Elizabeth Holmes is weighing in on the hoarse, baritone voice and unique persona she’s become so famous for in media portrayals and the public consciousness.
In an in-depth new profile of the embattled tech entrepreneur published by the New York Times on Sunday, Holmes addressed the public persona she’s become famous for — including her black turtleneck sweaters, bright red lipstick and husky, throaty idiosyncratic voice.
According to Holmes, the very things she’s now famous for were actually all an affectation she was putting on in an effort to be taken more seriously when looking for startup capital to fund her now-infamous tech company, Theranos.
Because of this — and her effort to cast off the shackles of her past before putting on actual shackles in her impending prison sentence — Holmes says that she’s not really bothered by several high-profile recent portrayals of her in the media.
This apparently includes Amanda Seyfried’s Emmy-winning portrayal in the Hulu series The Dropout, based on Holmes’ rise and fall. As well as a project in the works from director Adam McKay in which Jennifer Lawrence was in talks to star as Holmes, although she has since dropped out.
“They’re not playing me,” Holmes said of all the portrayals she’s seen of herself, without directly naming any particular actors. “They’re playing a character I created.”
Holmes is currently appealing her conviction after she was sentenced to 11 years in prison, and her lawyers are requesting that she not be imprisoned during her appeal process, and she and partner, Billy Evans, welcomed their second child together in February.
In the NYT profile, Holmes explained that she’s not anything like the person people believe her to be, and that the persona she demonstrated — which was the basis for Seyfried’s performance — was all an elaborate fabrication.
“I believed it would be how I would be good at business and taken seriously and not taken as a little girl or a girl who didn’t have good technical ideas,” Holmes claimed in the article. “Maybe people picked up on that not being authentic, since it wasn’t.”
Seyfried spoke with ET in March 2022 about her performance, and explained how she wanted to make sure she wasn’t making a joke of Holmes or her unique characteristics, but bringing them to light in a truthful and organic way.
When it came to the voice, it was something Seyfried said she was able to develop over time, just as Holmes had to as she came into her own as the founder of a healthcare technology startup in the male-dominated Silicon Valley in her early 20s.
“I had a little freedom because her voice developed over time, and because it wasn’t super natural for her, it wasn’t very natural for me,” Seyfried said. “I could get away with, you know, falling out of it and inconsistencies that actually worked. So there wasn’t as much pressure in that respect.”
However, the actress said getting it right did take “lots of hours” of practice, using tricks with breathing and shaping her mouth, as well as watching tapes of Holmes’ deposition to get her voice, which was already naturally higher, to Holmes’ lower register.
“I was working really hard because, obviously, it was important,” she said, noting, “I know [the tapes] word for word.”