Supanova 2017: Overwatch voice actors on diversity in digital worlds

Carolina Ravassa (Sombra) and Anjali Bhimani (Symmetra)

With over 30 million users the level of fandom that Overwatch has generated can be put into perspective like this; if it were the 1990’s the characters in the game would be all conquering super powered Spice Girls.

Since its 2016 release it’s become an online phenomenon with more depth than its simple shoot ’em up premise would have you suspect – becoming the biggest franchise to include LGBTIQ+ characters in the video gaming world.

Two of the actors who give voice to the characters Symmetra and Sombra spoke to OUTinPerth.

Anjali Bhimani and Carolina Ravassa have been successful working actors for many years. Bhimani is best known for her role as the Type A Alpha mom Nina Patel on Modern Family and Ravassa has appeared in The Affair and the teen dance drama Step Up 3D.

You’ve both been working successfully in theatre, TV and film for a while now, were you surprised when the voice over role for a video game became your “big break”?

Bhimani: As an actor you never know what’s going to be the thing, sometimes your favourite project isn’t so popular but I’m just so happy that something I’m so proud of has also been the thing that has blown up all over the world. The folks at Blizzard have created a beautiful world with this game where people defend each other and we need to see more of that nowadays.

Ravassa: it was quite surprising, I didn’t think something like this was going to happen but with the gaming world being so big and the fans being so devoted it’s exciting and kind of crazy.

Social media has broken down the barriers between fans and artists, what kind of interactions do you have with Overwatch fans?

Bhimani: Having started in the theatre I’m used to a certain level of interaction between actor and audience so now social media has taken that to a new level. As an artist I’m not interested in doing something that disappears into a vacuum and the fans are so creative and so prolific with their art and their fan fiction that it’s a blessing that we are so accessible and I have a lot of contact with fans on Twitter and Instagram.

Ravassa: Mostly fans will ask me to “boop” them (Sombra’s catchphrase) via Twitter or in person at the conventions and most of them pretend to faint, but aside from friends and family all of the interactions I have on social media is with gaming fans, sometimes they want to know about Sombra and sometimes they want to get to know me so I direct them to my YouTube channel hispanglosaxon.

Do you get recognised by fans in the street?

Bhimani: I’m actually surprised by how often that does happen, people will call me Symmetra down the street, I think it’s because we’ve become so much more well known online and people might have seen my other work because of Overwatch.

Ravassa: Well no it’s not like that on the street yet for me, it’s been promoted that Sombra’s coming.

What is it about the Overwatch universe that has forged such a strong connection with the fans?

Bhimani: I guess it comes down to two things, hope and inclusivity, I think the folks at Blizzard did such a beautiful job of creating this universe, where yes there are forces of evil and bad things are happening but there are people rising up against it.

In terms of inclusivity there are so many representations of people of different races, sexual preferences, different abilities, you name it. Symmetra is on the Autism spectrum but the creators didn’t focus in on that as a defining characteristic rather it is just part of who she is.

There are people from all walks of life in this game who are heroes and that hopefully helps people who play it to see the heroes in themselves and see themselves represented in a positive way. So all of those factors together just make for the perfect storm.

What can fans expect to see at the Supanova convention? Do you get any unusual requests from fans?

Ravassa: One time a girl got me to record a video asking a boy to the prom which was more romantic so nothing weird or unusual yet. We do some Q & A panels, sign autographs and take pictures, and just get to know the fans so it’s pretty social.

Both Bhimani and Ravassa are coming to the Supanova Comic Con and Gaming Expo June 23 – 25 at the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre. Tickets and more info at

Clinton Little

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