Female superhero ‘She-Ra’ marks 25th anniversary
By Katie McLaughlin, CNN
October 6, 2010 9:19 a.m. EDT
She-Ra was the alter ego of Princess Adora in an animated series that began airing in 1985.
(CNN) — For the honor of Grayskull!
2010 marks the 25th anniversary of “She-Ra: Princess of Power,” otherwise known as “Princess Adora,” aka “The Most Powerful Woman in the Universe.”
Last week, “She-Ra” was released on DVD, iTunes and Hulu.com. And throughout the year, toy manufacturer Mattel has been releasing collectible action figures based on characters from “She-Ra” and the character’s twin brother He-Man, also known as Prince Adam.
“She-Ra: Princess of Power” began airing in 1985. Ninety-three episodes were produced, along with a Christmas special, books, a magazine, comics and of course, the toys.
At one point in every episode, Princess Adora would transform into her alter ego, She-Ra, whenever justice on Etheria was threatened.
She would reach for her sword and utter her famous phrase, “For the honor of Grayskull! I am She-Ra!” Then in a tornado-like swirl of colorful glitter (and a theme song), she would morph into her alter ego.
Lisa Baron, who runs a She-Ra fan site, told CNN, “She-Ra holds a special place in my heart because every afternoon for 30 minutes, I could escape into a fantasy world of the magic that was She-Ra. Her voice was captivating, she had great messages for children and kids looked up to her as a great female role model.”
CNN spoke to the voice behind She-Ra, actress and voiceover artist Melendy Britt, about the anniversary, her experiences on the series and the character’s lasting relevance as one of the first female superheroes.
CNN: How did you approach the character of She-Ra?
Melendy Britt: She-Ra was very different from any other character I did. She had more of an impact on my psyche and I had a strange instinct about the character when I auditioned for it and I knew she was a spiritual character who had a basic concern for everyone. I wanted to make sure my voice showed the change from Adora’s youth and innocence to She-Ra’s wisdom and self-assured power.
CNN: Did you know the actor who did the voices for He-Man and the other characters?
Britt: Absolutely! It was an incredible cast with a group of very, very talented people. John Erwin was the voice of He-Man. He has since moved away from California. He also did the voice of Morris the Cat. George DiCenzo, who was Hordak; he was another very talented man. Alan Oppenheimer, who played Skeletor in the series, gave us great laughs. He’s still in L.A., and we talk to one another every now and then.
CNN: Did you have any of the toys? What’s it like to have your own action figure?
Britt: I do have the She-Ra action figure. You see, my kids were in junior high when the series premiered, so they weren’t interested. But I got She-Ra, Swift Wind and Catra. Over the years, I’ve let kids who’ve been visiting me play with them, so they’re not in pristine condition.
As far as having my own action figure, I think if I’d received a lot of money from it, it would be like winning the lottery, but since I don’t get any payment from that, it just feels kind of interesting. I do remember that when I first saw the action figure, I thought, “Gee, I think she kind of looks like me.”
CNN: Did you ever meet kids who grew up with She-Ra? Did they make you say the lines?
Britt: When I was doing the series, I met lots of kids who watched the show, and they’d ask me to do the lines, particularly “For the honor of Grayskull!” And then many times parents would ask me to call their kids on their birthdays and talk to them.
CNN: If they made a live action movie version today, who do you think should play She-Ra?
Britt: That is such a hard one. I’d have to have a big list and kind of narrow it down to one person, if it could even be one person. Right now, my brain goes to Angelina Jolie, Beyonce and even Lady Gaga with a little Meryl Streep thrown in.
CNN: What other characters have you voiced in your career?
Britt: Well, on “She-Ra,” I did Catra, Castaspella, Hunga the Harpy and some others I can’t recall. Before “She-Ra,” I was Batgirl and Catwoman in “The New Adventures of Batman,” and Aura from “Flash Gordon.” I did various characters in “Transformers,” “The Wild Thornberrys” and I was the Wicked Queen in “A Snow White Christmas,” among many others.
CNN: Do you have a favorite episode?
Britt: I have a few, but for different reasons. Some because of the emotional content of She-Ra’s voice, and then some were my favorites because of the impact of the show.
CNN: What was really going on between She-Ra and Sea Hawk?
Britt: Not a lot. I think honestly that She-Ra had a calling, maybe as Adora. If she was only Adora, maybe there could have been a relationship with Sea Hawk, but she had a much higher calling that really didn’t include him.
CNN: If the show had continued, how do you think it would have wrapped up?
Britt: Maybe they’d have continued with She-Ra and her challenges with people trying to bring evil into Eternia, but if she exhausted all the challenges, I don’t know if there’d be any drama.
CNN: How does She-Ra compare to the current crop of cartoons? Could She-Ra even be made today? Or would there be too many parental concerns about violence?
Britt: The only one [current cartoon] that I have watched that I think is funny is “Spongebob Squarepants,” and it seems there’s a lot of white-collar violence going on there.
CNN: Why do you think She-Ra’s 25th anniversary is so special?
Britt: For me, it’s a chance to, again, have these memories of a series character which made me realize that I had a real part in people’s lives and that they love and remember her. For others, it’s a chance to relive and share the days of their childhood. I think each person has their own memories.
CNN: Why do you think She-Ra still holds a special place in the hearts of women who grew up watching She-Ra as little girls?
Britt: She was one of the first role models who combined femininity with feminism making her truly, really the most powerful woman in the world. I’ve been told by some of the female fans — particularly this one woman who set up a fan site for She-Ra, and for me — that they were really able to identify with her. That they felt great that not only boys had someone to look up to and meant something special to girls who were able to watch it.
Personally I identified more with Madam Razz then I did the long legged blonde, funny that.
Who was your cartoon role model growing up?