When Fátima Ptacek first auditioned for the voice of “Dora the Explorer” about four years ago, she actually didn’t know it was for the iconic children's TV role.
The only thing they told her was Nickelodeon had a secret project in the works. She went on to become the third child actor to lend a voice to the cute and curious little brunette. She was 9.
“Dora was a very, very big part of my life when I was younger, I think Dora is a big part for everyone,” the now 13-year-old told Fox News Latino. “It was kind of scary jumping into those shoes and being that for other kids.”
Now Nickelodeon is about to premiere a brand new Dora show, with a slightly older and urban protagonist — in "Dora in the City" she will be 10, as opposed to 7 when she was a explorer. Ptacek, who is half-Ecuadorian and fully bilingual, says she welcomes the new adventure.
For the last three plus years, Ptacek has been playing the iconic explorer who goes out with her friends on adventures, solving problems with the help of the TV fans. For the role, the teenager received NAACP Award and Imagen Award nominations.
Ptacek said she was able to easily transition into the new “older” Dora because now they are closer to age and it makes it seem like they are growing up together.
“It’s kind of a big leap but at the same time, she is still the same cool Dora that we know and love,” she told FNL. “You want to keep the character true to herself. You don’t want to completely change her.”
Fans should not worry that Dora will be much different than her younger self.
“She is still super adventurous. She is still very loyal to her friends, loves helping out and solving friends,” Ptacek said. “She is just a little bit older now.”
She added: “(Dora) is a little bit more sassy now – so she can crack jokes with her friends.”
Being older means some newer gadgets for Dora, including a smartphone with a maps app and a magic charm bracelet that will help her out all the time.
What won’t change are Dora’s interactions with the audience – something Ptacek said children love because they feel the characters rely on them to ride out the obstacles.
“They feel like they are really important and special — and they are. They really make up the show,” she said.
And although she is playing the voice of one of the most well-known and loved TV characters, Ptacek said she is really just a normal girl, with a really cool job.
When she is not in the studios or doing promotions, the teenager is a competitive gymnast and accomplished equestrian. She is preparing for her first year in high school and if being fluent in English and Spanish was not enough, she is taking lessons in Mandarin Chinese.
“I am just a pretty much a normal kid, I think, I just have some interesting extracurricular activities,” Ptacek said.
"Dora in the City" premieres Monday night on Nickelodeon.
Follow Lucia I. Suarez on Twitter @luciasuarezsang