Barbie Is a Sideline for Full-Time Princess Ariel Incorporated

Playing Barbie in two "Toy Story" editions would be seem like an impressive gig. But for voice actress Jodi Benson, it's pretty tough to beat her Prince Ariel empire.

Benson voiced the classic character from the 1989 film "The Little Mermaid." And the little mermaid turned out to be big business two decades later. It has kept her working non-stop since then -- the Disney character is still that popular today.

"It's been 25 years and going, I actually started the project in 1985," Benson tells PopcornBiz. "And it's still a full-time job now."

"Ariel is considered one of the classic princesses," she continues. "Now you have Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Ariel. And every seven years yo have another generation that's ready to engulf this whole princess mania."

So much so that when Benson moved with her family outside Atlanta, Ariel and Disney followed. "I have a studio in my house for the itty-bitty stuff," she says. "So I run around in my sweatpants and baseball cap and have a regular life. I work in the studio for up to two hours every day."

For the bigger projects, Benson heads into Atlanta for a professional recording studio. Projects include everything from DVDs to Disneyland attractions.

Not only has the voice provided a full-time gig, it has lead to other roles -- like Barbie. "Every job I've had since 1989 has been because of Ariel," says Benson. "Absolutely."

"So when people say, 'Aren't you sick of it, don't you find it limiting?' I'm like, I have no problem with that."

Plus, working the voice is great for her friends' kids. "I do birthday calls a lot," says Benson. "My friend will call and say her daughter is turning three tomorrow and having an Ariel swim party. I'll call and they'll put me on speaker phone."

Now that would be trip for a third birthday present.

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