nytime a new hyped-up video game is released, you can pretty much guarantee that there will be a flood of memes. But when Lady Dimitrescu’s character was revealed for the first time during a teaser for Resident Evil Village, the internet responded with one of the most notable influxes of memes, fan art and tributes to a video game character ever … not to mention the immense amount of hornyposting.
We caught up with Maggie Robertson, the actor who played the part of Lady Dimitrescu in RE8, to see how she reacted to this massive influx of attention toward her and her character over the last few months, as well as how the role came about. During our lengthy discussion, Robertson shared her thoughts on acting in a video game for the first time, dealing with her newfound fanbase and even some of her favorite Lady D memes. So without further ado, here’s the scoop on the tall vampire lady from Lady Dimitrescu herself.
Q: Hey there, Maggie. Thanks for joining us to chat. Start us off by introducing yourself and what you’re known for in the meme world.
A: Hello there. I'm Maggie Robertson and I play Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village. Lady D, or as I like to call her, "Alci," has caused, shall we say, quite the stir in the meme community and the interwebs. There's an infinite number of tall jokes and people being thrown into horny jail. So, that just about sums it up.
Q: How would you explain what Lady Dimitrescu memes are for those unfamiliar with them?
A: I'd say the Lady Dimitrescu memes are mostly preoccupied with her height. And yes, it is the subject of much admiration and consternation [laughs]. So, I think people are trying to process what to do with a character who is 9'6".
Q: Before we dig into more about the recent memes featuring your character from RE: Village, can you tell us a bit about how you became an actor early on? What did you do before your role in RE8?
A: I studied theater in college and then was working professionally in regional theater for many years. Then I went off and got my graduate degree in classical acting, AKA lots and lots of Shakespeare, from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, AKA LAMDA. I was living in London and then went straight from that to LA in 2019, and then booked the role of a lifetime not too long after that. So, it’s been a wild ride.
Q: So fast-forwarding to this year, you played the role of Lady Dimitrescu through voice-over and motion capture in the game Resident Evil: Village. How did this role come about?
A: This is a crazy story, and very much feels like one of those moments where that phrase people say, "Luck happens when preparedness meets opportunity." It really was luck that I found this audition. I had just moved to LA, I was an unrepresented actor, and I was submitting myself for auditions on these various casting breakdown services and happened to see this voice-over audition that I fit the specs for. Voice-over had not been a thing that was on my radar prior to this, but I was like, "Okay, well, I might as well give it a shot." So I applied on a whim essentially, and then a couple of weeks after I applied, I found out that I got an audition. So then I went in for the audition, which felt very similar to a theater audition, so immediately I was like, "Oh, okay, this feels really good and natural." And I felt like, "Oh, I got this." Then I was just able to have fun and play around and move about the space and make it my own, which felt really good.
But then you leave and you're like, "Oh, nice, that was fun." And then you set it and forget it and you move on with your life. A month after that maybe, I get the call that I have a callback, and I'm like, "Oh okay, that's really awesome and unexpected, but awesome." So I go in and same deal, it's just fun, it felt very much like theater. They had me do some improv-based stuff, just interacting with the space, different objects, exploring character movement. So then I left again feeling like, "Well, that was a blast." And then months after that, almost to the point where I had forgotten that I even auditioned in the first place, I then get the call that I booked the job, which was really exciting and felt really good, but I had no idea what that job was. I was just like, "Oh great, I booked something."
Q: Did they have the character named already, or was it just kind of a loose concept back then?
A: Well, a lot of the information that I had for the audition and the callback was fake information. I think they keep a lot of that stuff secret purposefully, so nothing gets leaked. So it wasn't really until I booked the job that I found out actual facts about the character.
Q: Right, that makes sense.
A: But yeah, the table read was a pretty “momentous moment” for me because it wasn't until that moment that I started to figure out that this might be a big deal. I walk into the room and there's just this palpable excitement in the air and people are whispering to each other excitedly in corners and I'm looking around and thinking, "Huh, that's weird. I think this might be a big deal. I think I might have booked something really big." And then, of course, I hadn't received my paperwork, I hadn't received the script prior to that table read, so then I went home afterward and furiously researched everything I could based on the clues I had to figure out what fricking game I was in. Then figured out that it was Resident Evil and had one of those like, "sit back in your chair and process and breathe for a minute" moments because it's such a huge franchise. I'm not even a gamer, but I have heard of Resident Evil.
Q: What was it like working on a video game? We read this was a new experience for you in your career as a classically trained actor, so I imagine working in the mo-cap suit and doing all that must’ve been strange.
A: The suit is such a funny thing to me. When you're in the suit, it does feel like you are an astronaut, and I felt like walking on the moon, about to take off into space. It was pretty surreal, but once you put that on, you're like, "Oh wow, I'm doing it. We're here.” You feel how special it is, and all that jazz. But it's interesting, a lot of people ask me about that, of how different performance capture is from everything else I've done thus far. And it is very different. It was certainly a new experience for me, but also in a lot of ways, it is quite similar and it feels very much like the perfect blend between theater and acting, which is what my background is in. The theater portion of it is really about imagination, and you are solely reliant on your imagination to endow the world and space and these physical objects and make them feel real because you don't have these external storytelling visual cues to help you along the way. You don't have props, makeup, costumes, none of that, it's just you, so you have to be able to fully invest in these worlds that you're building in order to tell the story. So that feels similar.
My Shakespearean background I think helped me a lot because Shakespeare is incredibly heightened both in language and in world-building. These are extraordinary circumstances that Shakespearean characters are going through. The stakes are high, so that certainly applies to horror, and it certainly applies to fantasy, sci-fi, all of these things that are about world-building and operating in these heightened spaces where you really get to investigate extremes like that. So all of that felt fairly similar to me.
Then, of course, you have the on-camera portion, which is a little bit more technical and “hit your mark,” make sure you do this da-da-da-da. So it was so new and different, but at the same time, it was this weird kind of lightning bolt moment where everything just clicked into place and made sense because I had already done all this stuff. And now finally, I had found the thing that allowed me to do them all at once, which was really exciting. So I was jazzed, I was jazzed the whole time. I never really used the word "jazzed" before in my life, but I remember sitting in traffic on my way home … because this is LA.
Q: Right, [laughs]. Typical LA stuff.
A: Yeah, exactly. As I'm sitting in traffic, I call my mom, and I can't tell her anything about the game, but I'm just like, "Oh my gosh, I just did this thing, and I'm just so jazzed. I'm jazzed, jazzed, jazzed, jazzed, jazzed." And I don't know why. I just kept saying “jazzed,” and I've never really used that word before. But apparently, that's the only thing I could use to describe it. I was so "jazzed."
Q: Are you a big gamer at all? Have you played Resident Evil: Village yourself? What did you think of it?
A: I didn't really play games growing up, but again, I am a huge fantasy and sci-fi nerd. So not a gamer, but I am definitely familiar with a lot of the archetypes that are in play in games. I just finished the playthrough. I actually streamed it on Nicole Tompkins's stream who plays one of my [Lady Dimitrescu’s] daughters. So she had me on and she was playing, but I just got to watch and explore the castle and I loved it. Capcom I feel like has really outdone themselves. The castle is so ornate and so detailed. You can really feel the labor of love that went into making it because everything is thought out. I just discovered that Lady D has an opera room in her castle, which I think is so fabulous and so clearly in line with her character. I was like, "Of course she does."
Q: Do you have a favorite Lady Dimitrescu moment from the game? We remember reading about the “ducking under the door” and “desk throw” scenes as two favorites.
A: Oh, yeah. Those were fun. I mean, who doesn't want to throw a desk? That was definitely a bucket-list item for me. So once I found out I got to do that, I was like, "Really?" I think I freaked some people out a little bit because I was just really into it. They were like, "No, Maggie. We've got it. We don't need to do it again, actually." “We don't? You're alright? You're sure? 'Cause I'm happy to do it again" [laughs]. So that was definitely really fun for me. I think one of the other amusing little mo-cap anecdotes is that you are wearing these helmets with head cams in front of you, which means that you can't actually put anything in front of your face if it's gonna block the headcam 'cause that would prohibit the data from being captured. So anything I'm doing, like smoking a cigarette, has to happen on the outside of the headcam.
Q: That sounds like it would be weird or difficult to do.
A: Putting on the lipstick has to happen on the outside of the headcam or sucking Ethan's blood has to be outside of the head cam, which is a very strange thing to try to mime [laughs]. With a camera right here in front of your face like, "Oh, God. This is probably gonna give people nightmares … This is too close for comfort."
Q: So as you know, even before the release of the game when Lady Dimitrescu’s character was first introduced, she became an immensely popular subject in memes, fan art, etc. At that time, did you think Lady D would ever become such a fan favorite and huge meme?
A: No, I never expected anything like this to happen. I didn't enter into this experience with any expectations and didn't have any idea. I didn't go into it trying to achieve a certain outcome, I was just happy to be there and to be working and having the time of my life, and so I really wasn't even thinking about what this opportunity could potentially mean for me down the line. I think it really was our producer, Rosanna Sun, who started to clue in and give me like the “wink, wink, nudge, nudge” of like, "Maggie, I think your character is gonna be a fan favorite. I think she's gonna be pretty big." And I would always just reply to that being like, "Well, okay, sure, whatever, that sounds great." And then once she exploded the internet, I had to send her an email and I was like, "Gosh, darn it, you right. You were right!" [laughter].
Q: Combined with that initial hype surrounding Lady Dimitrescu and then her massive popularity upon release, her character became the subject of many memes throughout the last few months. When did you begin noticing some of these memes, and what was your reaction to seeing your character being used in such a fashion?
A: I think it was certainly very strange to be witnessing all of this still under NDA and not able to say anything. So I was definitely a lurker in the dark corners of the interwebs where I was just trying to absorb everything that I could, but never able to say anything. I think Nicole Tomkins actually was the first person that alerted me to her big blow-up. She sent me a text that was like, "Oh, by the way, you're blowing up. Do you know?" And I was like, "No." And then we just started sending each other fan art and memes back and forth, and so I think that's how I first came to know.
The memes are very funny, all the tall jokes, they're real to me, that's my real life, it's not a fictional character, so I can relate. It's very funny, I think it took people by surprise and all of the tall girl memes and whatnot. People seem to want to have her go up against a wide variety of other massive video game characters, so everyone just wants to see her throw down [laughs].
Q: Yeah, it’s funny how creative people are with these things nowadays.
A: That's so, so true. It really does blow my mind, especially like the fan art, the cosplays, the memes, there's so much creativity out there on the internet and in the fan base, it's really quite inspiring, actually, to see them. You're also like, "How much time do you guys have? Like, my goodness! Must have some time on your hands." But it's really, really quite cool, and it makes me laugh, so I'm happy that it's there. I enjoy it.
Q: When you began noticing the memes of your character, were you particularly savvy with internet culture, or was the experience a new one for you?
A: Yeah, no. I like to call myself a geriatric millennial [laughs]. I just kind of sit on the periphery of meme and internet culture. I'm aware of it, but then I'm also still the girl that has to Google “What does SMH mean? What does that TTYL mean?” So yes and no.
Q: Since Lady Dimitrescu and her memes have become such so prominent online, can you tell us how some of your family and friends reacted to it? What did they think of your character becoming a viral sensation?
A: Depends on the age group of my friends. It's a very different answer across the spectrum there. I do have a lot of gamer friends. Once my name was released out there, I got a lot of texts from people being like, "What? This is insane!" And a lot of texts from friends being like, "Oh gosh, darn it! I've been simping over Lady D for months now, and now it's you, and now it's awkward. I can't do that anymore." And I was like "Sorry." Then, of course, I get a lot of the texts from my gamer friends that are like "Sorry, I just killed you." So that's always fun. And certainly, my older relatives or friends needed some help to clue in that it was a big deal. But once I sat them down and were like, "No, no, no, you need to just go into the internet and do some research for 30 minutes and then you'll understand." Once they did that, they were appropriately wowed and impressed.
“So we finally meet…” THRILLED to finally announce I was the voiceover and performance capture artist behind our beloved Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village. Such an honor to be a part of this video game and bring this (ehem) huge character to life.
— Maggie Robertson (@maggiethebard) May 7, 2021
Q: Lady D memes have continued to evolve and morph over the last few months with formats like “Lady Dimitrescu on the Phone” spreading just last week. Do you have any favorite meme formats or trends of your character that you think are the best?
A: I think I'm probably pretty behind trends [laughs]. Story of my life. But what I will say is that I always love a good crossover, and I am a Game of Thrones fan myself, so I loved all the Tormund Gianstbane ones. “Is the big lady still here?” I loved all of that stuff. I really enjoyed a poster that someone made of “Godzilla versus Lady D” and … man, I would watch that movie. I think that looks like a great movie. My money is on Lady D, that's just me.
Q: Though your likeness isn’t pictured in memes with Lady Dimitrescu or the game, how do people typically respond if you mention your role as the character either online or in-person? Did the release have a big impact on your following?
A: If they're a gamer, they are floored [laughs]. My online presence is now through the roof. I had six Twitter followers before the game was released, and now I have something like 23,000. Opening weekend, I think I got like 6,000 overnight or something crazy. So it's been an absolute roller coaster online of just a massive blow-up of awareness and presence, and I'm not this anonymous, invisible person anymore. I'm much more visible and what I say and do matters. People care about what I say and do, which is mind-blowing to me.
This is going to live on forever, and Lady D will be with me for the rest of my life. This game really has changed my life and it has given me a global reach and a global impact, and I think that's been one of the coolest things actually. You hear from fans all across the world about how much this game and this character mean to them. I get letters from people telling me how much Lady D has changed their life or has helped them through a difficult time, or tall women who are like, "Thank you, this makes me feel sexy and confident and powerful for once." So I love that stuff. It's very special and very humbling to hear from the fans in that way, and I don't think that's ever something I will take for granted.
Q: So speaking of fan interactions, as you know, Lady Dimitrescu has quite a “thirsty” fan base online as well, so have you ever had any awkward or negative experiences due to this side of the “Tall Vampire Lady” fandom?
A: Well, yes, certainly that stuff exists, and also, I guess what I will say to that I'm not really paying that much attention to it. I know that it exists, but it’s kind of “over there a little bit,” because overwhelmingly, the responses that I personally am getting have been really, really positive and about my work as an actor and the character, which is really what it's all about and the thing that I wanna talk about anyway. In terms of the thirst, I don't know, I mean, I get it. She's a very sexy, confident, powerful, badass woman, so I'm like, “Yeah, of course people think she's sexy. Duh, she is. They think she's sexy because she is sexy.”
Q: Similar to Lady Dimitrescu fans and their fervent obsession with the virtual character, “Samsung Sam” popped up this week and saw a rapidly growing fanbase. Are you familiar with this recent meme?
A: I only just kind of familiarized myself with that 'cause I saw your question about it, so it's all new to me. I'm not invested in it in any particular way. But yeah, I think every woman, fictional or not, knows what it's like to be a woman on the internet. So, in terms of Lady D, I think Lady D would welcome Samsung Sam into the fold, take her under her wing and offer her refuge from the simping internet [laughs].
Q: Since you enjoyed your time becoming Lady Dimitrescu while working on Village, do you know if you’ll work on any future Resident Evil titles or other video games in the near future?
A: I have no clue, but, of course, I have absolutely loved working with Capcom and have such immense respect and love for them and everything that they've done with this game. It's been such a pleasure. So, of course, I would love to come back for more Resident Evil games in the future.
Q: So what other upcoming projects do you have in the works that we should keep on our radar? Anything cool coming up this year?
A: I don't have any acting projects that I can talk about just yet, but coming up, I'm doing a lot of different Streamily signings with various members of the Resident Evil cast. So we get some live-autograph signings done through our platform on Streamily. You can go to streamily.com/ResidentEvil or streamily.com/MaggieRobertson to get those prints, and then we will be signing them live.
Q: Now that you're a little bit more knowledgeable about memes, do you have a favorite meme of all time or any that stick out to you?
Q: Before we go, the last thing we’d like to ask is if you have a favorite moment from this whole experience of becoming a meme and viral sensation. What’s the experience been like for you overall?
A: It's been wild. I think it is so crazy the way that she has permeated pop culture, you see her everywhere. I think opening weekend, my friend sent me a picture, this is not a meme but, my friend sent me a picture of her weather app, and her weather app had something along the lines of, "If being chased by a tall hot vampire lady is wrong, then I don't wanna be right." Or like Domino's Malaysia did some marketing with her [Lady D] holding a pizza. Or that McDonald's sign that went viral where they were like, "Sorry for the delay, our staff have called out sick to go chase a tall hot vampire lady around a castle." So all of that has been crazy to see.
Q: Thanks a lot for sitting down with us Maggie. Got anything else to add?
A: I guess, socially, you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter @MaggietheBard. And then I guess my closing remarks will be from Lady D, which is not a line that she says, but a line that I say now, which is, [in Lady D’s voice] "Bring honor to House Dimitrescu" [laughs like Lady Dimitrescu]. I'm so happy to be on with you today, it was super fun and thanks for having me. I'm a nerd, I'm a weirdo, so it's very surreal to be wanted on these calls, so thank you so much.
Watch our interview with Maggie for the video version of our discussion on Lady Dimitrescu below.
Maggie Robertson is an actor based in LA who played the role of Lady Dimitrescu in Resident Evil Village, who became the subject of countless memes and fan art in 2021. To keep up with Robertson, you can follow her on Instagram and Twitter or check out her website for more.