Tiffany Smith knows what it’s like to conquer the geek universe, so it’s fitting that she’s starring in the new Masters of the Universe series. She portrays Andra in Netflix‘s Masters of the Universe: Revelation, who is not only saving the day but has the distinction of being the first African-American character in the series.
It’s a dream role for Tiffany, who’s been a familiar face around all things geek for a long time now. In addition to her acting roles she’s hosted programs and events for DC Universe, The CW, AMC and many others. She’s a star on either side of the camera and took a few moments to speak to me not only about Masters of the Universe but finding success, and happiness, just being herself and embracing the heroes and nerdy things we all love.
Brittany Frederick: Masters of the Universe is one of the classic sci-fi franchises, so what was it like to be cast in Revelation and become part of that fandom?
Tiffany Smith: I was so blown away because I watched the show as a kid and I had the action figures. I was holding my Peek-a-Blue action figure from She-Ra in my first or second grade class photo. It’s always kind of been something in the back of my mind, so I was excited when I got the audition and booked it. I was like “What?!” Then I saw the cast list and was even more blown away, because the voice actors were such an incredibly talented cast.
BF: Many voice casts don’t record together, though, so did you get to record with any of your colleagues?
TS: We didn’t this time. We did a lot of it during 2020, so we had COVID to deal with as well. The first time I got to spend quality time with some of our cast was during a press day on Zoom, which was so much fun. The great thing is getting to see clips of the episodes and seeing how it all feels even though we were recording separately. Everyone who’s a part of this show wanted it to be great and was giving it 120 percent.
BF: How did you approach your role specifically? With all of the Masters of the Universe history and then also playing a groundbreaking character, that could be a massive undertaking.
TS: Andra wasn’t fully developed. She was in some of the old comic books. They took the name and developed this new character, so that took a lot of the pressure off because I wasn’t trying to emulate anything that I knew growing up or a voice that I already knew. What was great is that I’ve worked with [Revelation creator] Kevin Smith before, and the great thing about this character is she’s kind of the audience’s eyes. She’s a fan of this whole world, so I get to have those moments where I’m like “Oh my gosh, it’s Castle Grayskull!” or meeting Adam and Teela.
That part of it came really naturally to me. I definitely rewatched the old series before I went in for my first session and got out my action figures. That was one of the things I did to get ready for it, but really I talked to Kevin and we had the energy of what we want this character to be. I think it worked out pretty well!
BF: You’ve done voice work, live-action work and a lot of hosting work. How do you balance those differing aspects of your career consistently?
TS: I feel very, very grateful that I have been able to keep a toe in the water when it comes to voice-over work, and actual on-screen acting and hosting as well, because I know that it’s a hard thing to do. I’ve always had a passion for acting and performing. I started taking acting classes and didn’t talk about it much, then started auditioning and booking jobs like Supernatural, Jane the Virgin, and then doing Harry and Meghan: Becoming Royal. Those were all things my friends went, “Hey, why didn’t you tell us you were auditioning this much?” I’m one of those people that I will work very hard but not want to put something out there unless I feel like I’ve done everything I can do to make it great. I didn’t tell anyone about acting until I felt ready.
The thing that helped with balancing it all is that I am such a geek at my core. I love talking about film and comics and all that kind of stuff. With the hosting part, I just love talking to people, and sometimes jobs will circle back around from people I’ve worked with in the past, become friends with and they know how passionate I am about the stuff I love. Doing this Masters of the Universe voice-over, but then also going to co-host the aftershow with Kevin Smith and Rob Davis, that’s been really, really cool. I hope that I get to keep having my cake and eating it too. (laughs) I want to be able to do all of it. There so much that’s similar, but so much that’s different. I love the idea of consistently challenging myself and learning new things.
BF: Since you’ve done so much hosting work in these major fandoms and at big events like San Diego Comic-Con, what are you recognized for most? Is it a role or is it simply as yourself?
TS: Most of the time it’s just for being me, which is really lovely. Some of my favorite [moments] have been when someone comes up to me, like a young girl or someone with a daughter, and is like “Hey, we just wanted to say hi because our daughter also really loves comics and geeky things, and you’ve meant a lot to her in that way.”
I feel really lucky with the stuff that I’ve gotten to do. When the Harry and Meghan movie came out, or whenever there’s something newsworthy going on with them, I get a lot more “Hey, do you know who you look like?” But really it’s just recognizing me as Tiffany Smith, which is really nice.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation is now streaming on Netflix.
Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.