By Maggie McNamara
¡Vámanos! (Let’s go!) Since 2000, Nickelodeon’s popular cartoon character Dora the Explorer has encouraged kids to join in on her adventures through an animated forest full of surprises. An eight-year-old bilingual Latina, the courageous youngster travels great distances with her monkey friend, Boots, while teaching little viewers Spanish phrases along the way.
Behind the Dora we all know and love on screen is a girl who pours new life into the vivacious voyager. For the past two years, 11-year-old Queens native Fátima Ptacek has been the source of Dora’s declarations.
“I really look up to Dora. I’ve watched her since I was little,” Fátima explains. “I love the fact that she interacts so well with the children. That’s one thing that I remember…Dora always made me feel like I was her best friend.”
Fátima began her career at just five years old as an actress and model, starring in television commercials and moving into film and modeling for major management company Wilhelmina. But beyond her impressive résumé, Fátima is simply a natural for the part.
A bright, young Latina herself, Fátima is bilingual in English and Spanish, just like her cartoon counterpart. But the two share more than a common ethnicity and a knack for languages—Fátima also loves adventure. And while her own adventures around New York City may not involve dodging a kleptomaniac fox or following the instructions of a talking map, Fátima and her family love to explore local museums, Central Park, and even the forests of Pennsylvania, searching for salamanders and other wildlife. Dora and Fátima also share a spirit of determinism. Fátima prides herself in completing any project she begins and hopes that, with the help of Dora, she can encourage other kids to do the same.
To read the full article at New York Family Magazine click here.
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