Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes’s health startup that falsely promised to administer one-drop blood tests, is the subject of Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary, The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley. The main element of the film that viewers have had a field day with on social media is the discovery that the turtleneck-clad inventor pretended to have a shockingly deep and very likely purposefully altered speaking voice.
Now, one should probably parse the politics of calling a person’s preferred vocal intonation “real” or “fake” before chastising them for deviating from their “natural” voice. It could be argued that many individuals from threatened populations may find that their safety in a given environment depends on monitoring the timbre of their voices. Women are also commonly ridiculed for having “vocal fry” (speaking in a creaky lower register, often with the intent of commanding attention in a world that dismisses women with higher pitched-voices). But when it comes to Holmes, who scammed her way into the hearts of Silicon Valley‘s most prominent investors — all thanks to her privileged upbringing and nearly sociopathic skill of lying on such an incredibly large scale for so long — a little humor with regard to her voice can’t hurt.
That’s where Tavi Gevinson, another baritone-voiced icon, comes in. Her impression of Holmes — complete with red lipstick, heavy eyeliner circled around her never-blinking eyes, and black turtleneck — is possibly such a spot-on mimicry of Holmes’s cavernous timbre, it might put even Romy and Michele to shame.
In this age of scammer culture, every big scheme will get its silver-screen due. A fictionalized version of SoHo grifter Anna Delvey will be the center of attention in a new Shonda Rhimes series, and you already know executive producers are just itching to buy the rights to Operation Varsity Blues. A biopic about Holmes, however, has already been cast, with Jennifer Lawrence as the star.
But if any Hollywood casting directors are watching (or more importantly, listening), they might want to reconsider the casting decision for the forthcoming biopic about Holmes’s long con, because Gevinson is giving the presently attached Lawrence a run for her money with this uncanny impression. And if all else fails, Gigi Hadid (who Gevinson cheekily mentions has “the same” voice as Holmes in her parody video) already (sort of) made her acting debut in a Beetlejuice parody last year. Production hasn’t started just yet, so there’s still time.