Behind the voice: an interview with TikTok’s text-to-speech actress


Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

As a radio host for Canada’s 91.5 The Beat, Kat Callaghan struggled to keep her role as TikTok’s new text-to-speech voice under wraps. When her voice appeared on the app last year, listeners started sending her countless TikToks pointing out the similarities. “Have you heard this? It kind of sounds like you,” she recalls listeners saying.

But it wasn’t until last month that Callaghan confirmed what her listeners had long suspected: “Finally, I can tell you guys,” she said in a TikTok video, the first she’d ever posted. “It is me.” The video went viral almost immediately, amassing more than 45 million views since it went live.

Callaghan’s voice, known as “Jessie” in the app, has become a popular way for creators to convey their thoughts…

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