Elise Zhang is the voice actor for Mei from Blizzard’s Overwatch. We were able to meet with her at the GameStart Asia 2018 held in Suntec Convention Centre in Singapore. With that, we also took the chance to have an interview session with her where we got to learn about her experiences and journey in becoming such an iconic presence in Blizzard’s Overwatch.
Elise Zhang (Mei – Overwatch)
Elise Zhang is a voice actor from China. Prior to becoming a voice actor, she always had an interest in voice acting ever since she was a child. As she was pursuing her Masters in Chemical Technology, she also took up voice acting courses during her studies. With her potential discovered and nurtured by her mentor, she became a voice actor right after she graduated her Masters.
She did not lend her voice only to Mei but to other characters from Blizzard as well, including Li Li in Heroes of the Storm and Alleria Windrunner in Hearthstone – both in the Mandarin dub. She also voiced Symmetra in the Mandarin dub as well! Other than Blizzard, she also voiced Chloe and Baby Grizz from We Bare Bears – and many other cartoons in China.
At the GameStart Asia 2018 during a fine evening, we met with the glorious Elise Zhang in person. She was fun, comedic and lively during the interview. From there, we hit her with some of our questions – one being, “How did she got into voice acting and got the role of Mei?”
As mentioned earlier, she had an interest in voice acting ever since she was young. While she was pursuing her Masters in Chemical Technology, she also took up voice acting courses. After graduating with a Masters in Chemical Technology, she became a voice actor in a company that works with Blizzard frequently. From there, it was all due to her audition and talent that got her the role of Mei.
Though she voices Mei in Overwatch, she hardly plays Overwatch as she has never played any games before. She also humbly admits that she’s not really good at video games, so it wasn’t really fun for her. However, she still loves Mei as a character alongside with Winston as he’s also a scientist just like her! When asked if she’d ever feel awkward listening to her own voice in the game, Elise said, “Never! Because I hear my voice everywhere, in the city or on T.V. – I’m used to it.”
Prior to becoming a voice actor, English is not her strongest language. So Elise do face challenges when pronouncing certain English words for Mei. In some cases, she has to practice saying those words a hundred times before getting it right, but still could take 20 recordings to get the best one.
One of the most memorable moments in her career of voice acting as Mei is during the recording for Mei’s cinematic “Rise & Shine”. Because of the time difference between the US and Shanghai, she has to do the voice acting at 9 am – which is really early for her. She had to cheer herself up and get into the “Mei” mood but when she arrived at the studio and received the script, she had to tone the mood down as it was a sad and gloomy story which was unexpected for Elise.
Getting the role of Mei was not an easy task. As far as auditions go, there are two stages of auditions that Elise had to go through before being finally selected as the voice actor for Mei. There were no images of how Mei would look like and only a description of Mei. Upon handed over the reading script for Mei in English, Elise had to read them and portray as the character of Mei as she thought would fit the description – and she got it! Of course, there was supposedly one other girl who got shortlisted as well, but Elise got the part nevertheless due to her real life personality matching with Mei’s.
Speaking of Mei being seen as the “Ice Devil” within the Overwatch community, Elise was wondering why Mei would be called that as Mei is a character just like her in real life – bubbly, optimistic and a scientist! Some might even say that her laugh is evil, which she admits that it could be her fault (Sorry! Sorry, I’m sorry, sorry). But nonetheless, despite Mei being called an “Ice Devil”, Elise would like to think that’s because Mei is a strong character that fits the description – and she’s happy about that!
With her career on voice acting, a question of “Is there any other voice acting role you wished you could do?” was posed to her. She was the voice for Buttercup from Powerpuff Girls in the Chinese version, but Elise wished that she could’ve been the voice for Blossom. However, in Overwatch, she wished she could’ve done for D.Va! (She even impersonated D.Va’s voice lines ‘D.Va online!’ and ‘Nerf this!’ during the interview – how cute!)
Coming to a close, we asked if there was any wisdom she’d like to part to her fans who aspire to be a professional voice actor. To anyone who’s out there learning to be a voice actor, Elise advises to watch, listen and observe the reactions of people. As she never learned any theories during her course, she urges to learn from observations, remember them and try to re-enact them in your own personal way.
She loves Disney movies especially Frozen and Tangled. She loves Mandy Moore who voice acted and sang in Tangled.
Elise was nominated Best Female Vocal Performance In A TV Special/Direct-To-DVD Title or Short of 2017 (People’s Choice – BTVA Community Choice). She was nominated next to Mandy Moore!
“A-Mei-Zing” is the best voice line that fit Elise in real life!
She would love to see a Beijing Opera skin of Mei with heavy make-up and costume.
Elise doesn’t do shopping a lot but she loves nature like the trees and the animals.
She would love to visit Malaysia in the future for the food – especially durians!
It was a fun and entertaining evening with Elise Zhang but like all good things, we must come to a close. To that, we thank Elise Zhang for her time with us. GameStart Asia 2018 has been a fun and amazing event that no one should miss and we hope to attend it again next year in 2019! We hope everyone had fun as well during the GameStart Asia 2018 and we hope to meet Elise Zhang again in the future!