Even if you haven’t seen HBO‘s recent documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley, which unpacks alleged scammer Elizabeth Holmes’s downfall, along with her company Theranos, you might be familiar with the breakout meme from it: Her strangely deep voice. It left viewers stunned and confused, scouring the internet to make sense of it. In the process, videos of a younger Holmes speaking have been dug up, which definitely sound different than guttural baritone Holmes often spoke in—a voice tone that, fittingly, Mira Sorvino adopted in Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion while playing an imposter business woman.
Now, Holmes’ family has addressed the voice. Her family, who is sticking by her side throughout the fallout—which includes nine counts of wire fraud charges and conspiracy to commit wire fraud—issued a statement about Holmes’ voice to TMZ. Apparently, low voices run in the family and Holmes’ grandmother, who also has one, has been known to speak in a higher voice when excited. (Who doesn’t?)
Still, that explanation doesn’t really account for the videos circulating which show a younger Holmes giving a presentation in a notably higher voice. It also doesn’t explain why even Holmes’s Theranos employees have claimed that they witnessed Holmes break her voice and slip into her normal one. “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,” as former Theranos employee Ana Arriola said on the podcast, “The Dropout.” “Maybe she needed to be more convincing to project a persona within a room among male VCs. I’m not really quite sure.”
Holmes’s former professor at Stanford, Dr. Phyllis Gardner, has also confirmed that Holmes has been known to speak in another voice. “When she came to me, she didn’t have a low voice.…When I next saw her again was at the Harvard Medical School board meeting where she was being introduced. She says with this low voice, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God.’ It was quite off,” as Dr. Gardener told the podcast. Either way, Jennifer Lawrence will have plenty of material while preparing for her role as Holmes in the upcoming scam saga based on Holmes’s life, Bad Blood.