2012-02-01 / Features

It’s Dora With A Big Apple Accent

Dora the Explorer is about to acquire a new, New York City accent.

The new voice of Dora Marquez, the popular, adventurous, bilingual eight-year-old cartoon character is that of Fatima Ptacek, 11, who hails from Queens.

Ptacek, who attends public school in Sunnyside, is also one of the city’s highest-paid child models and the daughter of a retired NYPD detective.

Ptacek said she was chosen as the new voice of Dora the Explorer by just being her bubbly, outgoing self.

“I didn’t do a special voice for Dora,” Ptacek said. “I just did me. I’m fluent in English and Spanish, just like Dora.”

Heading into its seventh season this week on the cable channel, Nickelodeon, Dora The Explorer has raked in an estimated $1 billion since the show debuted in 2000, according to the show’s Web site.

“I can identify with Dora,” Ptacek said. “She’s super-determined to get to her exploring.”

Ptacek said she is a very independent person. “I’m not going to have a boyfriend until I’m 20,” she declared. “I have my priorities set.”

The sixth-grader said, “My dad says I’m not allowed to date until I’m 35. I say, Papi, I think you’re stretching it.”

The Wilhelmina modeling agency discovered Ptacek in 2006 at an open call. Since then, she has appeared in more than 50 television commercials and has snared bit parts in movies and on TV, including Sesame Street.

Since she signed a three-year contract with Nickelodeon to portray the voice of Dora the Explorer, her friends call her “Dora” and said “I’ll get used to it.” —Liz Goff

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