Kat Cressida is another gay-friendly voice in the world of sports

By Cyd Zeigler


There was something noticeably different about the NFL Draft this year. Sure, it was held in primetime and yes it started on a Thursday. But on top of that was an interesting choice ESPN made to be the voice of the draft: For the first time, they selected a woman in Kat Cressida.
This wasn’t the first time Cressida had ventured into sports. In fact, it’s a big part of her resume. She’s done work for Tennis Channel, MLB Network and CBS Sports, among others. But she is best-known by sports fans as the voice behind ESPN’s most popular show:
“'Pardon the Interruption' presented by Guinness Draft. Please drink responsibly. And in part by Taco Bell. Think outside the bun.”
While hers might be one of the most recognizable voices on ESPN, it was still a coup for Cressida to be the voice of the network’s most-anticipated show of the year (not counting LeBron James’ ‘Decision’). And for a non-sports fan with little intimate knowledge of the NFL, it was a daunting task. At the top of the list was learning some of the names that even Jim Nantz has trouble with. For weeks Cressida studied the correct pronunciation of such gems as Ndamukong Suh, Jon Asamoah, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Michael Hoomanawanui.
Various reports claim the network went with a woman as the voice of the Draft to attract a female audience for its inaugural primetime appearance.
“I think subliminally it did that,” Cressida said. “When you have all men all the time, women don’t necessarily feel welcome.”
Not as subliminal is the decision to use Cressida’s playful, sexy voice to entertain the mostly straight male audience that ESPN attracts. Cressida is a fun, gregarious woman who is also deeply thoughtful. She welcomes you with a big hug and a winning smile. She’s also gorgeous, and her sex appeal matches that of her voice.
Her fun, sexy energy is probably why gay men also find her so attractive. Many of Cressida’s closest friends are gay men. The hot, hip single gal has found many of her straight friends have headed for the married-with-children hills, and gay men have proven to be good friends.
She is also an advocate for gay equality, as she says she is against any kind of prejudice. She has donated countless hours as a volunteer for Project Angel Food for years, delivering meals to people who are elderly and sick, many of whom are gay with HIV.
“They’re well-organized and they’re passionate about what they do,” Cressida said.
While she has been the voice behind many sports, her passion is baseball. Born and raised in Southern California, she bleeds Dodger blue and attends as many games as she can. Looking ahead to 2011, she’s hopeful for the Don Mattingly era.
“I’m not sure Joe Torre ever really wanted to be here,” she said. “Mattingly’s bringing in a fresh energy that the team has missed.”
Cressida isn’t just a sports talent, she is an established veteran of the voiceover world. Her voice has been featured in 'Charlotte’s Web,' 'Tarzan,' 'Underdog,' and hers is the voice of the recently added Black Widow Bride at Disney’s Haunted Mansion ride. She’s all over the video game world, with her voice appearing in over a dozen big-name titles like Star Wars, EverQuest, Spider-Man and The Hobbit. And her voice-matching skills have been put to use for Julia Roberts, Jennifer Lopez, Mary Louise Parker and many other big stars. Plus, she is soon to launch a fun new experience on Disney Cruise Lines that she’s very excited about.
Still, her presence in sports continues to grow, and that’s something she can take pride in. She recently landed one of the new voice-talent roles at ESPN Radio in Los Angeles. She said for years guys have sold sports; It’s been a tough world for women to break into. That Cressida’s been one of the few to break in is a real accomplishment.
You can learn more about Kat Cressida at her Web site.