Ptacek at the 2014 Alma Awards
August 20, 2000
|Years active||2007 – present|
Fátima Ptacek (born August 20, 2000) is an American child actress and model. She is best known as the current voice of Dora in Nickelodeon animated television series Dora the Explorer (2011–present) and Dora and Friends: Into the City! (2014–present), and a lead in the Academy Award winning 2012 short film Curfew.
Ptacek resides with her parents in New York City. Her mother is Ecuadorian. Her father is of Norwegian, Czechoslovakian, Irish, and Colombian descent. While her parents work closely with her management, they are not traditional stage parents.
She is a gymnast, competing at United States of America Gymastics Level 7, and takes part in English equestrian riding; as of 2010, she noted that she was aiming to qualify for the Olympic Games. In 2010, she noted that she was aiming for a scholarship to Harvard or Yale, and was enrolled in a school for gifted children; that year, she suggested she may be too old to act by that point. In 2013, she made the National Junior Honor Society. She has expressed interest in quiting acting for law school. She has aimed to be elected President of the United States; and has watched New York State Assembly debate in person. She has been acknowledged by Assemblyman Francisco Moya on the floor. She is studying the Mandarin language.
Ptacek has appeared in more than 70 television commercials,[note 1] and on the covers of numerous national magazines. She is also one of the few child models who has had the privilege of walking the runway at Bryant Park during the annual Fall Fashion Week in New York City. Discovered by Wilhelmina Models, but currently represented by New York's Abrams Artists Agency for both acting and modelling, Ptacek is considered one of the highest-paid child models in the world, as of 2010, making approximately $200,000 annually. As of 2010, she had appeared in ads for Ralph Lauren, The Gap, Benetton, and on the cover of Newsweek. Her parents told her that they were paying for people to photograph her, as opposed to vice versa.
In 2009, she was cast in the comedy film The Rebound with Catherine Zeta-Jones. After landing small roles in several other films, she was cast in lead roles in several feature films expected to be released in 2013, including A Little Game, Anything's Possible, Tio Papi, and A Miracle in Spanish Harlem. Ptacek has appeared in television shows including Saturday Night Live, A Gifted Man, Royal Pains, The Beautiful Life, Body of Proof, and appeared with First Lady Michelle Obama on Sesame Street.
Ptacek was given a three-year contract as Dora in Dora the Explorer, in November 2010, with the first new TV episodes with her voice in January 2012. She replaces previous voices Kathleen Herles and Caitlin Sanchez. She notes she was a fan of the character before being cast, amongst 200 girls auditioning. The role earned her a "Best Young Actress - Television" at the 2012 Imagen Awards, which she attended. She is nominated in the 2014 awards for "Outstanding Performance in a Children's TV Series". Specials voiced by Ptacek include Dora Rocks!, Dora in Mermaid Kingdom, Dora's Butterfly Ball, Dora's Royal Rescue, Dora's Easter Adventure, and Dora's Fantastic Gymnastics Adventure (2012).
Ptacek starred in the Shawn Christensen short film Curfew (2012), about a depressed man asked to take care of his niece. Christensen had auditioned a handful of actresses for the role, but saw Ptacek on a morning show appearance. He admits that he hoped she would nail the audition, and describes her as "phenomenal". Receiving extensive critical acclaim, Ptacek's performance was deemed "a breakthrough", "memorable", "charming", an "eerie, mature confidence for someone so young", and "delightfully annoying". The film was nominated for "Best Live Action Short Film" at the 85th Academy Awards, the first time the category was open to all members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voting. The film won, with Ptacek in attendance. She attended the Vanity Fair Oscar party with Christensen. Ptacek has personally won Best Young Actress at the 2012 Sapporo Short Fest (the film screening there the year after with an appearance by Ptacek), A feature film of the story has been announced, with Ptacek announced to return. Best Actress at the 2013 Rincon International Film Festival, and Best Actress at the 2013 Vaughan Film Festival.
Screenwriter of the film Tio Papi, in which Ptacek stars, commented in an interview that "we hit the jackpot with that one. She’s a class act, as are her parents." Ptacek was nominated for a "Best Actress/Supporting Actress - Feature Film" Imagen Award, alongside nominees including Elizabeth Rodriguez from the same film; Miriam Colon (Bless Me, Ultima) won the category.
Dora and Friends: Into the City (2014–present), also has Ptacek as the voice of Dora. While Ptacek speaks in a higher pitch for Dora the Explorer, the new series allows her a more natural voice, as the character is 10 to Ptacek's real life age at the start of production, 12. Production continues on the original series. Producers have allowed Ptacek to modify lines, when she feels she can provide a more accurate version of how youth speak. Ptacek won "Outstanding Performance in a Youth/Children’s TV Series" at the 2015 NAACP Image Awards.
Fátima volunteers as a "Celebrity Ambassador" for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and has done work for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in conjunction with the Macy's Believe Campaign, and the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital. Given her joy of reading, Ptacek has done work with SAG Foundation's BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), and Reading is Fundamental. The Latino Commission on AIDS named Ptacek their 2013 Youth Ambassador at its Cielo Latino benefit gala.
|2008||One Last Beat||Little Girl|
|Sweet Flame||Amber's friend|
|2010||The Rebound||Mozambique Girl|
|2011||Body of Proof||"Buried Secrets" - Becky Salerno|
|2011||Anything is Possible: The Movie||Jesse|
|2011–present||Dora the Explorer||Dora|
|2014||Before I Disappear||Sophia|
|2014–present||Dora and Friends||Dora|
|2014||Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress||Tio Papi||Won|||
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