Remember that episode of KUWTW in Thailand?

When Kris busts Kim’s balls for taking an unearthly 1,200 selfies on family vacay? Then Kim can’t comprehend how selfies aren’t family fun for everyone? All 1,200 of them…

(A little birdy told me Thailand photographs pretty well too…)

Looking back, I can still taste my indignation. Her vanity! Her narcissism! How hard it was to relate!

Yet whenever I’m presented with a new phone, calling out for a fresh voicemail recording; I find myself stooped in admiration for Kimmy K. Her perseverance! Her ambition! Her nuances in tone!

When it comes to nailing the picture perfect moment, Kimmy K’s thousand shots nabbed her a book deal. When it comes to nailing the pitch perfect voicemail, it’s starved of Kardashian glamour – but the struggle is real.


Hold the phone – you say, sassy finger, pon the retriever. Surely just roll with an automated voice mail?  In theory, that sounds great. In practice -seriously girl? Clean out that beeswax!

A little personalisation goes a long way. It’s the perfect pick-me-up, steering all callers away from the callous, soul-crushing world of rejection and broken heart emojis. In Goldie Locks terms of ‘just right’, a personal greeting has that comforting human touch while sounding totally pro. It possesses that certain…je nais se quos (and if Thierry Henry was the voice of automation, we could all die happy…).

I’ve never had a work phone. On my mobile friends and colleagues, work and pleasure – all different spheres collide. It’s a free fall; naturally I want to be striking the right chord.

I want the bold, assertiveness of Karren Brady, oozing with the warming mirth of Pandora Sykes; all amorously laced with the velvety seduction of Nigella Lawson – because ya never know what Lothario might be calling.

Simple enough right? Wrong.

I’m stumbling at the first hurdle. Which persona do I channel with the first-impressions-count hello? Let alone the final curtain call goodbye? As for the main filling of the sandwich, someone give me guidance – Pret? (They always get the filling to bread ratio just right…)

In an ideal world, I’d tell my caller in Vivica Fox’s honeyed tones to ‘drop a beat and do your thang’. In an ideal world, my boss wouldn’t have my number either. Perhaps I’d copy my mate’s old voicemail and sign off, ‘that’s right darling – London, New York, Paris, Milan’. Sadly I’m no Samantha Jones, proven by the fact I can only get as far as London before crumpling up into a bag of lol’s.


Right, enough of that. Time to get serious.

Time to channel the perfect mix of Karren, Pandy and Nigella and…hmm…I swear I’m missing someone…Oh! I almost forgot. Meeee! Yes, I’ll be the sponge cake to their sumptuous filling. When I hit playback, I want it to feel like my ears have just received the mother of all massages.

Instead, I am met with all the airs and graces of a mortician. I sound flatter than a pancake on Shrove Tuesday.

I make my voice get lower than Lil’ John’s, more breathless than Destiny’s Child’s and try to shake it off harder than T-Swift. All to no avail. The more I impersonate, the more I sound like a phoney. Every attempt, it’s the same old story. Each time I loathe the sound of my voice even more.

Thankfully Science can shed some light on this existential crisis.

When we hear ourselves speak, we are also hearing internal vibrations from deep within our bodies (womp, womp – think dubstep vibes). All sounds are set off from our skulls before reaching our ears. These bone-conducted sounds make our voices sound all the richer and mellifluous (like the finest wholegrain fruit loaf you’ve ever seen). When we hear ourselves from the outside, without the presence of bone-conducted sounds, our voices seem tinny and small (like a sad sunken loaf with no yeast).

So there we have it. The science that explains why you think your voice sucks and the reality there’s not much to do about it. Yippie! Just find solace knowing you’re not alone…

What feels like 1,200 attempts later, with the realisation I’ll never be never be satisfied, I finally call it quits:

Hi, it’s Siobhan. Sorry, I can’t take your call, please leave a message after the tone.

There. It’s done, all 16 words of my epic are complete (hold tight George.R.Martin – you’ve met your match). It comes as no surprise, though, the more I listen, the more I’m tempted to hit erase.

While Kimmy K was clearly feeling herself 1000’s of selfies later, I couldn’t have been feeling myself less 1000’s of attempts later. Alas, both were founded on vanity. I wanted to like the sound of me! How silly! I mean even science says that’s virtual insanity.

As for buttering up my pals, it’s time to go dairy-free. I have to remember this is how others hear me on a daily basis. They’ve put up with my voice long enough to not walk around wearing ear muffs (so silver linings guys).

Really, I guess I should stop busting my own balls and embrace my voice in all its tinny and cringey authenticity. After all, it’s what makes me, me (ergh! Wipes away sugar granules from sickly sweet cliche).

On second thoughts – to save the dilemma completely, you can just abide by Miss Badu and never pick up the phone to call?

Gr8. K. Thanks. Bye!