“I just have to make sure that I’m warmed up and I’m opened to whatever’s thrown at me. It’s not like any other field, acting in front of a camera or on stage in a theater,” she said. “There, you have time to rehearse with the script in hand before showtime. Whereas, in voiceover, often time you don’t get the script ahead of time. Sometimes, they rush it in that morning, and so it’s new to everybody. I have to be spontaneous and rise to the occasion.”
Xanthe further explained, “In voiceover, especially with Anime, voice synchronization is a very important technique I have to master in real time. I mean, there are visual and audio queues to help indicate when to start the voiceover sequence. But perfect synchronization still depends a lot on the voice actor’s ability to perfectly synchronize the voice for the character and at the same time act the part, express emotions and sustain it for the entire movie. My background in the theater really helped me do this part well.”
As Xanthe Huynh passionately describes her professional work, I can’t help but wonder why this young, talented and beautiful Vietnamese-American chose this career path and how she got to be where she is today in an industry that many have aspired to but only a few succeeded.
Xanthe Huynh (pronounced Zan-thee Hwinn) is one of very few Vietnamese-American voice actresses in Japanese and American animation. Her work includes K-On! (Ui Hirasawa), Love Live School Idol Project (Hanayo Koizumi), Sword Art Online (Sachi), Yuki Yuna is a Hero (Yuna Yuki), A Lull in the Sea (Miuna Shiodome), Kite Liberator (Monaka), The Familiar of Zero (Siesta), Squid Girl (Sanae) and Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (Suzuka). Bebe/Nagisa Momoe in Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part III: Rebellion. And games such as Omega Quintet (Nene), Hyperdimension Neptunia Series (Falcom), Rune Factory Frontier (Mist), Luminous Arc 2 (Luna & Therese), Avalon Code (Fana), and Summon Night: Twin Age (Ayn).
She was nominated for Best Vocal Ensemble in Anime Feature Film/Special, Television series, by Behind The Voice Actors Anime Dub Television/OVA Voice Acting Award.
Choosing a career path
Born into a traditional Vietnamese family, Xanthe’s parents were very protective and strict. Immigrated to the US from Vietnam, they both have to work long hours to provide for the family. “My parents, they were always working,” she said. “and so they would say all these scary things to keep us housebound, for our own safety that is. Therefore, we spent most of our free time in front of the TV and that’s how I discovered anime and developed a passion for it.”
When it’s time for her to set a career path, choosing a field of study, Xanthe’s parents were very supportive but never without strong persuasion for her to consider other traditional careers, known for stability and well-paid status. Although she understood her parents’ good intentions, Xanthe courageously walked her own path. She followed her passion for theater and began taking acting classes and studied theater in middle school, high school, and also continue on to college. Xanthe graduated from UCI with a Bachelor’s degree in Dramatic Arts.
How it all started
Xanthe developed a passion for anime from spending countless hours in front of the TV growing up. One day, while watching anime, Xanthe recalled, “I thought this one voice did not really match the character, and I felt like, you know ‘I wish I could do this,’ I feel like I could do a good job. And I was talking to some friends, and they recommended that I go and do this competition at Anime Expo. And I went, and I was a finalist. I didn’t win but I still got the opportunity to come into their studio and audition for them. And so that’s kind of how I got to merge the two things that I love, like together. So I was just really fortunate. It was just lucky timing, I feel on top of that.”
It was more than just luck that got her job after the audition at Bang Zoom! Entertainment. It was her talent, good timing, and perfect execution that land her the job. Xanthe took initiative, grabbing the opportunity when it presented itself and put her talent to work when it counts the most.
Xanthe continued: “It was just a general audition. They just had me read a bunch of different characters so they could see what I sounded like — I didn’t have a demo for them — to hear different types of characters that I could potentially play.” It was at that reading that studio executives determined which type of voices suited her and which future parts she could fill.
Before the competition, Xanthe told herself she wouldn’t win. But the opportunity presented itself, and she took it. Once the studio took an interest in her and granted the audition, she realized that is where she belonged. She recognized the potential career path, and it proved a defining moment for a young voiceover actress.Continue reading »