Sounds like even the Theranos CEO's voice was fake


Good point. I was thinking she just likes to be photographed using a ring light:

Me too. I listen to a lot of college and community radio, and I can’t tell if I’m more sensitive to it lately or if the problem is getting much worse, but good lord do a lot of college kids have a serious problem with vocal fry (and uptalk and “like” and all the rest). In small doses it’s kind of funny, but it can be downright impossible to listen to.


Some of the photos I’ve noticed do have the distinctive halo in the retina, but I’m seeing many with just big, black pupils. It could be that a lot of these shots were in dark places, but many seem to be taken in well-lit areas, or even places where there’s bright lighting for cinematography. She also tends to have this one “camera face” where she opens her eyes really wide. Anyhoo. It’s just stupid brain-farty wondering…


It’s normal technique taught for public speaking and vocal recording. In some contexts it’s called the command voice.

Businessy settings have read all sorts of make friends and influence sales bull into it. And it does tend carry a lot of sexism and judgement related to women’s speech.

But at base it’s more about performance technique and how sound interacts with a room or sound equipment. Lower pitches tend to carry better in a room, within reason cause too low and words become indistinct. Higher tones provide clarity, but come with more restricted pitch and don’t carry as well. Mids split the difference, carry fairly well while clear. But too restricted become monotone.

Language tends to start low and sweep high, or start high and move low, both across words and across phrases or sentences. With low to high being more common in English and a lot of Western languages. But most people tend to talk naturally in the mid-high portion of their range. And there’s a natural tendency to shift that higher when you’re attempting to be heard. Higher pitches take more force to produce, which feels louder. But volume doesn’t come from pitch, and you’re getting less for all that force at the extremes of your range.

And in terms of performance you need to use as much of your vocal range as you can without straining to avoid sounding monotone. You can’t go too high or low, cause you’ll strain and your voice will break.

Since most people are starting relatively high, they’ve got less place to move up with the natural rhythms of speech before they sound strained, thin, and their volume tapers off. It also has impacts on breath control down to how much air you’re pushing at the extremes of your range.

So one of the base strategies is to teach people to start lower than they normally would, and to avoid raising their pitch in an attempt to be louder. Since that’s not what makes you louder. The idea being to sweep through the mids, with touches of unforced highs and lows. It’s less about pitch relative to other people, than it is about relative to yourself. How much and which portion of your range are you using. And how.

I don’t know from music, so I can’t tell you how any of that relates to singing. Not the kind of audio or production work I’ve done. But this is pretty normal, maybe she read a copy of some management guide, maybe she’s responding to a sexist environment, maybe it’s part of a con. But it’s just as likely she took a public speaking class in college, or did some community theater.


But her eyes are legit?


Man cultivates a deep voice to sound more impressive

Everyone: What an accomplished and effective public speaker!

Woman cultivates a deep voice to sound more impressive

Everyone: FAKER!


Alvin and the Melvins!

I almost caught them once in Jacksonville, but it was sold out. /s

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Gross over generalizations are awesome and productive for any conversation. Awesome job.

Anything else you want to add that does absolutely nothing for anyone whatsoever?


He is, I think, correctly pointing out that the same actions by different genders are perceived differently. Have you seen any calling a business man’s deep voice “all an act” and “fake”?

You can certainly say it’s Andrew_Glasgow’s burden of proof, but I do think his characterization is generally accurate that women are called out on their voices in business more than men. But I don’t have hard data on that. Do you have hard data to the contrary?

Much of what we all write in the forum is opinion and speculation, is what Andrew_Glasgow wrote really fundamentally different?


Opinion is not the same as a gross generalization. Not ALL instances of men altering their voices to the extent that Holmes does hers aren’t lauded and not ALL women changing their voices to any degree are lambasted.

Holmes does it to an off putting and disconcerting level. This is about her, not everyone.

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When you call out a woman on something I think pretty much only women are called out on it’s about everyone.

What’s missing is hard data. For this to be only about her it would need to be a non sexist claim, and at this point I don’t think either of us has hard data. So we are both equally speculating.

Also, I’m not sure that Andrew_Glasgow was making a literal claim of fact. If he was I’d agree it would be a universal claim easily subject to proof by contradiction.


… in your opinion. Why is your opinion more valid here, and worthy of shouting someone down for having a contrary one?

I think Andrew and others in this thread bring up an excellent point. Holmes is of course a pathological nutjob, but that doesn’t change the fact that men routinely lower their voices to sound more authoritative, but a woman gets called out for doing same.

And of course it’s perfectly fine if you don’t agree with that opinion / observation.


It is fascinating how she succeeded for so long, with essentially a perpetual motion science project that never actually produced anything. Her big eyes hypnotized many with uncritical acceptance, and her deep voice assured the others; that’s where her miraculous power lies! This hardly needs repeating, as I am really just echoing the obvious.

Has anyone suggested before that she might be psychopathic? Seems to me she is textbook for impaired empathy and remorse.

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I’m just glad the US doesn’t have coed prisons. I’d hate to see what could result from the Theranos Chick meeting up with the Fyre Guy.




Sometimes they are. In this case he’s pithily summing up the fundamental tension that exists in media criticism of womens’ public voices. It’s reductive, but it highlights the essence of the issue.

“All models are wrong, but some are useful.”


go up to the top of the thread to see the reply from tornpapernapkin.


I just don’t get you people at all. (I find it easily unnoticed after noticing.)


I had read it already. Please do not come here just to tell me I need to read someone else’s post on the subject.


Ok, why did you not find that first person experience persuasive?


I guess understand this a bit. As a man I tend to use a deeper tone when I’m being more serious and I use a higher register when I’m being more casual. So it makes sense that women would be advised to do the same even more so if they’re trying to be taken seriously.

Still I’m not sure it’s actually effective. For myself, I feel like I only use tone as an indication of seriousness relative to the speaker’s regular tone. If a female co-worker consciously switched to a lower register all the time I feel it might backfire as it would be harder to tell when she was extra-serious. Though you have a much better perspective than I, I didn’t even realize that was a thing women did.

As for Holmes, she’s actually taken it to uncanny valley territory. If I was talking to her I think I’d actually be distracted by “WTF is going on with her voice”.