Exclusive Doc McStuffins Interview: Kiara Muhammad
“Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Check Up!,” the second DVD compilation for Disney Junior’s hit animated TV series “Doc McStuffins,” will debut Tuesday, May 7, 2013. A must-add to the family viewing collection, the DVD comes packaged with 5 fun-filled episodes and a FREE growth chart.
“Doc McStuffins” tells the story of a nurturing six-year-old girl who heals stuffed animals and broken toys out of her backyard playhouse clinic. Assisting Doc at the clinic are her trusty team of lovable stuffed animals including: Stuffy, an overly proud dragon; Lambie, her cuddly best friend lamb; Hallie, a jolly and caring hippo nurse; and Chilly, a snowman who spends a lot of time getting check-ups at the clinic. Whether it’s a case of loose stitching, low batteries or a blow-up toy who has sprung a leak, Doc and her pals are always there to lend a helping hand, while imparting to young viewers the importance of taking care of oneself and others.
ToonBarn’s Marc Morrell was able to talk to Kiara Muhammad, the voice of the lead character on Doc McStuffins, thanks to Disney Jr. Here is that full conversation for your enjoyment:
Marc: Hi, Kiara.
Kiara: Hi, Marc.
Marc: Let’s start at the beginning. You are originally from Boston, right?
Marc: At what point did you know you had the talent for acting?
Kiara: Well, for me, I think I wanted to do this since I was 6 or 7. But my Mom and Dad noticed I had a perky personality when I was 4, I think. So, they really started me in photo shoots and stuff, and I thought, “Yeah, I like the camera.” So, I took to liking acting.
Marc: Was it stage acting that you started with?
Kiara: I did stage acting first. Then, I auditioned for commercials. Then, eventually, TV Shows.
Marc: And is that when you made the switch to New York?
Kiara: That was when I was doing more commercials and Theatre, when I was around 8.
Marc: At what point did agents, management, and the move to L.A. occur?
Kiara: I was in New York for a year, so I moved to L.A. when I was 8, and that’s when I started the TV auditions.
Marc: What sparked going to L.A., and your first gig?
Kiara: My first gig? I think my first gig in L.A., I was auditioning for a lot of Disney stuff, and I eventually tested for a Disney show. I didn’t get it, but then they brought me back and I eventually got a pilot. So, I was just really busy with a lot of Disney stuff that year, and I think that was one of my first gigs, but I had done commercials before that.
Marc: Had you done guest spots on any other shows?
Kiara: I was on Mike and Molly, and Hannah Montana, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and NCIS.
Marc: Wow! I also noticed from seeing Doc McStuffins that you learned how to speak with an English accent, and you probably already had the Boston and New York accents as well, right?
Kiara: A little bit. The New York accent is really difficult for me for some reason, like I can do the “chawclate” (for chocolate), but some other words, it’s kind of confusing. I’m not sure if it’s the Boston accent mixed with New York or if it’s full New York. I’m still working on it.
Marc: I think you’re doing very well. How did you get the role for Doc McStuffins?
Kiara: I just auditioned like any other role. I got a call back, and I ended up getting it.
Marc: So, how thrilling was it when they offered you the lead role in Doc McStuffins?
Kiara: I was really shocked because it was one of my first voice-over roles. To get a lead in a series, I was kind of proud, but I was really surprised, because I know there were people who were in the voice-over industry longer than me. But, I was really happy. I have to be doing something right if I got the role over all these people.
Marc: Ok, let’s talk about the show, Doc McStuffins. The main premise of the show is that your the doctor to the toys. You somehow have this magical stethoscope that, when you put it on, it brings the toys to life, but only in your presence, and you give them checkups.
Marc: So, your character has been labeled, “The Toy Whisperer” in other articles written about Doc McStuffins, because the character is able to figure out what is going on with the toys and fix them.
Kiara: Yeah, I guess that’s actually a good name for her.
Marc: Now, do you see how this relates to “Toy Story”, where the toys are always alive, but no people ever know about it?
Kiara: Yes, I guess so.
Marc: Is this really a “magic” thing, or is it just a really vivid imagination that Doc McStuffins has?
Kiara: I think it’s magic, because I honestly don’t think her imagination would totally do the crazy things that happen on this show. All the characters are different. One’s really sassy. One’s scared. One’s energetic. One’s really sweet. They’re these really detailed toys. I think it’s magic, but it could me some imagination too, because she can make it whatever she wants.
Marc: Yeah, pretty much. I saw the episode on the DVD, Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Checkup, where Xyla the xylaphone had a key that had come loose. Her friend, who owned the xylaphone, was really bummed, so Doc said she would take it in, while she was at lunch, and give the toy a checkup. In the course of doing all this, there’s a message that comes through to pre-schoolers, in the form of health tips, right?
Kiara: Yeah, that you have to take care of yourself because if you don’t, it could cause some complications with your body or your mind or whatever. You should take care of yourself, whether it’s washing your hands, flossing every day, or exercising to keep yourself healthy
Marc: There’s not a lot of pre-school shows doing that these days, right?
Kiara: No, there isn’t.
Marc: I think there’s another lesson here: take good care of your toys, because they could get hurt.
Kiara: (Laughing) Huh, yeah.
Marc: Did you see Toy Story 3?
Kiara: I believe I did, yeah.
Marc: At one point, the pre-schoolers were just tearing apart the toys, with no regard for the health of the toys at all.
Marc: I think kids would learn to treat their toys well on DocMcStuffins.
Marc: What season are we on now for Doc McStuffins?
Kiara: This is the second season.
Marc: How long do you think they can keep the show going?
Kiara: I think they’re going to keep it going because the writer, Chris (Nee), she has so many ideas, for like toys and situations where toys get hurt. I think she could literally write the series for at least 8 years, like honestly, I think they could do that.
Marc: You don’t foresee any changes happening to your voice as a result of getting older, do you?
Kiara: No, I don’t think so. I just put my voice high. It’s not like I do something really weird with my voice.
Marc: Yeah, you still sound very young. I am sure you do something to make it sound younger.
Marc: Would you be able to give an example of a line from one of the episodes?
Kiara: I don’t have any lines with me.
Marc: There was the “Gulping Gators” episode, where the one Gator felt sick, and Doc said, “You have too many marbles in your tummy. ”
Kiara: Ok, (as Doc McStuffins): You have too many marbles in your tummy.
Marc: Oh, I see it now. I see the slight differences, even in just that small phrase. There’s these slight little things you do, like at the beginning and end of words that make it twist just a little bit. That is a special talent right there.
Kiara: Thank you.
Marc: I never understood how older people could do young voices, but there was a lot going on in that little line there. You also do some singing in the show. Was that a part of the audition as well?
Kiara: Yeah, I sang the theme song in the audition and call back.
Marc: So, they knew right away that you had the voice talent and the singing talent?
Marc: With the DVD Release for Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Checkup, are there any extras that come with the DVD?
Kiara: There’s a growth chart that comes with it. They get a free growth chart. I think it will have characters on it, so they can draw on it, or hang it up in their room or something.
Marc: Ok, great. Kiara, I want to thank you for spending some time with us today on ToonBarn.
Kiara: Thank you, Marc.
ToonBarn wants to thank Kiara Muhammad for this very special interview. Thank you to Disney Jr as well, for setting it up. Remember, the Doc McStuffins: Time for Your Checkup DVD will be available in stores and online tomorrow, May 7. Check it out!
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