Connect
To Top

Meet Ratana

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ratana.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up near Detroit, and discovered a love for cartoons and mimicking accents. In high school, I started performing in choir and theater and wanted to move to New York to pursue an acting career on Broadway. To which my parents replied, “Over my dead body – and yours.” They meant well – they’re both immigrants from Asia, and the Asian Parent formula for success is: study hard, get good grades, go to a good college and pursue a stable career in Accounting, Medicine or Engineering. At 17, I was too scared to defy their wishes, so I caved and went to college at Michigan State University, where I studied Marketing and Advertising, and later moved to Los Angeles to get an MBA at UCLA.

For several years, I worked in corporate jobs – as a management consultant and in marketing for firms in many industries (entertainment, toys, games, packaged foods, and quick serve restaurants). It was a great business education, and I loved the people I worked with, but something was missing.

A friend here in LA introduced me to the idea of voiceover and it was like a light bulb went off in my brain. After much hemming and hawing, I finally signed up for classes. I got hooked. I started spending all my free time studying – acting, improv, singing, voiceover technique, motion capture, dance – while working a demanding full-time job.

Eventually, I got my voiceover demos made, built a website and got an agent. Around that time, my full-time job was coming to an end and I was at a crossroads: go to another corporate job, or jump ship entirely and try becoming a full-time actor? I jumped.

Please tell us about your work.
I like to call myself a “professional storyteller,” which encompasses both sides of my work. As an actor, I get to tell stories to entertain and educate a variety of audiences. Primarily, I work as a voice actor – I love that you aren’t bound by your physical characteristics and can play anything – from real people to imaginary creatures and anything in between. You can hear my voice in commercials, narrating audiobooks, and teaching English as a second language. I’ve gotten to play some fun characters in video games, like Leonie in “Fire Emblem: Three Houses,” Ishtar in “Fire Emblem Heroes” and Lian Shi in “Dynasty Warriors 9.” And you can hear me as Isis in the animated film “Daddy, I”m a Zombie.” On screen, you can catch me in episodes of This is Us and True Blood.

As a coach and consultant, I teach people how to tell better stories so they can increase their presence, build their companies and launch new products. It’s a great way for me to integrate what I learned in my corporate life with my acting training. Ultimately, I think my message is one of connecting with kindness and insight. I hope you feel seen, heard and empowered.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
When I was younger, watching TV in my pajamas, it was rare to see people of color reflected at me. When I did, they were portraying stereotypes: prostitute, fresh off the boat immigrant, dragon lady. I didn’t think there was a place for me as an actor and performer unless I conformed to the stereotypes. It’s taken a L-O-N-G time, and I think we still have a ways to go – but I love that we are in a place where we can tell human stories that feature diverse people, rather than the story being about the diversity itself.

I am so grateful that there is a more conscious effort towards inclusion so that kids today can play games and watch shows that have a diverse cast – people of color, LGBTQ, differently-abled. I would love to get to the point (in my lifetime), where inclusion is a foregone conclusion across the board, and you see diversity in front of the camera, behind the scenes and in the lists of nominees and winners of major awards.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
To see/hear my work, you can check out my website (ratana.net), or follow me on social (@diamondsong on Twitter and Instagram). If you’d like to work with me as a coach or consultant, you can reach me through my website.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Portrait by TheoandJuliet, all others are provided by me.

Suggest a story:VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in