By Elizabeth Keenan
If you were a girl growing up in the 1980s, Jem and the Holograms was probably as big a part of your Saturday morning as Transformers and G.I. Joe were for your brother. Every week, pink-haired Jem, the alter-ego of music heiress Jerrica Benton, battled the evil Eric Raymond and his musical protégées, The Misfits, for control of Starlight Records.
With the help of super-computer/synthesizer/hologram projector Synergy, Jem and the Holograms (Kimber, Aja, and Shana) always did what was right in the face of Eric’s evil and The Misfits' mischief. Along the way, Jem/Jerrica helped raise a house full of foster girls, who were in constant financial and mortal danger, and managed a confusing love triangle involving her alter-egos and boyfriend Rico.
Samantha Newark, the speaking voice of Jem/Jerrica Benton, tells MTV Geek what it was like to be part of the legendary, outrageous cartoon.
MTV Geek: So, just to get this out of the way, how many times have you been asked if voicing Jem was truly, truly, truly outrageous?
Samantha Newark: If I had a dollar for every time I get asked that! But you know, I never get tired of it. Jem has been so wonderful to me, and such a wonderful thing in my life. I love it. I’m not tired of it, at all.
Geek: How did you end up as the voice of Jem and Jerrica?
Newark: I was the actor that did Jem and Jerrica’s voice, their speaking voice. I get asked about that a lot, because the casting was so clever. It was meant to be that nobody really knew it was two different people. So all the music and musicians and songwriters, the music world was actually in New York. That was in place before I auditioned for Jem’s speaking voice. I remember when I first auditioned for it, I was really excited that Jem was a singer because I’m a singer. But how wonderful that both Britta [Phillips] and I got to do what we love for a living. We’re both really excited that we got to do that.
Geek: What were some your favorite episodes from the series?
Newark: I love the episode “Out of the Past” that delves into Jem’s mom, and how Synergy came about, and the lost tapes. That’s one of my favorite episodes. Read More...