call her liz

Elizabeth Holmes Has Changed Her Voice Again

Photo: Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

Ever since she was sentenced to 11 years in prison for defrauding investors, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been busy. In a new profile, the New York Times paid her a visit at her home in San Diego, where she lives with her partner, Billy Evans, and their two children. At the time she was interviewed, she was waiting to serve her sentence at Federal Prison Camp in Bryan, Texas, which was supposed to start at the end of April but has been pushed indefinitely owing to a last-minute appeal. This is the first time she has spoken to the press since before her trial, and a few things have changed — for example, she now goes by Liz, and she also talks in a far more normal voice.

Among the many bizarre details about the implosion of Holmes’s biotech start-up was the fake deep voice that many former employees claimed she used during her time as a young female entrepreneur. According to many accounts, she would occasionally forget to use the voice, especially when she was drunk. Although her family claimed in 2019 that Holmes’s baritone was, in fact, her real and naturally low voice, she has since stopped using it; one reporter at her trial described her speaking voice as a “normal alto” but noted that she dropped into a lower register when emphasizing certain words.

Now, it appears Holmes has officially put the voice behind her — as she would clearly like to do with the persona it represented. Times reporter Amy Chozick called Holmes’s current voice only “slightly low,” “soft,” and “totally unremarkable.” Holmes seems pretty open about the fact that she faked it: Throughout the interview, she refers to her Theranos persona as a “character” she created to be “taken seriously and not taken as a little girl or a girl who didn’t have good technical ideas.” She added, “Maybe people picked up on that not being authentic, since it wasn’t.” But she wants us to know that’s all in the past. The voice is so incredibly behind her, actually, that Holmes giggled at Evans’s impression of it while driving the family Tesla.

What else has Holmes been up to since we last heard from her? Volunteering at a rape crisis hotline, she is eager to mention. Also, raising her two kids, William and Invicta, with Evans. Evans entered the picture in 2017, when “Liz” was 32 and her company was imploding before her eyes, and after several Burning Man trips and a six-month RV adventure (Holmes did yoga and burned a “tribute to Theranos”), they attempted to settle in San Diego, where they say they have to constantly move because of Holmes’s notoriety. On the bright side, their 1-year-old, who was born during her trial, can apparently speak some Mandarin (??) and loves the zoo.

Also presumably set aflame in her Burning Man pyre: the black turtlenecks, which are nowhere to be seen in the family beach portrait featured in the profile. As Liz attempts to delay her prison sentence indefinitely, it sounds like the old Elizabeth can’t come to the phone right now.

Elizabeth Holmes Has Changed Her Voice Again