Dionne Quan wanted to be an actor from as young as she can remember. When she was younger, she'd get lost in her imagination and put on a range of voices for her childhood toys. She loved to sing. When her father heard an advert for an acting teacher who specialized in voice acting, he immediately signed her up.
That decision was a good one; Dionne has an incredible credit roll to her name. She's best known for voicing Kimi-Finster in Rugrats, but has also provided voices for The Wild Thornberrys, Fairly Odd Parents and Bratz, as well as numerous commercials.
All of this, and she's legally blind.
She was born with optic nerve hypoplasia, which is an underdevelopment of the optic nerves. Her scripts are written in braille. But this isn't a hinderance, far from it. The only difference this makes is the way her voice is recorded. She said:
"About the only implication is an adjustment to my microphone so it doesn't pick up the sound of my fingers moving across the braille script."
Aged just 14, she got her first voice acting job for a commercial. When she joined the Rugrats, she was the youngest member of the cast, providing the voice for Kimi Finster, the courageous tomboy.
While becoming the youngest member of the cast on an award winning cartoon may be daunting in itself, Dionne was also reading the scripts in braille. This in itself is challenging – many voice acting jobs are given at short notice, sometimes less than an hour before.
To help support this, her mother often travelled with her, translating scripts into braille so she could read them. Dionne says she "has always loved to read," and often reads a novel in a day.
Although she has tried traditional acting, her talent seems particularly adept to voice overs. It also puts her on an even footing with her colleagues.
"Most Don't Realize I'm Non-Sighted"
As well as her professional career, Dionne is also a mentor for the American Foundation for the Blind. In an interview with them, she spoke of her love for her career:
"Not only do I get to create unique voices and in many ways unique characters, I'm able to passionately enliven fellow cast members by my ability to portray such characters from an almost innocent place. Actually, most don't even realize I'm non-sighted."
Dionne is an inspiration! What a good example of following your dreams, no matter what the obstacles appear to be. Her career, impressive enough in itself, is the result of following her passion with conviction and belief. I'll let her words conclude:
"Although born almost entirely blind, a crystal-clear image of myself as an actress led me undaunted down a career path beginning in childhood."