Take Anna Camp's Advice On Turning 30

Some Hollywood women make it all look so easy. They're the kind of people who are so effortlessly put together they make you think that "I woke up like this" could actually be a real thing. You can file Pitch Perfect 2's Anna Camp in that category.
But, don't get it twisted. Camp didn't just have her life handed to her on a silver platter. She put in a lot of work — an intensive acting program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, countless guest starring roles — to become the versatile powerhouse you've seen opposite Don Draper, hanging on the couch with Mindy Lahiri, and stiffly prancing through an a cappella version of "The Sign." And, her incredibly humble — not to mention sweet — attitude solidifies her status as legit aspirational.

Now that she's made it into the big leagues, Camp's not messing around. She's advocating for more women behind the camera. She's embracing her 30s with everything she's got. And, of course, she's aca-crushing it on the big screen. We spoke to the actress about the much-anticipated sequel, what she was really like in college, how she shrugs off the pressures of a body-conscious industry, and more.

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What was different about playing Aubrey this time as a former Bella?

“I didn’t have as many scenes to shoot. I didn’t have as many songs to sing and as many dances to learn, but it was still fun!”

What are your go-to a capella songs?
“I’m always singing around the house without music, so I guess that’s like a cappella. It’s so funny, when I’m on set people will notice that when I’m bored standing around I’ll hum or sing ‘Strangers in the Night,’ I have no idea why. It’s like my go-to little thing to hum. It’s so random.”

We know what Aubrey's like in college, but what were you like in college?
“I was the opposite of my character in college. I had a great time. I went to the School of the Arts at University of North Carolina, a conservatory for acting, but I definitely had a good time and knew how to party. I was always going to themed parties and coming up with themes for house parties. I was definitely way more of a rebel than Aubrey ever was. I took acting and was actually very dedicated, but I definitely know how to work hard and play hard, too.”

Which cast member surprised you the most?
“Growing up watching Brittany Snow and being a fan of hers, I just think that she turned out to be so sweet, so talented, and such a genuinely lovely person and hopefully a friend for life. We really bonded on set, and I just wasn’t expecting that. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I wasn’t expecting to be so close with her. It was such a great girl bonding experience that we shared."

That's great, because the two movies are very "girl power."
“Yes! I love that. I’m all about girl power.”

You said recently that you hope to see more female directors and writers working in Hollywood. What projects/stories do you want to see?
“I’d love to see more women playing historical figures, women that we don’t know much about brought to light through amazing actresses. I would love to play a part [like that]. I actually just optioned a book called The Serpent’s Bite  [by Warren Adler]. It’s a very strong female lead I’ll be playing, super complex. She’s a little bit like Lady Macbeth, but a younger version of that. Just really complicated, vulnerable. Just girl power stories.

"A lot of the time I’ll audition for a big studio movie, and it’s mainly men — and always the woman is a sex object in some way in the film. It would be nice to see a movie where that’s not a factor at all, where a woman doesn’t use her sexuality to get ahead or get somewhere in the film. Just to widen the range of how women are looked at in the industry is something I would love to do and be a part of. So I hope the tide is turning, and I’ll keep working to help do what I can do.”

What’s the biggest difference between having Jason Moore direct PP1 versus having Elizabeth Banks for the sequel?
“Jason Moore has a theater background and was nominated for Avenue Q. He’s incredibly smart, and you can see the connection that he would make from scene to scene to scene. There was so much heart in the first movie, and there’s a lot of focus on the stakes of the film, which was my character. Everyone was fighting against her [because] she represented the old ideas. The girls would fight that to be more progressive. I felt like that was something he understood really, really well.

"Elizabeth is on a totally different scale. She’s just comedy, comedy, comedy. She gets comedy; she’s a great comedic actress, she knows how to get it out of you. Jason would come up to me and give notes quietly on set. Elizabeth would yell from behind the camera and the monitors like, ‘Do it like this!’ Not to say either way was better, just completely different and fun. Both really, really fun and I learned so much from both of them.”

You've done a lot of great guest starring. Any favorites?
“I loved playing Sarah Newlin on True Blood. She was just...I just die for that character. I never knew what was gonna happen. I felt like it was incredibly well written and fun and crazy. It’s so much fun to play somebody who’s losing their mind. That’s tied with [my role on] Mad Men, because [that] was always my favorite show. To be on the show even for one episode was a dream come true. To be wearing the real vintage clothes and acting with the Don Draper, it was definitely something I will never forget, and I’m so thankful I got to be a part of it. I’m so sad that the show is ending this season. I’m gonna cry.”

Your dancing is hilarious in PP1. Are you a better dancer than Aubrey?
"I think so. I have a lot more cool factor than Aubrey has, but I definitely played her that specific way because that’s the funny part of it — that she is cheesey, she is stuck in a rut. That’s not who I am at all, but that’s how she is. So I wanted to make sure the dancing, the movements, and even the singing was very character specific. You could tell by looking at that girl and how she moved what kind of person she is. I hope that that translated. I think it did. I think Aubrey’s a very specific girl, and everybody might not want to hang out with her, but she has a big heart."

Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson are both 29 now. Do you have any advice for them on turning 30?
“I was so happy when I turned 30. Of course, I was dreading it for a while when I was in my mid-twenties. But, when you turn 30 you start to not — I was doing so much for other people in my 20s, like pleasing other people and second-guessing myself way more than I did when I turned 30. And, I would say embrace it, because you really start living for yourself and what you want. You don’t sweat the small stuff as much. Embrace your 30s, because it’s better, I think.”

Do you ever feel pressure to maintain a certain look or body type in your profession?
“Yes, absolutely. It’s so funny, when you go to fittings or certain custom fittings or even wardrobe for press events or something, they use, like, a sample size. And, if you don’t fit in that sample size, then you’re gonna have to find other things. It’s harder to find those type of clothes. I definitely feel that pressure, because you wanna look good and also the camera — they don’t lie — it adds 10 pounds. So there is a bit of that. I do eat what I want. I’m not someone who’s crazy about the way I look. I’ve always been more like, ‘My acting will shine through.’ I’m more about the acting. I don’t mind getting messy. I'm much more relaxed when it comes to that stuff.

"There is a pressure, definitely, in Hollywood. It’s hard to avoid for someone like me who's getting cast as either a love interest or the girl like Aubrey was, this leader. If she’s gonna be the leader, she’s gotta look good. I try to stay true to myself and work out and eat right, but not go crazy or anything like that. That’s just not something I….like, I’m not dedicated enough to diet. I’m really not.”


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