Some of the best gems in the series came from those moments.
This was definitely the most enjoyable series I've ever worked on. Being in such a brilliant ensemble cast was a dream come true and I still miss playing Aurora 5 years later! It was the only series I've worked on where I put make-up on after work.
MC: Did The Tournament change your perspective on hockey?
TH: Okay, I'll confess that I have never been a hockey fan. When I was a little girl and my Dad used to watch NHL games, I'd pretend to be a model selling the TV and its features during the commercial breaks!
The Tournament made me realize that certain Hockey parents are just as frightening as certain Stage parents!
Oh, and I learned that cheering for your team can really hurt your voice! (Especially when the game is being filmed at 5:00 a.m.)
MC: Me Bear was a pretty egotistical bear in the Care Bears Big Wish Movie! Was this a fun or challenging role to play?
TH: Me Bear was so much fun to voice and, as usual, work felt like play. She was an even bigger brat than Rini ever was!
Chibi Ginger: Was it strange in the Care Bears movie to also work with the other Rini (Stephanie Beard)?
TH: I actually didn't record with Stephanie. My sessions were always with Steven Ouimette and Ron Rubin, the other "Bad" bears!
MC (NOTE): Ron played Artemis!
MC and fan Salvatore: How did you find out about auditions for Sailor Moon and get the role of Rini?
TH: I got the very first Sailor Moon audition through my wonderful voice agent. I remember auditioning for lots of roles, as range is a plus in dubbing and animation work. I played lots of incidental characters besides Rini.
sailormoonisthebest5: How old were you when you voiced Rini?
TH: Very, very young. (Nice try, sailormoonisthebest5!)
Chibi Ginger: Did you know about the change in names from the Japanese dub (ex: Chibiusa changed to Rini, and Sailor Chibi Moon changed to Sailor Mini Moon)
TH: Not initially, but one of the directors explained it to me later in the series.
MC: Your voice for Rini is a lot more higher pitched than your natural voice – was it difficult to maintain the voice for long recording sessions? How did you come up with the right voice for this "sweet little character"?
TH: Great questions! Much like Linda Ballantyne mentioned in her interview. I could only record for up to 4 hours in one day. The amount of energy alone to play Rini was very demanding and yes, her voice could really take its toll!
Rini's voice was inspired by a dear friend of mine. She had an absolutely endearing voice. I exaggerated it considerably, but Rini's sweetness all came from her.
joanholland2: what was it like to play sailor moon's little girl, and did you know Rini was Serena's daughter when you were hired by Dic?
TH: It was a lot of fun to play someone so small and often bratty!
I had been told that Rini was Sailor Moon's daughter. It took me awhile to wrap my head around that, but since I was an Improviser, I just thought, "Okay, great! Now let's get to it!"
MC: Did you like playing Rini before or after she became a Sailor Scout/Senshi?
TH: Well, I recall the battle cries got even more fun after!
esahC: How did you view Rini's character?
TH: I liked that Rini wasn't all one note. Sometimes she was very poignant. Other times she was up to no good. And often, she was very strong. I liked that there were lots of emotions to take her through.
MusicallyObsessedBoi: What do you think is cuter? A) a baby or B) Pink Sugar Heart Attack*
TH: Ooh. That's tough. I'm partial to both, M.O.B.!
*I had to do a Google search to find out what that meant:
joanholland2: What's your favorite thing about Rini?
TH: When she had to run and pant! Always the most hilarious parts of the recording session!
Oh, and the time she got to sing to Tuxedo Mask!
MusicallyObsessedBoi: Where you ever told what the official spelling of Rini was? (Rini, Reenee, Riney, Riny, etc.)
TH: The only spelling I ever saw was "Rini."
MC: Did you ever watch the original Japanese episodes with subtitles before you recorded them? Have you ever watched them otherwise? If yes, what did you think of them in comparison to the English version?
TH: I had to watch them before every recording – one scene at a time. Then I'd "match" the action and emotion of each scene in English.
I hadn't seen the Japanese versions before that.
(Naturally, I loved our Canadian English versions, but it was so much fun to hear the original Japanese voice actors' interpretations.)
MC: Could you please describe what it was like to record an episode? How many episodes a week did you record?
TH: It was pretty fast & furious, as I recall. We'd record quite a few episodes at a 4-hour session, but I can't recall the exact number. I think I once recorded an entire movie (or maybe 2!) in one 4-hour session.
MC: What was your favorite episode to record and why? Did you like working on the movies more than you did the episodes?
TH: I think it was the one where I got to sing. Please don't ask me what that episode was called! I love to sing - especially in character.
The movies were really fun because, of course, there was a lot more going on in the story.
MC: A very long time ago when the third and fourth season were going to be recorded, you had suggested to the production and casting crew that Stephanie "Sugar" Beard be considered for the role (which later launched her acting career). How did you discover Sugar and what do you think made her the right choice for the role?
TH: This is actually not accurate. In fact, I never met Stephanie until I was working on The Care Bears Big Wish Movie, many years after I worked on Sailor Moon.
Josh2Darien and esahC: Why didn't you return to your role of Rini for the last two seasons after recording the movies? Did the change of companies from DIC to Cloverway have any impact on your decision not to come back to the role of Rini?
TH: It had nothing to do with the DIC/Cloverway change, actually.
After the privilege of working on the Sailor Moon series and movies – which taught me how to do animated voice work - I moved onto original voice cartoons. (Meaning, I was the creator of the first interpretation of a character on a series.)
sailormoonisthebest5: Did you ever meet the other cast members? Because someone told me that voice actors don't meet the other cast members?
TH: Sometimes we did group recording sessions, to play supporting characters for to create background "walla," as it's called. These sessions were a lot of fun, since recording alone can be quite surreal!
Typically, though, during a Rini session, I recorded solo.
MC and Josh2Darien: Would you reprise your role in a re-dub of the series?
TH: I would certainly consider it.
MC: What do you think is Sailor Moon's legacy 15 years later? Which memories of the show do you treasure?
TH: What I find really inspiring is that so many of us were just staring out in voice, and some of those actors are now the most successful voice talent around. That's something I am very proud to have been part of.
I look at Sailor Moon as my apprenticeship in animated voice work and I am grateful for all the things I learned during my time on the show.
One of my favourite memories was a comic convention here in Toronto. People like Stephanie Morgenstern, Roland Parliament and Rob Tinkler were on the panel with me, and we had never met our fans face-to-face before.
It was amazing to see that our work was making an impact and that it was appreciated.
My favourite memory of that day was when 2 young men asked me if I had played a Russian ice skater in the series. (They know the episode and character name, which I think was "Janelle.") We played so many incidental characters on the series that I truly couldn't remember. Then Roland said something like:
"Oh, yeah, remember, Tracey? I taught you a quick Russian dialect for that one."
Then it all came back to me, and I said, "Oh, yeah, I guess that was me!"
One of the young men said to his buddy:
"I TOLD you, man!" I TOLD you!"
(I think he may have won a bet.)
I lust loved that and it allowed me to witness first-hand how much the show – and the performances - meant to people!
MC (NOTE): The character's name was Janelyn from the episode: Paired With a Youma? Ice Queen Mako!
Ladies and gentleman, another Moonie mystery cast member solved! Thanks Tracey!
MC: Samantha Bee (of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) recently published her very comedic autobiography I Know I Am But What Are You. In it, she pokes a lot of fun at Sailor Moon, she played her at a CNE show, but the irony of the situation is, she fell in love with the man playing Tuxedo Mask and they married, despite this time being one of the most humiliating for her! Do you think you would ever work any hilarious anecdotes or stories from Sailor Moon into a future comedy act or memoir if you could?
TH: Well, I've told the anime convention story above more than a few times!
If a reputable publisher wanted to publish my memoir, that story would be probably be in there!
A little trivia: I directed Sam years ago in a very funny sketch troupe called The Atomic Fireballs.
MC: Your character in Pure Pwnage disconnected Internet service to force her son, Jeremy, to grow up and finally get a job instead of only playing video games all day. How would you cope with not having an Internet connection?
TH: I could cope for a few days. Then it might get ugly. I need the Internet to research characters, to learn dialects, and for my teaching work. It's hard to imagine life without it, really...
MC: There's an urban legend many Moonies have been wondering about! Was it true that you once auditioned for the role of the infamous Bart Simpson? If yes, how did your take on the role sound?
TH: Oh, Wikipedia.
That's a great story...and it's absolutely false.
I can do a mean Bart Simpson. Maybe that's how that urban legend began!
MC: Kevin Hill was a critically acclaimed show (that I discovered too late) that never took off with the viewers. In the episode Only Sixteen, you played the mom of a very lost teenager – what was it like working on this show, as well as a production that was seen all over the world? (Note: I've seen it dubbed in Italian at the very least).
TH: In Italian…? Someone got work dubbing me? Hilarious.
I loved working on that show. I don't get to play dramatic roles that often, so it was a nice change. It's too bad that series didn't take off. It was chock-full of gifted Canadian actors.
MC: In Scandalous Me, The Jacqueline Susann Story, you appeared for a few moments playing the literary icon Harper Lee! Even though it was only for a short time, what was it like to play her, in this very quirky scene? At the time there weren't a lot of public photos of her around, how did they know how to make you look like her? Did you ever hear from the elusive author at all?
TH: Great questions!
That role was the first time I played a real person, which felt like a huge responsibility.
I did a lot of research (for such a tiny role), and though I look nothing like Ms. Lee, the hair, make-up and wardrobe teams hinted at the era, rather than have a look-alike play the role.
It was short and sweet, but the best part of that experience was being directed by the amazing Bruce MacDonald - who later directed me in many episodes of The Tournament.
I never did hear from Ms. Lee.
MC: We've noticed that a few of the actresses in Sailor Moon have made appearances in TV and in movies playing nurses! You have played both a nice nurse (in Godsend) and a feisty one with no patience for anyone who is faking their illness (in Living in Your Car more recently). Which kind of nurse is more fun to play and why?
TH: Wow, you've really done your research here!
Naturally, the feisty one was more fun to play, since comedy is my first love.
However, in Godsend, I got to work with Robert De Niro, who was absolutely charming and hilarious.
Please don't make me choose!
MC: What was it like to work with Julianne Moore in the very heartwarming movie The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio? Did you read "Tuff" Ryan's book at all?
TH: Oh, she was lovely. There was no acting required in that project. We were all so thrilled to meet and work with Julianne Moore.
I did read Tuff's beautiful memoir, which the film was based on. In fact, the director Jane Anderson arranged for all of the "Affidaisies" or contest ladies to meet up and have a potluck dinner with Tuff, a few of her siblings, nephews & nieces before we started filming. This was a very special experience that I'll always treasure.
Sadly, Tuff died right before the film was released. I'm so glad that she was able to share the wonderful story of her incredible mother – whom Ms. Moore played so beautifully - with the world.
MC: Like other voice actors in Sailor Moon, you also teach voiceover at pirate voice! What inspired you to start teaching?
TH: What inspired me was that I could combine my years of improvising and teaching it with the skill that's been the bead and butter of my acting career – voice work.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a performer come to life in the studio and lift the words off the page.
Teaching is as much fun as performing is for me and I feel very lucky to have this opportunity.
MC: What are your classes like?
TH: Informative. Honest. Silly. Moving. Challenging. Inspiring.
pirate voice is for talent who are serious about learning the art of commercial voice work.
Learn more at:
MC: What is the most inspiring experience you've had from the classroom?
TH: Giving people permission to be authentically themselves and to use their own unique palette of characters/experiences/emotions to make the magic happen.
MC: Do any of your students recognize you from Sailor Moon or other cartoons? If yes, are they ever starstruck?
TH: Only a few Sailor Moon fans have shared their love of the series at the class. (I was touched, of course!)
Star struck? Hmm. I'm not sure about that.
MC: Many of our readers aspire to be voice actors – any advice on where they should start to prepare for a career in voice acting?
TH: Start by learning the basics of acting.
Take a class. Do an acting degree at college or university.
Improvisation is truly the best skill I can recommend for beginners.
Research the instructors well, get references and trust your gut.
Listen to voice reels to find out the skills required to do this for a living. The best place to do that is here:
MC: Where can Moonies catch you next? Any upcoming productions?
TH: I've been working on a beautiful new animation series for PBS Kids called The Cat In The Hat Knows A Lot About That.
I play Nick's Mom, Sally's Mom and a lot of guest animals!
SCTV's Martin Short stars as the Cat.
And Rob Tinkler plays the Fish, Thing One, Thing Two and lots more animals!
Learn more at:
MC (Note): Tracey works with a lot of other actors in Sailor Moon! Robert Tinkler played Rubeus and Pupuran!
MC: Thanks again very much for doing the interview! We wish you the best of luck in the future with your acting career and with Pirate Voice!
TH: You are so welcome.
Thanks for the great questions and for all your support!
For more information on Tracey's classes check out Pirate Voice in Toronto! And don't forget to watch The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That with your favorite chibi-moonies on PBS! A very special thanks to Tracey Hoyt again for this interview and we wish her the best of luck in the future!