Caitlin Sanchez is the voice of the pre-school character Dora the Explorer. Dora the Explorer is known worldwide, teaching kids about language and culture.
Juli Auclair: It's rare that a children's TV show is such an enormous hit that it's broadcast all around the world in 24 different languages. Well, that show is "Dora - the Explorer". It's a huge international success, helping kids in the United States learn Spanish and children in many other countries learn English. Well, we had the chance to go behind the scenes to meet the brand new star of Dora and see how kids are learning about other languages and cultures. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): We had such an amazing adventure today. What was your favorite part of the trek? Juli Auclair: She may not look familiar to you but if you have preschoolers, you probably recognize her voice. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): We couldn't have done it without you. Thanks for helping. Gracias. Juli Auclair: That's right, it's Dora the Explorer. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): Ola, sorry Dora. Juli Auclair: Well, actually, it's 12-year-old Caitlin Sanchez lending her voice to Dora. [Music Playing] Male Speaker: That was so perfect. Juli Auclair: Caitlin recently signed on as the brand new voice of Dora, chosen from about 600 little girls. What were you thinking when you knew there were so many other girls? Caitlin Sanchez: I only saw about 7 girls. I didn't know that there were like 600 girls auditioning until much later which is a little like intimidating but I'm very happy, yeah. I can't believe I got it. Mariana Diaz-Wionczek: Let's try one where we do, I like that, too. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): I like that, too. Juli Auclair: What do your friends think about you doing the voice of Dora? Caitlin Sanchez: They're really happy for me and they're really supportive and also they're really curious about like how I get the voice recorded and how I get it done and they always ask-- they always bringing their little brothers and sisters and asking me to do the voice for them and sometimes they go, I call them on the phone in my Dora voice and they'll freak out. Juli Auclair: And it's no wonder they freak out. Dora the Explorer is the number one rated preschool show on all of television. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): We did it, we did it. We did it. Yey. Juli Auclair: The interactive adventure series about a 7-year-old girl takes place in an imaginative tropical world complete with beaches, jungles, and rainforests. Teri Weiss: I think that there's an intimacy about Dora that's very unique. I think that kids, when they watch the show, really think that she's speaking to them and that she's their friend and that she really needs them. Juli Auclair: Preschoolers love watching the show and characters like Dora, Boots, Diego, and Swiper so much that they don't even realize they're learning. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): Yey! We made it to the park. Teri Weiss: There are a lot of interring interpersonal skills that I think that kids take away from in terms of her level of confidence and leadership and kindness and, you know, the strength of all the friendships that Dora has with all of her characters that I think are really important for a preschooler. Juli Auclair: And Dora the Explorer even takes it a step further, teaching kids about language and culture. Teri Weiss: The fact that Dora is a Latina heroine is I think a really strong, unique aspect of this show. That fact that her bilingualism really helps solve problems along the way and how empowering it is to speak more than one language. [Cartoon Playing] Mariana Diaz-Wionczek: When there's all this natural interaction and very close interactions between Dora and friends, that's showing like, to the monolingual speakers, like, oh, this other world can happen in another language. It's safe and it's fun and, come on, let's try it. Caitlin Sanchez: In fact, in this new season, one of Dora's friends from around the world visit Dora and tell her about their culture and they help her by telling them more about their country and where they from. [Cartoon Playing]: Hi. My name's Najim. I'm from Egypt where my family has a camel farm. Juli Auclair: Caitlin is the perfect girl for this part. For starters, her voice sounds nearly identical to the original Dora. Did you try to imitate Dora's voice or did you bring some of yourself to it or did it come naturally? Caitlin Sanchez: I definitely tried to imitate the original voice. I changed my voice and make it more high pitch and lots of energy. I also try to put my own little personality to Dora but I also like to maintain her original characteristics that make her so popular with children. Juli Auclair: Caitlin definitely understands why preschoolers love the show so much because she, too, was a huge Dora fan growing up. Caitlin Sanchez: The show came out in 2000. I was about 4 years old and I had a little Dora bedroom, the sheets, curtains, dolls, toys, books, everything. Juli Auclair: She still can't believe she's actually the voice of Dora but it's starting to sink in now that she's spending about 2 days a week in the recording studio. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): There's your wishing star. It's there for you when you need it. Juli Auclair: Caitlin is one busy girl with her acting and singing career, home schooling, and of course, her Dora recording sessions, her days are hectic, but she says she manages to find time for friends, movies, and sports, too. She says her parents help her manage her busy schedule. Caitlin Sanchez: They're really good at balancing things out. They have a right schedule for me and I manage to get my own free time as well with my work time and everything just fits in perfectly. Caitlin Sanchez (Dora - the Explorer): We couldn't have done it without you. Thanks for helping. Gracias. Juli Auclair: She is such a sweet girl and so talented, too. If you would like to watch an episode of Dora the Explorer with your kids, you'll find it on Nick Jr. weekdays at 10:30 and noon. Thanks so much for watching Parents TV. See you again next time.