This doll is going places!
Serena Williams has named a 16-year-old voice actress for her daughter Olympia’s doll, Qai Qai, People reports.
Qai Qai is the favorite doll of Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian’s 4-year-old daughter Olympia. The doll first appeared on Instagram in 2018, Williams once remarking that she purchased the doll so Olympia could have a Black baby doll. But Qai Qai, pronounced ‘Kway-Kway,’ quickly gained internet stardom, garnering millions of followers across social media. The doll has since been animated and shares its hilarious adventures with Olympia and her family online. Now, Qai Qai is getting her own voice, Serena recently announcing that 16-year-old Taikirha Miller will voice the doll in a new YouTube series.
“Everyone needs to find their voice, and I’m happy Qai Qai found hers in Taikirha. Qai Qai has built a massive community on Instagram and TikTok, and I think her loyal fans will love getting to know her on a deeper level. Now that she’s found her voice, the possibilities for the franchise are endless,” Williams told reporters.
Taikirha said she’s ecstatic to lend her voice to the new series, having previously worked as a voice actress with the Disney Dreamer Academy and Jordan Brand. Now she’s ready to take on her biggest project to date, only finding out about the huge opportunity mere weeks ago.
“I found out about [it] two weeks ago when I had just got off the stage from a national pageant. I was doing casual wear, and I went to find my mom in the lobby, and she was like, ‘Good job, Qai Qai.’ And she said it so suddenly, and I wasn’t sure what she was talking about. And then it clicked in my head, and I got really excited and started screaming in the lobby,” Taikirha recalls.
The teen says she feels the role is perfect for her mainly because she’s a fan of the doll and shares a lot of things in common with the character, including her big personality. Taikirha also hopes people feel empowered by the series and is excited to show the world what Qai Qai has to offer.
“I knew how she acts and how she is. We are very similar, so it was easy for me to be able to portray her… I want them to be able to hear her personality and be able to watch her and laugh and smile and be happy. I want them to feel empowered because she’s an empowering character. She has a lot of representation. She represents confidence and poise and being yourself. So I want people to be able to have all of that and take that away from Qai,” said Taikirha.
This isn’t Qai Qai’s first exploration outside of Olympia’s dollhouse either. The doll is already a best seller on Amazon and has been featured in a coloring book courtesy of Adobe. The character also has a YouTube channel and will be the subject of Williams' first ever children’s book, The Adventures of Qai Qai by Serena Williams. The book is set for release on September 27th and will take readers on a heartwarming story that centers on friendship and imagination.
Taikirha says she’s grateful to Williams, Ohanian, and Olympia for introducing Qai Qai to the world and shining a spotlight on a different type of representation among children.
“I want to thank them for the representation they’re putting out for kids and adults watching Qai Qai. I want them to know that I’m very thankful for this opportunity and more than anything… I want to thank them for allowing me to have this opportunity,” the teen said.
No word yet on when the series will be released but we can’t wait to see more of Qai Qai!
Photos Courtesy of Getty/YouTube/People