Meet Romi Dames or maybe if we referred to her as ‘Traci Van Horn’ you’d recognise her instantly! Romi plays Traci in Hannah Montana – which kid or tween doesn’t watch the show? So, I decided to question her about her snobby character and her trademark nasal voice.
How did you get into acting and what was your first role like – were you nervous?
My very first performance was in a community theatre production of the musical “Annie”. I played Molly, one of the orphan girls. I don’t remember if I was nervous or not, I just remember the feeling of being in the spotlight and owning it – one of the best feelings in the world. I do get nervous even now, though, before I go on-stage or before a photoshoot. Performing is so personal, you’re putting a part of yourself out there in the world, and you don’t know how it will be received. The nerves add to the performance high, so it’s not something you ever really want to be rid of. It’s part of the fun.
Had you always wanted to pursue a career in acting? If not, what had you envisioned your self doing?
This is pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to do….although there were a few years between the ages of five and eight where I entertained the idea of becoming a ballerina.
How did you land the role as snobby socialite, Traci Van Horn on Hannah Montana?
My agent called the casting directors and talked them into giving me an audition. Fortunately for me, it went well.
What was it like portraying Traci’s character – was it difficult?
I love Traci, she’s a blast to play. She’s unbelievably selfish and wants her world to be filled with celebrities and bling. The writers did an incredible job with the character – every time I got a script, I would play the scenes out in my head and just sit there cracking up.
The main question everyone ponders, your voice! How do you put on that nasal voice – was it a requirement when landing the role?
The voice wasn’t in the script, it was something I brought to the table myself. I naturally come across very happy and bubbly, so I came up with the voice to combat that and bring a little extra bit of “snottiness” to the character. The first episode I was on, I was originally only supposed to be in two scenes. The writers really liked my voice and felt the need to explain it, which garnered me more air-time. By the end of the week, I was a pretty major guest star in the episode. Then they kept bringing me back, season after season, which was just an actor’s dream come true.
Since Hannah Montana what have you been up to? (Your work on Phineas and Ferb, Child P.O.W and other projects)
I’ve done multiple voices on four episodes of “Phineas and Ferb”, and also a few voices on “Kick Buttowski”. I’m gearing up to shoot a movie called “Child P.O.W.” which is based on a true story that took place during World War II.
You sing as well, tell me more about that. Where can we hear your songs?
I have a Christmas song that I wrote with a couple of friends called, “Christmas List of Excuses”. It’s about a girl who wants Santa to know that she’s not bad, just “misunderstood”. It’s on iTunes. My goal was to be a one-hit wonder and live off the royalties for life…didn’t quite work out, though. [smiles]
What is your involvement with the StarLight Children’s foundation?
I’m a StarPower Ambassador, and I chat with kids online and also go to events to help fundraise for the foundation. It’s a great organization, their mission is to help kids who have life threatening illnesses learn to cope. They also try and bring cheer to the kids and their families with fun events and activities.
Have you had any funny or crazy fan moments?
I was at Knott’s Berry Farm with some friends, and a girl in line recognized me. She very collectedly asked me, “Hey, do you play Traci on ‘Hannah Montana’?”. I said, “Yes, I do.” Suddenly, two inches from my nose, she let out an ear piercing scream…and then went back to acting normal again. I think she thought the ear-splitting shriek was protocol when meeting an actor.
What is a typical day like for you?
Every single day is completely different, which is what I love about being an actor. I’ve been doing a ton of charity and red carpet events lately, which keep me really busy. And then there’s this thing called gift suites, which is like trick or treating for celebrities. They take you to a huge warehouse and give you a bag to take around to different booths where they give you gifts like lotions, clothing, accessories, etc. It’s pretty awesome.
Who is/are your role-model/s?
I absolutely adore Kristin Chenoweth. I became a huge fan after “Pushing Daisies”. She’s just incredibly talented – she’s an opera trained singer, a hilarious comedic actress, and she even makes time to tweet to her fans. I would just love to work with her some day.
How would you describe yourself?
Happy, bubbly, and a little ditzy at times. I’ve been compared to Elle Woods on more than one occasion.
What are two things people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m a huge fan of fantasy movies (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings) and I can’t pronounce the word ‘styrofoam’.
A message to your fans?
Add me on www.facebook.com/romidames and www.twitter.com/TheRomiDames !
December 15, 2015
Interviews, TV & Movies