Diez Gaming

From Colombia to the World! A Close Look at Carolina Ravassa, Actress from Overwatch and VALORANT

In addition to these two popular titles, Carolina has also participated in other video games, as well as various films and different series on Netflix, Nickelodeon, and Disney.

2024-06-12

This interview was originally published in Spanish on June 25, 2023.

LEE ESTA ENTREVISTA EN ESPAÑOL AQUÍ

When we think of Latin representation in video games, several names come to mind, and in recent years, various characters have been introduced to the industry who are now icons of our culture in this entertainment space. Among them is the Overwatch character Sombra, the intriguing Mexican hacker from the evil Talon organization, who pulls the strings from the shadows.

Or the VALORANT character Raze, an explosive Brazilian engineer always ready for combat, who, while not strictly Latina, is still part of the region. And more recently, and released this year, Dead Island 2 introduced Carla as one of the selectable protagonists, a fierce Latina motorcyclist who loves two things: challenges and killing zombies.

What do all these characters have in common? That’s right, they are all portrayed by the incredibly talented Colombian actress Carolina Ravassa, with whom DIEZ GAMING had the immeasurable pleasure of chatting about her career, some stories from her personal life, and, of course, her trajectory in video games. Carolina captivates us with her exceptionally warm personality and her ability to create genuine connections.

Carolina was born on June 15, 1985, in Cali, Colombia, and well, let’s just say she hasn’t stopped since then.

She is an extremely charming person who radiates positive energy and, furthermore, conveys much of what she is passionate about through her characters. She is also quite multifaceted. Her ability to jump from one personality to another as required by her movies, series, or video games is simply admirable. Let’s learn more about this brilliant artist!

Interview:

Can you tell me a little about all these country-hopping experiences you’ve had throughout your life and what experiences you’ve gathered in each of them?

I’ve picked up little things from each country. I think one of the things I like most is learning how to say “thank you” in different languages. So, if I meet someone from Nepal or Pakistan, I ask how to say “thank you”. It’s such a simple thing, but when you say it to someone in their language, wow, they can’t believe it and it’s very special. It’s something very basic and simple, but generally, what I focus on, especially in the countries I’ve lived in, is the music, the food, the feeling of the culture, which excites me a lot.

And when I lived in Brazil, or studied in Italy during the summer, it’s like feeling the people there and being able to connect with what they do day to day and how they enjoy life. I think food is a big part of that, and definitely music. In Brazil, I tried to dance samba — of course, I’ll talk about salsa later! — but those kinds of things I love, and I think that’s why I connect a lot with characters from other countries.

Do you visit Colombia occasionally? What would you say you miss the most, besides the people?

I visit Colombia once a year to see my parents. I have some friends there, but I miss sancocho and pandebono! Well, and the people, the little parties we have there. For me, it’s not so much about alcohol, it’s more about salsa and the good vibes. I miss that.

Carolina Ravassa (Sombra), Anjali Bhimani (Symmetra), Jen Cohn (Pharah), Lucie Pohl (Mercy), and Chloé Hollings (Widowmaker) in probably one of the best photos humanity has ever given us.

How did you become interested in acting in the first place?

I was a very hyperactive child! That’s the joke I always make, but it’s true! I had a lot of energy, my mom realized this, so the kindergarten I went to when I was little was different from the one my older sister and my younger sister went to, and it’s because I was super histrionic and dynamic, and my mom knew I had to be outside playing or jumping into the river. So I auditioned for a concert when I was four years old, and they gave me a solo, and then when they were going to do the play, my mom said, “Well, Carolina loves being on stage”, so basically it was a bit to burn off my energy but from there everything started, and I did my first play at four and a half or five years old, and I loved it, and I continued from there.

As an actress, you’ve worked in a wide variety of mediums, including theater, film, television, and video games. What has been your favorite experience so far and why?

There’s a mix of things, right? Theater has a very beautiful thing, which is the live audience. I’ve done independent films that have moved me a lot; the last one I did is called Morgan’s Mask. I was also the producer, and it’s one of my favorite experiences because I’m connecting with the gamer fan base, which has been very special for me, and I think it has been well-received in the gaming world, so on that side, it’s very special. And obviously, the most ‘wow’ experiences have been VALORANT and Overwatch because they have given me a connection with the fans of these games that is very special.

Your addiction to salsa dancing, how’s it going? Are you in treatment? Is it hereditary?

Yes! (Laughter) I’m in salsa treatment! Hereditary? Let’s see... My mom dances, my dad, not so much, but the truth is I don’t know why I got the salsa bug, but I do love it. I can’t tell you which dancers I love, although I took classes during the pandemic with Brando Pérez, who is very well-known on social media, a very cool salsero from Cali. I learned a few steps from him, but I love Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Roberto Blades, El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Héctor Lavoe, and the list is endless.

Raze, the character Carolina portrays in the game VALORANT.

Let’s move on to video games. Although your first participation in one was in Max Payne 3 in 2012 as additional voices, it was the following year when you had a strong role in a game for the first time, portraying Taliana Martinez in GTA V. How was it? Did you think you would participate in another video game?

When I worked on Max Payne 3, I was speaking in English with a Brazilian accent, or maybe it was Portuguese, I don’t remember! They needed people who spoke Brazilian Portuguese, so I ended up with little extra characters there. The clever Carolina Ravassa told the casting director, “Hey, when you’re working in Spanish or English without an accent, I’d also love for you to keep me in mind”, because I was working with a bunch of Brazilians who spoke with a heavy accent, and I wanted them to know that I also speak other languages and if they need me to play an American, I can do that too.

So, a year later, the casting director, Tony Grinage, remembered and called me for Taliana, which was cool because I didn’t have to audition; he just gave me the role. The truth is it wasn’t very long what we recorded in the studio, and then I also did motion capture for other characters, and that was very cool, but I never imagined I would participate more in video games, I never imagined! And when Overwatch came out, I had no idea it would be a hit, and then I worked on Red Dead Redemption 2, and it was a very nice experience, and a surprise! You never know what’s going to come your way.

Overwatch! Your portrayal of Sombra has been highly acclaimed by players. I understand that for Americans, Colombians and Mexicans sound the same, but on your part, not only are you skilled with several languages but also with accents, which is reflected in Overwatch and VALORANT. But tell me, what challenges did Sombra initially represent for you?

Let’s see, when I auditioned for Sombra, I sent two takes, one with a Mexican accent, as we always audition for Latino characters, and since Americans do not have a very clear notion of Latino accents, I also sent one with a Puerto Rican accent. I thought, “Well, it could be an option”, but the cool thing was that Blizzard was very focused on it being the right accent. So when they chose me and I started recording, there was no Mexican in the studio working with me, it was just me, and I was used to doing a more northern Mexican accent, “wey”, because that’s what sells for commercials!

Is there a Sombra on the enemy team? Always watch your back! With her ability to turn invisible, Sombra is perfect for flanking and surprising the enemy.

And when the team from Mexico heard the accent I had done, they said, “Noooo, Sombra is from Mexico City, we need to fix it”. So, what scared me was when the people from Mexico came in to re-record with me, correcting my accent. I mean, I really appreciated the help, but it made me a bit nervous that they were going to choose someone else because the initial accent didn’t come out right. So, the nice thing was that they worked with me, and we managed to get the accent right. Every time I talk to Mexicans, they say they thought I was Mexican, and that for me is already a success.

Sombra is famous for her intriguing, mysterious, and, well, sarcastic personality. How do you prepare to get into her shoes?

Well, I don’t have to prepare much to get into the role because I love the character and connect a lot with the sarcasm, the dark sense of humor. Obviously, she is super arrogant and thinks she knows everything, which is definitely not me! She’s kind of a villain, so that’s cool because you can step into a different character. The lines written for her are very cool, so I don’t have to prepare much, and I’m thankful for that because, while it’s not easy, it does come naturally to me. And, of course, we have an excellent director who always helps me with the lines, so when we start falling into the same patterns or her typical intonation, he helps me find different nuances—a bit more sarcasm here, a bit more mystery there, a mix of things—so I’m very grateful to the team.

What’s your favorite phrase, and why is it “¡Apagando las luces!”?

(Laughs) “¡Apagando las luces!” That’s cool. I like “I know who’s been naughty”, because everyone finds it very funny. I also like... “I’m ready for that drink”, though I always have to ask the youngsters if they’re of legal drinking age because I don’t always want to write that in autographs.

Have you heard Sombra’s Latin American dub? She’s voiced by Mexican actress Lourdes Arruti. What do you think?

I think it’s super cool! It’s awesome, Lourdes Arruti. I think everyone who does the dubbing voices does a very cool job. I met the actress who does the Portuguese voice, and I found it wonderful too. I always support the talent of dubbing actors, and I think it’s very nice.

Carolina sharing a lovely moment with her fans during an event last year.

Now, let’s talk a bit about Raze from VALORANT. She’s a Brazilian character, and you, being fluent in Portuguese, nailed the interpretation. Even the Brazilians love you. How has this experience been?

Raze is very special. Many Brazilians love me, and I think there are others who aren’t so happy that a Colombian was chosen. But I really like the character. I think my Portuguese accent in English is quite good—I have an ear for it. I lived in Brazil, and I really enjoyed that experience; I learned samba, capoeira, Afro-Brazilian dance, I love the music, and I love all the Brazilian food, so for me, it was very nice to be an honorary Brazilian. The experience of recording with the director and the writer was very special because the three of us created Raze together. The writer let me improvise, the director helped me with little bits, and we shaped her. She’s bombastic and crazy but also has a very sweet and motherly side, which I think is cool because it makes her three-dimensional.

There are two types of people in the world: those who associate you with Sombra and those who associate you with Raze. But tell me the truth, which one do you identify with more? Or is it a completely different character, maybe one from TV?

(Laughs) Hmm, I identify with both Sombra and Raze. I feel like I’m a mix of the two. Sombra’s sarcasm, her urge to tease—in Colombia, we say “ganas de joder” (desire to mess around). Always teasing, which I think is cool. Raze is very loving, and I feel like with my friends and the people I care about, I’m very generous. I want to create a community. As you’ve seen, I make videos with all the characters. So, if I mixed the two, it would be like... Rombra? Or, Saze, a mix of both.

Dead Island 2 has been your most recent project in the world of video games. Can you tell me a bit more about your character, Carla, who is one of the selectable protagonists?

Let’s see, Carla in Dead Island is also a bit crazy. I feel like she’s similar to Michelle Rodríguez. I wasn’t thinking about it much when I recorded, but now that I hear her in scenes, I feel like she’s that girl who wants to take everyone down, who isn’t afraid, or who’s already saying “oh, at some point I’m going to die because of these zombies, so everything is worth a damn and bang, bang, bang! Let’s shoot and help the people who want to survive”. So, she rides a motorcycle, she’s funny, in Colombia we say she has a bit of “me-importa-un-culismo” (couldn’t-care-less attitude), it’s like, “ah, screw everything!”. Carla swears a lot, that’s why I’m using curse words here (laughs).

Carla, one of the selectable characters for the adventure in Dead Island 2.

Do you usually play video games? Not necessarily the ones you’re in, but any at all.

Oh, I don’t play video games, I wish I did. I’m terrible at it. I played Mario Kart when I was seven, with my cousin. I used to watch him play The Legend of Zelda, and besides that, I’m terrible. I love sports; I play tennis, I do yoga, I love being outdoors, and I love that gamers play because I’m terrible and I suffer.

How would you compare the experience of acting in film or TV with voice acting in video games and animation, where you can almost mold their personality through your voice?

Film and TV are very different from video games and animation. Obviously, because you’re in a booth with headphones and don’t have to memorize the script, but I think it also has a very cool freedom because I can be a little old lady, I can be a little girl, I can even be a sheep! You can be a thousand things in animation and video games, which I think is very cool because I couldn’t do that on television. So, I think it’s something cool because you’re creating and using your imagination, which is very important.

You also have to do that when doing motion capture, acting in front of a green screen, because you have to imagine the space, you have to imagine where you are. So, I sometimes miss acting in a scene with someone because you can look them in the eyes and use the space; you’re in a kitchen, you’re on a set. I think that’s nice, but voice acting has been great for me.

Of the animated series you’ve lent your voice to, which one do you hold especially dear?

Of the animated series I’ve worked on, I think I’d have to say it’s Hamster & Gretel, because it’s the first time I’ve been a recurring character, Gretel’s mom, and she appears in many episodes, so I record almost weekly. That’s very strange for an actor because sometimes you go months without working. It’s like, in Overwatch and VALORANT, they can bring us in for a four-hour session once or twice in consecutive weeks, and then we don’t see each other for months; sometimes it can be a year! So people think you’re always recording for Overwatch, but it’s one session and then it’s over. So, I feel very grateful to Disney, who has been giving me this job, and the show is very funny; it’s from the same creator of Phineas and Ferb (Dan Povenmire), so I hold it dear.

The drama Morgan Mask’s, a production Carolina is very proud of, can be found in the catalog of Tubi, Amazon, Apple TV, and Google Movies.

What has been the most exciting or rewarding moment of your career so far?

Let’s see, I released a movie in April, which was Morgan’s Mask, and I wasn’t going to do any events because that movie was very difficult to finish. By the end, you’re so tired that you don’t want to do anything, and they organized a surprise party for me to celebrate that I had finished the feature film because it’s very hard. I think it was a very beautiful experience because I never imagined so many people would show up to celebrate. As an artist, you sometimes forget that you’re constantly pushing, pushing, and pushing. When you finish a project, it’s a success! Because not everyone finishes their projects, and not everyone can produce something. So, being able to get something done like that, against all odds, was obviously super difficult, but even more special because people celebrated me, and I truly felt complete and happy with all the people.

Any particular message you’d like to share with gamers and the general public, especially for Latinos?

First of all, thank you for the support, for being attentive, for all the love on social media. I really feel that the Latin world loves Sombra, and that means everything to me. The video game wouldn’t be what it is without you. Thank you for continuing to play, thank you for asking Blizzard for things; we, the voice actors, love the community. The only thing I don’t like is when there’s online toxicity! So, if you’re one of those who likes to yell at others, please let’s not be bullies and behave better because you never know what’s going on on the other side, with whoever you’re playing with. Kindness, love, and good vibes should be what we strive for in gaming, so I ask for that.

And follow your dreams! Life is not easy, but keep pushing forward, guys. With determination and effort, anything is possible. A kiss to all of you, thank you for the support, and best wishes!

Ladies and gentlemen, that was Carolina Ravassa. We owe her a huge thank you for participating in this interview, during which she managed to convey all her warmth and make it more enjoyable than we could have ever imagined! Without a doubt, Carolina leaves an indelible mark on everyone who has had the pleasure of speaking with her. See you in Overwatch 2!