Voice acting is, sadly, one of the most underappreciated arts in media today. How many times you have found out a voice actress' name and said to yourself, "I know that voice!" Soon you learn that these women provided the spoken voice of some of your most beloved characters from movies, television, anime, and of course, video games. In the world of media, nothing helps project and flesh out the personality of a character like a good voice–one that's distinctive, memorable, and conveys personality. For that, a voice actor who knows their craft is a must. Voice acting in general is an art that doesn't receive its due in the gaming industry: case in point, with frequent recasts in the case of the entire roster of Lara Croft actresses and the replacement of David Hayter as Solid Snake, and the fact that unionization for video game voice actors is just now becoming an issue, despite voice acting being one of the most demanding gigs out there.
If voice acting in general is underappreciated, video game voice actresses are criminally so. Even as the role and portrayal of women continues to be a hot topic of discussion in the gaming world, there are talented women who practice their incredible craft in games like Tomb Raider, Mass Effect, Star Wars: KOTOR, Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts and more. Sometimes the right voice has the capacity to help create truly great female characters, and sometimes you find out their real-life voice actresses are just as lovely as their digital counterparts.
Here are 20 of the hottest video game voice actresses in the business today.
20 Laura Bailey
A native of Biloxi, Mississippi, Laura Bailey is one of the most prolific and influential voice actresses on this list. She's mainly known for her voice work in English-dubbed anime, cartoons, and video games. Her first major roles were the young versions of Trunks and Dende in the Funimation dub of Dragon Ball Z, and she has since built an impressive resume, providing her voice to Lust in Fullmetal Alchemist, the titular Shin-Chan of Crayon Shin-Chan, and characters in the English dubs for Naruto, Code Geass, and Soul Eater.
Of course, the lovely Ms. Bailey is no stranger to video games either, voicing Rayne from the Bloodrayne series, Serana from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Chun-Li in the newer Street Fighter titles, Catwoman in Telltale's Batman, and other voices in games like Uncharted 4, World of Warcraft, Persona 4, inFAMOUS, Fire Emblem, and Halo 5: Guardians.
19 Yvonne Strahovski
Though she's mostly known for playing CIA agent Sarah Walker on the NBC series Chuck, Yvonne Strahovski is best known to the gaming community as the sexy femme fatale Miranda Lawson in the Mass Effect series. Miranda stands out as one of the most seductive, memorable, and talked-about characters in the history of gaming. She was genetically tailored by her father to be the perfect woman, and as creepy as the idea may be, its nevertheless become the consensus that Miranda Lawson is one of the sexiest video game characters of all time. As such, it's only fitting that she's voiced by a real-life Australian-born actress and blonde bombshell Strahovski, who regularly makes "hottest actresses" lists.
Strahovski has also voiced Aya Brea in the English dub for The 3rd Birthday, both a spin-off of and the third entry in the Parasite Eve sci-fi-horror series.
18 Claudia Black
Claudia Black is mostly famous for playing Aeryn Sun in Farscape and Vala Mal Doran from Stargate SG-1, but in addition to being a classically beautiful woman and awesome actress, she has lent her distinctive voice to quite a few video game ladies. Some of her more prominent roles include Chloe Frazer in Uncharted, Samantha Byrne in Gears of War, Morrigan in Dragon Age: Origins, and Daro'Xen in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.
The daughter of Australian medical academics, Claudia has also lived all over the world in places like New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Since 2007, she's been active in the gaming voice acting scene, especially for BioWare. Her son Odin Black even voiced her character Morrigan's son in Dragon Age.
17 Hayden Panettiere
Almost nobody had an earlier start in acting than Hayden Panettiere. Seemingly born for the screen, the New York native got her start appearing in Playskool commercials at the age of 11 months. She went on to have an incredibly active acting career even before the age of 21, and is known for her role as a series regular on One Life to Live, Juliette Barnes in Nashville (for which she received two Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress), and famously starred as the cheerleader Claire Bennet in NBC's Heroes.
Panettiere has also gained notoriety in the world of video games. She provided voice work and modeled for the character of Sam in the interactive survival horror game Until Dawn, but she's mainly known for voicing Kairi in the Kingdom Hearts series.
16 Grey DeLisle
As it turns out, the sultry-voiced Grey DeLisle is quite a looker in real life, and it's pretty much guaranteed you've grown up hearing her incredibly prolific voice work in animation, films, and video games. She has voiced Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Vicky from The Fairly Oddparents, Sam from Danny Phantom, Franki Foster, Duchess, and Goo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, and Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender among many others, including voicing Daphne in Scooby-Doo cartoons since 2001.
DeLisle made a name for herself in gaming by voicing Catwoman in the Arkham games, Infinite Crisis, and Injustice 2, Jeanne in Bayonetta and Bayonetta 2, Ellegaard the Redstone Engineer in Minecraft, various roles in Mortal Kombat X, and Amanda Valenciano Libre from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Whew, that's some body of work.
15 Eliza Dushku
Playing the role of Faith in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel catapulted the talented beauty Eliza Dushku into a household name, and though she has since had a string of canceled shows on Fox (namely Tru Calling and Dollhouse), she continues to act doing both television and voice work in video games. She got her start in gaming voices playing Faith once again in the multiplatform game Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds. She went on to voice Yumi Sawamura in the first game in the Yakuza series, and then Saundi in Saints Row 2.
However, her first starring voice role in a video game would come in the form of badass bounty hunter and mercenary for hire Rubi Malone in 2009's WET. While the game itself garnered mixed reviews from critics and audiences, Dushku's performance was never in question.
14 Rachael Leigh Cook
The multi-talented actress, model, producer, and voice artist got her start in acting appearing in a public service announcement for foster care at seven years of age. She continued acting into her teens and became famous in a very strange way: she starred in one of the infamous "This Is Your Brain On Drugs" PSA advertisements at the age of 18, where she smashes everything in a kitchen with a frying pan to demonstrate what heroin does to the body.
Since then, she's starred in She's All That, Josie and the Pussycats, and television series like Perception and Into the West. She's well-known by fans as the voice of Tifa Lockhart in the beloved Final Fantasy series, who she has voiced multiple times in both the FF series and Kingdom Hearts II. Cook also performed the voice of Jedi Padawan Jaesa Willsaam in the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic.
13 Courtenay Taylor
Such fantastic gaming franchises as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Halo, Mass Effect, Fallout, and Titanfall owe Courtenay Taylor for her voice talents. In fact, if you've spent any significant time playing video games since the early 2000s, chances are you've heard her voice and never knew. Though perhaps her best-known role is as the super sexy Ada Wong from the Resident Evil series, she frequently provides additional voice talent for side characters and NPCs in games like Star Trek: Starfleet Command III, Dragon Age: Origins, EverQuest II and For Honor.
Taylor's resume is one of the longest and most impressive on this list, including Serina in Halo Wars 2, Juhani in Star Wars: KOTOR, Jack in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, and the female player character in Fallout 4.
12 Stana Katic
Canadian-American actress Stana Katic is best known for her portrayal of detective Kate Beckett on the ABC series Castle, in which she co-stars with Nathan Fillion of Firefly fame. Born in Ontario, Canada, she holds dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship, and speaks English, Serbian, Croatian, French, Italian, and Slovenian fluently. Regarding her ethnicity, Katic has called herself and her family Dalmatian, since the Dalmatian region of Croatia is where they're originally from, though she also stated she has "Serb, Croat and even a handful of Montenegrin family members."
Katic regularly ranks high on lists of hottest actresses and television stars, but what many may not know is that she also voiced Talia al Ghul in Batman: Arkham City, which is considered to be one of the greatest video games of all time.
11 Gina Torres
Gina Torres' name is famous in sci-fi for her roles in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Xena: Warrior Princess, Alias, and as Jasmine on Angel and Zoe Washburne on Firefly. Recently she made an appearance in Westworld as Lauren and showed her acting chops for business drama for six seasons as Jessica Pearson on Suits. She and her real-life husband Laurence Fishburne play the troubled married couple Jack and Bella Crawford on Hannibal.
She first went into voice acting in 2005, when she voiced Vixen in several episodes of Justice League Unlimited and replaced Jada Pinkett Smith as the voice of Niobe in The Matrix Online. She also voiced Wonder Woman for the DC Universe Online MMO and Airachnid in Transformers: Prime – The Game, further cementing her voice acting reputation. She is perhaps most famous for voicing Ikora Rey in Destiny, a role she will reprise for Destiny 2.
10 Camilla Luddington
This English actress first embarked on the path to fame when she was cast to play Catherine "Kate" Middleton in the Lifetime TV movie William & Kate: The Movie. Where do you go from playing the Duchess of Cambridge? Well, like Camilla Luddington you could portray Dr. Jo Wilson on the acclaimed medical drama Grey's Anatomy, or you could be the model and voice actress for the most iconic video game heroine of all time: Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider series.
Luddington won the hearts of millions of gamers worldwide by playing the popular vixen, both in her wide-eyed youth in 2013's Tomb Raider reboot and a grittier Ms. Croft in 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider. Her voice work was top-notch and her motion capture likeness lent realism to the character. Luddington also voiced Supergirl and The Construct in Infinite Crisis.
9 Jennifer Hale
When it comes to cartoons and video games, there are many voice actresses who can claim awards and recognition, but there's only one who can claim to be recognized by Guinness World Records as the most prolific female video game voice actor: Jennifer Hale. She got her start voicing Ivy on Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego, and went on to voice characters in other popular cartoons like The Real Adventures of Johnny Quest, The Powerpuff Girls, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, Totally Spies!, Codename: Kids Next Door, and The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy.
It's also hard to compete with her in the realm of video games, with her work in the Baldur's Gate, Mass Effect, Metal Gear Solid, BioShock Infinite, Star Wars: KOTOR and Metroid Prime franchises, just to name a few.
8 Adrienne Wilkinson
Adrienne Wilkinson was already a well-established television actress with her roles in Xena: Warrior Princess and ER, as well as other shows like Angel and Charmed. However, she's since found a comfortable niche for herself in the world of video game voice acting, providing voices for over 50 characters.
After voicing characters in EverQuest II, she played Ruby in Dead to Rights II, Samantha in Saints Row, and provided the voice and likeness for the corrupted Jedi Maris Brood in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, and has appeared in Star Wars: The Old Republic and as a personification of the Light Side of the Force in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Wilkinson also voiced Sarah in The Evil Within and Mina Tang in Alpha Protocol.
7 Courtnee Draper
Courtnee Draper has been professionally acting since childhood and has since branched out to become a singer, artist, lawyer, and even a voice actress. It's no wonder the talented leading lady was chosen by Irrational Games to be the voice of the "Lamb of Columbia," Elizabeth Comstock in 2013's BioShock Infinite. While she got her start doing additional voices in 2005's Kingdom Hearts II, it was really playing Elizabeth, one of the most iconic and well-recognized video game characters of the last decade, that launched her voice acting career.
Since then she has voiced Elizabeth again in the episodic expansion BioShock Infinite: Burial at Sea, played Karen in Alien Rage, and White Tiger in 2014's Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes, and 2015's Disney Infinity 3.0. Draper was nominated for a British Academy Games Award for her performance as Elizabeth.
6 Keeley Hawes
This English actress is mainly known for her roles in British television, such as Kitty Butler in Tipping the Velvet, Lady Agnes in the modern reboot of Upstairs, Downstairs, and in productions like Spooks and Ashes to Ashes. These days she's busy appearing in the crime shows like Line of Duty, BBC series like The Missing and Doctor Who, and as Louisa Durrell in ITV's The Durrells. Hawes also spends her spare time as a UNICEF ambassador, but when it comes to video games, Hawes is mostly known for her time voicing Lara Croft.
Hawes took over the voice role from Jonell Elliot in 2006, and made her debt playing Lara in Tomb Raider: Legend and then in the 2007 remake of the original game, Tomb Raider: Anniversary. She also recorded Lara's lines for Tomb Raider: Underworld, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and its sequel, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris.
5 Lacey Chabert
From her roots as a child actress on Party of Five to providing the voice for Eliza Thornberry in The Wild Thornberrys and moving on to voice Zatanna Zatara in Justice League and other DC Comics media, Lacey Chabert has had a long and varied career. Many people know her from playing Gretchen Wieners in Mean Girls and other films before starring in no less than eight Lifetime movies, but it turns out Chabert has video game voice roles under her belt, too.
In addition to reprising her role as Zatanna in Infinite Crisis, Young Justice: Legacy, and Injustice: Gods Among Us, she also played Mako in Star Wars: The Old Republic and Princess Elise in the infamously bad and controversial 2006 version of Sonic the Hedgehog for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
4 Olivia Hack
Another early bloomer, Olivia Hack first appeared in a commercial spot when she was only eight months old! As an actress, she has been noted for her authenticity in playing Cindy Brady in the 1990s Brady Bunch films. But she has also been praised for her voice work in numerous works of animation, including Rhonda Wellington Lloyd in Nickelodeon's Hey Arnold!, for which she received Young Artist Award nominations. She also voiced fan favorite Ty Lee in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Olivia is no stranger to the world of video games. She has played Hana in Final Fantasy X-2, Cloe in various Bratz media including five of the video games from 2005-2006, and reprising her famous role as Ty Lee in multiple Avatar: The Last Airbender games including The Burning Earth and Into the Inferno. She returned to the Final Fantasy series in 2013 with Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII.
3 Shelley Blond
It's been over two decades since Shelley Blond debuted her sultry voice to the world as the first actress to voice Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider series. The New York Times famously compared her voice to Kathleen Turner as Jessica Rabbit, and it's easy to see why. While many talented voice actresses have played gaming's most iconic female character since, Blond is the person who first made Lara come alive.
She also provided several voices for the artificial life game Black and White, and has done work for the Disney Channel on The Spooky Sisters and as Cinderella in Snow White: The Sequel. Though she's a long-standing narrator for channels like ITV, National Geographic Channel, FX, Virgin Media On Demand, and the Discovery Channel, her performance as Lara is what lives on in the hearts of millions.
2 Jonell Elliott
Jonell Elliott is the third voice actress to play Lara Croft. Though she's kept a relatively low public profile, she has done voice work for video games since 1995 when she debuted in Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe. She's also been a regular in voiceovers for big-name brands like Oil of Olay, McDonalds, Nescafe and others.
Elliott once said she was very comfortable in the skin of Lara Croft, as shown by her providing her voice for Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation, Tomb Raider Chronicles, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. She also returned to play Lara once more in 2006's interactive iDVD, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Action Adventure DVD Game.
1 Tara Strong
If there's one voice actress who can be called legendary, it's Tara Strong. A giant in the American voice industry, Strong is beloved among fans of many franchises for voicing animated characters, including Raven and Jinx from Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go!, Timmy Turner from The Fairly Oddparents, Ben Tennyson and various others from Ben 10, Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls, and Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony, just to name a few.
In the video gaming world, she has voiced Elisa and Ursula in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Paz Ortega Andrade in MGS: Peace Walker, Rikku in Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts, Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham City, and Juliet Starling in Lollipop Chainsaw. Tara is in her 40s and a mother of two, but she still has looks to match her immense talent.