Tag Archives: fatima ptacek

Voice of Dora the Explorer, Queens native talks new show


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Bonnie Osborne/Nickelodeon

Even though Dora the Explorer is getting older and making a move to a big city, the Queens native and voice behind the popular cartoon is not going anywhere. 

Fátima Ptacek has been the voice of Nickelodeon’s 7-year-old “Dora the Explorer” since 2010 and will now also be the one behind 10-year-old Dora in “Dora and Friends: Into the City!”


L-R: Alana, Emma, Dora, Kate, Naiya, Pablo in Dora and Friends: Into the City! (Photo courtesy of Nickelodeon)

“She’s stunning, I’m so excited,” said Ptacek about the older Dora who will premiere on Monday, Aug. 18 on Nickelodeon. “Now that she’s in the city, she can identify with city kids.”

The 13-year-old actress says growing up and still living in Queens helps her understand her new role more because she can identify with being a city kid.

“I’m very proud to be living in Queens, it’s one of the coolest places I know,” Ptacek said. “I know it like the back of my hands. I make sure to brag about it to anyone.”

She said she loves living in the borough because of its diversity and food options.

“I’m a total foodie,” Ptacek said. “What’s great is right where I live. We basically have every nationality’s cuisine.”

In “Dora and Friends: Into the City!”, Dora moves to a city named “Playa Verde” and finds a new group of friends who embark on explorations with her including riding the subway, and going to school and parties. There is also a lot more music in this series, with a “pop-feel to it,” according to Ptacek.

Along with the new show, the Emmy-award winning series “Dora the Explorer” will also still air.

“I’ve really loved growing up with Dora and I am so lucky to be the first voice of this [new] show,” said Ptacek, who hopes both shows continue on for a long time. “I want my kids to be able to watch the show just how I did.”

Along with being the voice behind Dora, Ptacek has also performed on stage and starred in films, such as “The Rebound” with Catherine Zeta-Jones, and television shows such as “Saturday Night Light” and “Sesame Street,” where she was able to work alongside Michelle Obama.

She also serves as an ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, youth ambassador for the Latino Commission on AIDS and volunteers for foundations such as the SAG Foundation BookPALS program.

“Dora and Friends: Into the City!” premieres on Aug. 18 at 8 p.m. on Nickelodeon.

 

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Queens cutie cast as ‘Dora’


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesey of Nickelodeon

Queens kid Fatima Ptacek has been cast as the new voice of “Dora the Explorer” — a spunky little girl with a penchant for adventures.

For her first “Dora” audition at the Nickelodeon offices, Ptacek read a few lines and sang two songs — “Rocketeer” by Far East Movement and “Grenade” by Bruno Mars. Ptacek was unsure of the part she was auditioning for at first, but several lines into her mock dialogue, she knew it was for “Dora.” About a month after her original audition, she went back to the studio for a test run in the audio booth, reciting more lines and singing behind a microphone.

On November 8, 2010 she got the call. She was “Dora.”

“I was screaming like a madwoman and crying tears of joy,” exclaimed Ptacek. “I never imagined that this would be possible for me to get this opportunity at such a young age. I was so excited.”

Once a week for the past year, Ptacek has headed to a Manhattan sound studio where she records Dora’s dialogue and songs. Her first episode aired on Monday, January 30. Just like “Dora,” Ptacek is bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. Her mother is Ecuadorian and her father is of European descent.

“I’m a proud Latina, and I’m not afraid to show it!” laughed Ptacek.

Aside from multilingual abilities, Ptacek feels that she and “Dora” exemplify several other similar characteristics.

“Dora is super determined and all for having adventures,” said Ptacek. “She makes sure she starts and finishes her adventures right. We’re also really positive.”

Ptacek said that her friends have been really supportive and encouraging, while many kids at her school are in disbelief.

“Some kids don’t believe it,” she said. “They’re in awe.”

Ptacek said her parents — a business owner and homemaker — have always been supportive of her budding career in the limelight, helping her run lines and prepare songs, driving her to auditions and doing anything necessary to ensure the starlet’s success.

Ptacek is no novice to the spotlight. The 11 year old is signed to Wilhelmina Models and has appeared in ads for Gap, The Children’s Place and Ralph Lauren and has won spots on “Royal Pains,” “Body of Proof” and “Sesame Street.”

Regardless of her fame, Ptacek says she’s happy staying in school and being a normal kid. She loves spending time in Queens, enjoying the borough’s diverse cuisine and spending time with her parents. Ptacek is also a level-seven gymnast and is currently learning Mandarin Chinese.

“I’m definitely still a kid and I’m definitely always going to be a kid until I have to be an adult,” said Ptacek.

The sixth-grader has been watching “Dora” for as long as she can remember, and recalls growing up with the character. She said that playing the part has yet to sink in.

“I wake up every morning and say I still can’t believe I’m ‘Dora the Explorer!’” she said.

“Dora the Explorer” airs weekdays at 10 a.m. on Nickelodeon.

Greg Kelly rape probe unlikely to linger, says sex-crime expert Linda Fairstein


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Greg Kelly rape probe unlikely to linger, says sex-crime expert Linda Fairstein

The DA’s probe into whether TV anchor host Greg Kelly date-raped a woman last year is expected to wrap up quickly. “It could be over this week — no later than next week,” said one source. “They don’t want this thing to linger at all. It’s the police commissioner’s son: they are going to do everything they can to bring this to an end.” The politically sensitive case is in the hands of Martha Bashford, the widely respected boss of the Manhattan DA’s sex-crime unit. Linda Fairstein, who previously held the job, called Bashford the “best sex-crimes prosecutor in the country.” Fairstein, who is skeptical of the woman’s claims, said “based on my own experience, I don’t think it will take a very long time” to establish whether a crime was committed. Read More: Daily News

 

‘Dora’ is a Queens kid

Dora the Explorer is now a born-and-bred New Yorker from Queens. One of the city’s highest-paid child models, Fatima Ptacek, 11, has been tapped to provide the new bubbly voice of Dora Marquez, the adventurous, bilingual 8-year-old who is the main character of the international cartoon sensation. Ptacek — the daughter of a retired NYPD detective and a former accountant — said she scored the gig just by being her outgoing self. “I don’t do a special voice for Dora,” said Ptacek, whose Norwegian-American dad is from Queens and whose mom was born in Ecuador. Read More: New York Post

 

Pedestrian Hit On Van Wyck Expressway

A man was struck trying to cross the Van Wyck Expressway early Sunday. Fire officials say the 29-year-old man was hit around 12:40 a.m. on the expressway near Hillside Avenue. They say he was having trouble breathing and was taken to Jamaica Hospital, which he was listed in critical condition on Wednesday afternoon. Police say the car remained on the scene and no criminality was suspected. Read More: NY1

 

Parents and teachers demand ouster of principal they say runs St. Albans school like a ‘dictatorship’

Dozens of teachers and parents at a St. Albans elementary school are on the war path against the principal who they say runs the institution like a “dictatorship.” They maintain that Public School 118 went from an “A” school on its city progress report to a “C” under Principal Cynthia Ofori-Feaster’s 2 1/2-year tenure. They also claim she routinely yells at teachers in front of students and parents. About 50 employees and parents rallied on Friday in front of the school to call for her removal. Read More: Daily News

 

State Senator Wants To Ban Eating In The Subway System

Eating in the subway could soon come with a hefty price tag if one lawmaker gets his way. Manhattan State Senator Bill Perkins has proposed a bill that would slap straphangers with a $250 fine if they are caught eating on a subway train or platform or in a station. The legislation comes in response to the results of a survey, which found the biggest contributor to the subway rat problem is people eating food. Some riders who spoke with NY1 on Sunday said there is got to be a better way to fix the problem. “I think it’s a horrible idea, it’s very unnecessary. I think that people use the trains to commute every day. As New Yorkers, we multi-task all the time. It’s needed to get from A to B,” said a straphanger. Read More: NY1

 

Muslim Leader Still Cold On Kelly As Queens Community Center Opens

Pictures showing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly with Muslim leaders are proudly displayed at the Queens Muslim American Society Community Center. However, its president, Ahmed Jamil, is calling for the commissioner’s resignation because of his participation in the controversial film “The Third Jihad,” a documentary about radical Muslims. “Not every Muslim has violence. Absolutely this is nonsense. Nonsense. Not acceptable,” said Jamil. Kelly was interviewed for the film in 2007. When complaints were raised about its content, Kelly’s spokesperson initially said producers used old news clips of the commissioner. That turned out not to be true. Read More: NY1

 

Officials Investigate Queens Elevator Accident

It’s unclear how far the debris fell, but fire officials at the scene said it caused the elevator to collapse. Damage could clearly be seen on the elevator’s roof, and chunks of debris were scattered on the floor. No one was in the elevator when the incident occurred at the Cadillac Building on 83rd Avenue in Kew Gardens, but residents were shaken. The debris came crashing down nearly a week after one tenant, Shaun Broughton, got stuck inside the elevator for 45 minutes. Read More: NY1