Caryn Clark: A Gold-Medal Voice
An Olympic campaign featuring the UF alum encourages everyone, not just athletes, to shine.
By Styliana Resvanis (3JM)
After going on her daily run and answering the usual slew of e-mails, Caryn Clark sits in her studio, prepping for her next assignment. Her audience consists of a special-edition “Glinda the Good Witch of the North” Barbie, her favorite stuffed animals from her childhood and a Hannah Montana “Holiday Pop Star” doll. She closes her eyes, and suddenly a blonde 14-year-old appears in her mind, chatting about boys and makeup. Having found her character, she takes a deep breath and presses record.
You may not have heard of Clark* (BA ’94), but you’ve likely heard her. A voiceover actress known as the “Hip Chick Voice,” she has done promotions and commercials for clients as wide-ranging as Disney, VH-1, Google and Nintendo.
But her latest gig — a London Olympics campaign called “Show Your Best to the World” — has prompted her to put her best foot forward.
“It’s a really great campaign,” she says. “It’s asking people to show their best not just athletically, but with anything they do.”
The initiative consists of a contest, hosted by the International Olympic Committee, where people can submit videos showcasing a skill (such as sports, music, art and charity work). Winners can earn monthly prizes, a spot on TV or even a trip to London for the games. The goal of the competition (which runs until Sept. 15) is to get youth interested in the Olympics while encouraging them to embrace their talents.
“We think everyone’s best is worth celebrating, no matter what it is,” Clark states in the video. “Ready to show the world your best?”
The road that led Clark to the campaign was a long one. The 40-year-old Fort Myers resident first contemplated voice acting in 1995. She loved to sing (she participated in choirs throughout high school and college) and missed performing, so her brother brought the career to her attention.
She took classes and recorded demos, but instead of diving head-first into such new territory, she decided to stick to her day job in the corporate world.
Then, 10 years later, Clark moved back to Florida from New York and, eager for a change, dug out the box containing her 60 cassette tape demos. She became determined to turn her voice into a career.
She got fired from her first voiceover job. She booked a studio, recorded a session and got paid, but the company called to tell her she needed to re-record. The company then called back to break the news: She had been replaced.
“I’m not sure why I didn’t just give up,” Clark says. “Most people in this business have a radio or TV broadcast background, and I don’t have that experience. I just really wanted to do it, so I decided to work really hard and try to be my best at it.”
She says her UF liberal arts degree provided a big advantage as she moved forward with her voice work. She started interpreting commercial scripts in much the same way she used to interpret literature for class.
Her big break came in 2008 thanks to tween queen Hannah Montana. Clark promoted five of the Disney brand’s products while at the same time marketing herself heavily. More offers poured in. To date, her resume includes commercials for Neopets, Rooms to Go Kids Disney furniture, Cabbage Patch Kids and Skechers USA. At any given time she may sound like a 14-year-old girl, a frazzled mom or an enthusiastic shopper.
With success comes a few struggles, though. As a business owner, Clark juggles her voiceover work with administrative duties and marketing. Her most difficult task? Getting invoices submitted on time. Luckily, she has an assistant for that.
Overall, she says she loves her career. She loves waking up every morning not knowing what type of work she’ll be doing (on an average day, she records about five auditions and up to five jobs). She jumps at the chance to work with a partner so that she and the other actor can feed off each other’s energy in the studio. And she enjoys the challenge of packing a 30-second clip full of meaning, such as in the “Show Your Best” campaign.
“For me, it related to my voiceover because every day I’m trying to show my best,” she says. “Everybody’s best is different — and everybody’s voice is different.”
*UF Alumni Association member
UF at the Olympics
The United Kingdom will experience a Gator invasion July 27-Aug. 12 when the 2012 Olympic Games take place in London and around the island nation. Explore the Florida Online website to learn more about
- The Gator band performing at the Opening Ceremonies July 27
- Gator athletes competing in the games
- Medalists such as UF’s Ryan Lochte (BSR ’11) who are hoping for repeat glory