“More alive than I’ve ever been”

Kumar finding voice through cosplay


Olivia Cooper

Coppell High School senior Sneha Kumar dresses as Kaito from Vocaloid, a singing voice synthesizer software product at her home on Wednesday. Kumar has been cosplaying and voice acting since seventh grade. Photo by Olivia Cooper.

By Sreeja Mudumby, Coppell High School

The hat slips.

She pulls it up and tugs it firmly over her head. A perfect fit. A blue lock of hair brushes against her dark, hard eyes.

All gazes turn her way.

Coppell High School senior Sneha Kumar’s love for cosplay and voice acting sparked through a passion project in the seventh grade [at Coppell Middle School West]. Ironically, one of her weaknesses helped her find her strength.

“We had to choose whatever we thought we would be passionate about, and I originally wanted to do animation, but sixth grade art kind of crushed my dreams,” Kumar said. “I was like, ‘what’s another part of anime that’s cool? Voice acting, I’m going to do a project on that.’ And I actually ended up really enjoying it.”

What started out as an effort to get an A on a project then progressed to an online tutorial, and before she knew it, Kumar found herself in a Matt Engarde cosplay costume from the video game “Ace Attorney,” not knowing how far it would really take her.

“I remember watching some videos from this one cosplayer; her name is Mishkali, and she did these cosplays from my favorite anime, Fullmetal Alchemist, and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s so cool, I want to try it,’” Kumar said. “I got the cosplay of my favorite character at the time, Edward Elric, and I just started from there.”

Slowly but steadily, Kumar started to involve herself into the world of anime. Whether it was watching animes, practicing voices of her favorite characters or going to conventions, Kumar was a sponge, taking every chance she got to present her skills and meet new people.

“Sneha’s not afraid to just go for it,” CHS head theatre director Karen Ruth said. “Even if it’s something out of her comfort zone or different, she’s not afraid to do it. She goes after what she wants and she gives 100% every time. She is not scared to get up there and be vulnerable and put herself out there, and I admire her immensely.”

Coppell High School senior Sneha Kumar dresses as Kaito from Vocaloid, a singing voice synthesizer software product at her home on Wednesday. Kumar has been cosplaying and voice acting since seventh grade.
(Olivia Cooper)

After a year of practicing and training, Kumar started to take her voice into the anime industry to start voicing some characters, her first being Priestess Hikari in “Project Amaranthine.”

Kumar is currently playing a variety of characters, including The Princess of the Ithbar from “Little Ruby Roo”, forensic detective Ema Skye from “The Shield of Justice” and Trucy Wright from “The Shield of Justice: The Christmas Spirit Unleashed.

Kumar loves the world of voice acting and cosplay as it is an escape from everyday life.

“I’m getting to be someone that I’m not,” Kumar said. “I’ll never get to be [Engarde,] a refreshing spring breeze actor with an evil side, I’ll never get to be some adventurer or a spirit medium or a phantom thief or anything like that; [so cosplay and voice acting]  make me feel more alive than I’ve ever been.”

Kumar, along with reaping the benefits of her growth, inspires others to step out of their comfort zone.

“I admire how passionate she is about what she cares about,” CHS senior Xander Davila said. “For as long as I’ve known her since middle school, she has been really into anime and cosplay and voice acting. I’ve always really admired that because I am into those same things, but I’ve never been so open about it. Because she is so open about it, she has been able to thrive as a voice actor, and it inspired me to get more into voice acting too because that is something I also want to do.”

Kumar recognizes her interests are unorthodox. But instead of hiding it, she celebrates the unique talents she possesses.

“I don’t think I’ve ever really been scared of getting judged,” Kumar said. “I have gotten judged before, but ‘I know what makes me happy, and I know what I want to do, and I’m not going to let you stop me’ is kind of my attitude towards the people who say that cosplay is weird or something like that.”

Kumar thinks anyone who is interested in cosplay should seize the day and not let anything get in the way.

“Just do it,” Kumar said. “Just go out there. Get your voice out there. Buy a cosplay, start singing. All you really need is the mic from your earbuds. Just go into a closet and start recording. Just get yourself out there.”

This story was originally published on Coppell Student Media on January 25, 2021.