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Meet Christina Kelly of Sentai Filmworks and FUNimation Entertainment

Today we’d like to introduce you to Christina Kelly.

Christina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born in Newport Beach California to a military family. My artistic journey began at a very early age, but I never thought I would be an actor. I actually wanted to be a Zoologist and train elephants and big cats for movies. It was in high school I got bitten by the theatre bug, and I decided to pursue a degree in acting at the University of Houston.

While there, I worked on shows such as The Miser, Twelfth Night, Playboy of the Western World, Blood Wedding, Ring Round the Moon, and Zombie Prom- The Musical. During the fall of my senior year at the University of Houston, I was recommended by a friend to audition for Sentai Filmworks, an anime dubbing company. I was actually very sick the day of my audition and didn’t think I would hear anything back, but three months later, I got a phone call. After only working there for four months I booked a lead in a show that would be featured on Cartoon Networks Adult Swims anime block Toonami called Akame Ga Kill. The shows premiere became one of the the most watched in the block’s history with over 1.8 million viewers!

That was a little crazy because I used to watch Toonami when I was a kid. About two years after working in voiceover, I met a director for FUNimation Entertainment at a convention who was interested in bringing me in for a show. I started working there in 2017. When I graduated from college back in 2015, I became represented by the Pastorini Bosby Agency and started booking commercial work and auditioning for television shows on AMC and independent films. I also work in theatre around Houston such as The Catastrophic Theatre, Unity Theatre and most recently, A.D. Players.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sentai Filmworks and FUNimation Entertainment – what should we know?
Sentai is an American licensing company that’s based here in Houston. Funimation is another company in Dallas that specializes in dubbing anime as well. Anime has such a huge fan base. I feel like it’s bigger than what it was when I was growing up. It’s become a very mainstream thing. I used to get made fun of for liking it and now I see T-shirt’s of the shows I used to watch in Target! I guess it’s cool to be a nerd now? There’s also all these streaming services that fans can use to watch all their favorite shows. It used to be you had to tune at a certain time of week to watch anime on television. Now we have Hulu, amazon prime, Netflix and all these other platforms to access a plethora of anime. Sentai has its own streaming service called HiDive and FUNimation has its own app with all of their shows. It’s unreal how this whole world has changed.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely hasn’t been a smooth road for me. I went to three different high schools and thirteen different schools in total growing up. I also didn’t take as many lessons in the arts like a lot of my peers. Most have been triple threats since they were toddlers.

Since my graduation in 2015 there’s been lots of struggles, but also lots of achievements. I was nominated for two Behind the Voice Actor awards in 2015 and 2017. Which is such an accomplishment to have so early in my career. Living here in Houston has brought so many opportunities my way. I feel extremely lucky I get to work consistently in this amazing city. I know actors who have moved to Houston from Los Angeles, Chicago and New York because there’s so much work and you can afford to live here. It’s a wonderful place to be if you’re an artist.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh gosh! So many people! My dad, my mom, my brothers, Gary and my two best friends Valentina Olarte and Valentina Gonzalez. I don’t know what I’d do without them, they all give me a lot of love and support. Also, my mentor and friend, Emily Trask. She really pushed me to continue with theatre during a time I was really struggling. I feel very lucky to know her. My directors at Sentai Filmworks, John Swasey, Kyle Jones, Shannon Reed, David Wald. All of them are amazing! Especially for putting up with me all the time!

Some of my wonderful former professors at the University of Houston, Jim Johnson, Carolyn Boone, Sara Becker. They’re all the best of the best in what they teach. I learned so much from them.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Annine Berg, Joey Watkins

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