Italy star Paola Egonu will extend her fame away from the volleyball court and into the world of films after she was chosen to voice a character in Soul, the new animation from Disney Pixar Studios.
The 21-year-old, who has helped her team Imoco Conegliano to the top of Serie A, will play Sognaluna in the film and in doing so becomes the first Italian athlete to be asked to voice an animated character.
“It was a real thrill to be able to lend my voice to Sognaluna in the animated film @disney and @pixar #Soul, the new masterpiece directed by Oscar winner @petedocter,” Egonu posted on her Instagram feed.
“I write this post not without disbelief, still wondering if it really happened. That maybe this is some more amazing new Disney magic as well!”
Soul, which is co-directed by Oscar winner Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, follows a jazz player and music teacher who has lost his passion for music and is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.
In the English version Oscar winner Jamie Foxx voices the lead character Joe Gardner, a role played in the Italian version by Neri Marcorè.
Soul will be released on the Disney + Streaming Service on Christmas Day, 25 December, and Egonu, who is aiming to be part of the Italy squad at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, has admitted it is an experience she would like to try again.
“I was very proud at the thought of being a voice actor for Disney and Pixar,” she said. “It was a fantastic experience. One I would like to repeat.”