Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Might Have Been Faking Her Voice For Years

Photo credit: CNBC - Getty Images
Photo credit: CNBC - Getty Images
  • Amanda Seyfried plays Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes in the new Hulu series The Dropout.

  • In the show, the actress had to take on a much deeper voice.

  • According to people who worked with and know Holmes, her pitch wasn't always that low. Some have claimed Holmes was faking her voice in order to be taken more seriously.

Hulu’s new true-crime series The Dropout features Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes, the Theranos founder who falsely claimed her technology could diagnose diseases with a single drop of blood. Amanda completely nailed the role of Elizabeth, down to her style and voice, which is deeper than most people would expect.

Amanda told ET that it took some work to recreate Elizabeth’s signature sound.

“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,” Amanda 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.”

But Amanda said it took “lots of hours” of practice to get the voice right. She even did special breathing tricks and watched tapes of Elizabeth’s deposition in her trial for fraud to try to nail the voice. “I was working really hard because, obviously, it was important,” Amanda said.

During one episode in the mini-series, Amanda-as-Elizabeth stares at herself in the mirror as she tries out different variations of her voice while pretending to speak to investors.

“It was important to me to make the transformation into an entire episode,” producer Elizabeth Meriwether told ET. “I didn’t want to start with her already in [her element]. I wanted to show what that evolution was. And I felt like that transformation was really based on the pressures and the emotions that were going on in the company at that time.”

Elizabeth’s voice has come into question before and now it’s back in the spotlight. So, did Elizabeth change her voice? Some people say she faked her deep-sounding voice to try to impress male business associates.

Former coworkers and acquaintances of Elizabeth told ABC Radio that Elizabeth’s voice was all an act. "It was maybe at one of the company parties, and maybe she had too much to drink or what not, but she fell out of character and exposed that that was not necessarily her true voice,” a former employee said.

Phyllis Gardner, a professor from Stanford University where Elizabeth went to school before she dropped out also told ABC Radio this: “When she came to me, she didn't have a low voice.”

Elizabeth has never publicly spoken about all the questions about her voice or said whether she practiced getting it sounding that way. But vocal experts previously told Women’s Health that she seems to be using vocal fry, which is the lowest tone of your voice. When you use vocal fry, you get a lower, creaky, breathy-sounding voice, similar to Elizabeth's.

Elizabeth reportedly kept up that deep voice during her trial so, if she has been faking it, it’s unlikely that she plans to give it up any time soon.

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