Latina Uses Her Bilingual Skills to Win Awards for her Voice

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Photo by Tatiana Peña for Hola Iowa
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By Christina Fernández-Morrow, Hola Iowa

Before the pandemic forced businesses to become digital, Jessica Trinidad had built a successful career online as a bilingual voice actor. She had already been using social media to network so when the rest of the world went online it improved her industry. “2020 brought a lot of opportunities for people like me doing it digitally because more companies were receptive to hire those of us who weren’t in studios in New York or LA.” Trinidad had a studio in her home in Des Moines, where she had been recording professional voice-overs in English and Spanish since 2009, seven years before launching her company, Jessicat Productions. 

Before becoming a voiceover artist, Trinidad dreamed of being a performer, citing Selena as a huge inspiration. “She’s the reason my company color is purple, in honor of her.” Growing up listening to novellas on the radio with her grandfather, Trinidad never thought that one day her voice would flow through radios and televisions across North America. “It only took fifteen years,” she comments as she recalls trying to get into the industry while working a full-time job. Unfortunately, many auditions required her to be available during business hours. “I was working HR at a janitorial company. I went from hiring people to scrub toilets, to scrubbing them myself so I could be available to audition.” It was scary to give up the security of her job to explore her dream. Thankfully, her husband encouraged her and took on extra jobs to keep the family afloat while Trinidad spent hours training, working with a coach, and getting an agent to help get her big break. Trinidad used her tax refund to create her first demo and flew to New York to meet with a voice coach. Finally, her months of research and risk paid off when she landed a commercial for MegaBus. It was the national ad she needed to become a real player in the industry. Today Trinidad’s voice can be heard in commercials for McDonalds, Wells Fargo, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi, and on MSNBC, Univision, and Telemundo. In 2021 she won a slew of awards including the One Voice Awards USA and a Voice Arts Award given by the Society of Voice Arts and Sciences. In 2023, Trinidad was nominated by the same trade society as a producer for an outstanding PSA, her son nominated as the voiceover actor for their Spanish television ad about Covid vaccinations.

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Trinidad’s youngest son took interest in her career and got an early start, thanks to his mom. “He’s one of five bilingual kids who has a contract with Pandora radio,” she says proudly. While she is happy he enjoys it, she doesn’t push him. “Sometimes he doesn’t want to do projects and that’s OK, I want him to be a kid.” While the six-year-old is an award-winning voiceover artist like his mom, Trinidad focuses her coaching on others in the industry looking for their big break. “The majority of Latinos you hear are from Latin America who made it in their countries first. That’s great, but not many second-generation US Latinas are in the industry. There are a lot of talented Latinas and if I can inspire them, I want to coach and nurture them.” Trinidad offers one free coaching session per month to her social media followers and takes on coaching clients who find her online. “The industry is becoming more open to different accents. It used to be just neutral accents but now you hear other ones, like more Chicana, or from other regions of the country.” Trinidad looks forward to expanding her business by coaching upcoming artists, as well as getting into other genres like animation and video games. While she is excited for the opportunities for growth in the bilingual market, she cautions that AI is increasingly becoming competitive as companies see it as a cheaper alternative to hiring an artist. She hopes that doesn’t discourage anyone. “If you can’t sit still in a classroom, that’s OK, you can still have a career. I want young people to start exploring their artistic side.”  

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