Dora the Explorer and Fatima Ptacek
02/02/2012 at 10:00 AM EST
Dora the Explorer
may be turning 12 this year, but the brand new voice
behind its beloved animated character – and $1-billion franchise – is only 11.
Her name is Fatima Ptacek and she's "been watching Dora for as long as I remember," the sixth-grader tells the Today show
. I've grown up with Dora."
She's also a highly successful child model, who, like Dora (who on the show is still 7), can speak both English and Spanish.
"Most [of Dora's dialogue] is spoken in English, but she speaks in Spanish when she sings. We get both on the shows," says Ptacek, whose mother is from Ecuador, while her father, whose background is Norwegian, hails from Queens, N.Y., where the family still lives.
Ptacek, who has said in interviews she has no intention of finding a boyfriend until she's at least 20, appears to be keeping a level head about her professional career.
"I can just imagine little kids sitting in front of their televisions and smiling the way I used to smile when I was little kid and watched Dora
," she told Today
. "It's really, really cool."