Was there a moment when you realized you were going to be an actress?
"I never thought I'd end up acting. I always thought I'd go into serious stuff like law or politics. When I graduated school I became a youth ambassador and was stationed in South Africa for a year to spread goodwill across the continent. I got malaria and was put in intensive care, where the doctors gave me a cocktail of drugs so I wouldn't die. I hallucinated that I was at the Oscars and won. It was so real that when I came out of hospital I said, 'I know this is crazy, but I'm going to become an actress!'"
You do a lot of improv in your new flick Pitch Perfect — which off-the-cuff line are you most proud of?
"There's a line about crystal meth that I didn't even remember saying! When I saw it in the final cut, I thought, 'Wow, that was a pretty good line!'"
What inspired you to do that hilarious mermaid dance?
"I love Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and I just got a house here in L.A. with a pool. I pretend to be a mermaid in the middle of the night — it kind of de-stresses me."
Were you a part of any social groups back in school?
"I was actually part an a capella group called Twelve Voice because it was 12 girls — hella original, right? I went to a Christian school, so we'd sing church songs at weddings and funerals. They were really pretty songs, but we'd have to wear these peasant blouses and these disgusting long velvet skirts."
Do you remember your first karaoke song?
"The first karaoke song I ever did was Elton John's 'Crocodile Rock.' I did it because I liked the chorus, but I didn't quite know the verses. I was very bad!"
How would you describe your style?
"I'm a little bit preppy, but with a gangster edge. Like, for example, I'm wearing these custom-made rings from Brooklyn that say my name on them. I like to say 'comfortable' as well — but, I don't know if that's really a style."