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Angel Chevrestt
Fatima Ptacek, 11, the new voice of cartoon character 'Dora the Explorer,' in the Nickelodeon studios in midtown Manhattan Jan. 27, says she has grown up watching the show.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 2/1/2012 11:25:41 AM ET 2012-02-01T16:25:41

An 11 year-old girl from Queens, New York, is set to become one of the most powerful voices in the entertainment industry: the voice of Dora The Explorer.

Fatima Ptacek will be voicing Dora, the lead character in the animated children’s series that has raked in nearly $1 billion in revenue since its 2000 premiere. That’s a lot of responsibility for a little girl, but young Ptacek is certainly no stranger to the limelight: the sixth grader is already one of the highest paid child models in New York, having appeared in nearly 50 television commercials and a wide-variety of print ads. But despite her experience, Ptacek is anything but jaded.

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“I’ve been watching Dora for as long as I remember, I’ve grown up with Dora,” she told TODAY.com. “Being the voice of Dora, I can’t even get over it, it’s such an honor.”

Like her animated counterpart, Ptacek grew up speaking both English and Spanish, a useful skill which will help her navigate the many bilingual aspects of the show.

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“I think it’s really important for me to speak English and Spanish,” says the young actress whose mom is from Ecuador and whose dad, of Norwegian heritage, is from Queens. “Most is spoken in English, but she speaks in Spanish when she sings. We get both on the shows.”

Ptacek is joining Dora in its seventh season, and has signed a three-year contract with Nickelodeon which will take her up to her early teens, but don’t expect any adolescent antics from this child star.

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“I’m not going to have a boyfriend until I’m 20. I have my priorities down,” Ptacek told The New York Post.

But of course all that is far ahead in the future for an 11-year-old playing an 8-year-old on TV. For now, Ptacek remains a normal sixth grader, attending public school in Queens, slowly coming to terms with what it will mean to voice one of the most recognizable cartoon characters in the world.

“I can just imagine little kids sitting in front of their televisions and smiling the way I used to smile when I was little kid and watched Dora,” she told TODAY.  “It’s really really cool.”

For more small-screen news, click over to our television blog The Clicker.

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