“I’m pretty shy when it comes to singing,” says Brittany Snow as she pulls up a chair on the back patio of Santa Monica’s Urth Caffe. It’s a surprising admission, coming from a woman who rose to prominence as an a cappella all-star in 2012’s “Pitch Perfect.” That, combined with her riveting performance of “The New Girl in Town” from Adam Shankman’s rendition of “Hairspray,” had us all convinced that the starlet would most likely follow in the footsteps of an actress-turned-songstress like Leighton Meester. But while she admits to belting out the occasional Sam Smith cover while driving through Los Angeles traffic, safely behind rolled up windows thankyouverymuch, you won’t see Snow manning the microphone anytime soon. “I am just not cool enough or brave enough to ever come out on a stage and be like, ‘Hello Wisconsin,’” she admits. “I just don’t think it’s going to happen.”
Her lack of pop star aspirations aside, Snow is always game to lend her vocal assets to the right acting project and is far from ready to throw the towel in on what she considers one of her first loves. “I grew up singing,” she explains. “I took vocal lessons when I was a kid but then I stopped when I was 15 because I moved out to L.A. to do ‘American Dreams’ and then I never sang that much.” But after rekindling her vocal education to tackle the role of Amber Von Tussle in “Hairspray,” Snow realized there was still a fascination there. And when “Pitch Perfect” came along five years later, she was intrigued by the chance to blend her “pop/folky” voice into a group consisting of the theatrically trained Anna Kendrick and Rihanna’s songwriter Ester Dean. “I’m not a trained singer and my voice isn’t very belty,” she says. “But I think it’s really great with all the other girls because every single one of us has such a different style so it blends together really well.”
On May 15, Snow returns to theaters to reprise her role as Chloe Beale, a Barden Bella diva who joins forces with her girls to beat German supergroup Das Sound Machine in the hopes of becoming the world champions. It’s a movie that fans have been anticipating since the original “Pitch Perfect” left theaters. It’s always a gamble to attempt to follow up a cult favorite, however, Snow says the fans that have caught early screenings have been telling her that they like “Pitch Perfect 2” better than the first. While too biased to have a preference, she will lay claim to this film being “crazier,” in part due to the behind-the-scenes antics.
Snow laughs as she reminisces over an onset twerking accident that she divulged to Cosmopolitan earlier this month, which quickly spread across the web. “Yeah. I hurt my back twerking,” she says, a tad embarrassed. “It’s so funny because I mentioned that one time and now it’s a thing.” She quickly shakes it off with an adorably self-deprecating proclamation. “I think I’m just not a very talented sexy dancer.” But she got there, awkwardly, with the help of Usher and Justin Bieber’s personal choreographer extraordinaire, Aakomon Jones, who taught her to get out of her head and twerk away.
Aside from getting to reunite with her “Pitch Perfect” friends and family, Snow was thrilled at the chance to film the sequel since it meant working more closely with first-time director Elizabeth Banks, who she calls a “strong and intelligent woman. We already knew her so well and knew we would be in good hands,” says Snow of having Banks behind the camera. “She gave us a lot of freedom to improv as well as knowing exactly what to get from us.” To capture the essence of each member of the Bellas, the first time director let the girls loose to play around with several scenes. Snow pulls up an Instagram photo of herself, Kendrick, and costar Kelley Jakle covered in mud to illustrate how things worked on set. “That was a day of shooting where we had to go to this camp to learn how to work together as a team,” she explains. “While we were shooting, we had to do obstacle courses and zip lining and blob bouncing and mud crawling. Elizabeth just kind of threw us in there. It was basically like camp. She was like, ‘OK. All day today we are going to do a whole bunch of activities.’ We got to play all day.”
Though she’s racked up a resume of roles, including the lead in “John Tucker Must Die” and series regular Katie Parerra on the mob drama “Full Circle,” it was the “Pitch Perfect” franchise that really put Snow on the map. Still she admits that she hasn’t reached the kind of famous where fans mob her on the street. “I don’t get recognized that often,” she explains. And when fans do spot her out and about, they don’t always make an immediate connection on where they know her from. “I used to get recognized for being the Olsen Twins a lot, which was a compliment,” she jokes. “Not so much anymore.” Part of her anonymity, she credits to her constantly evolving hair color, which is often due to a role.
“I have had every hair color!” she exclaims. “I joke with my hair colorist. She keeps sheets of paper on every hair color that I’ve had so she has records of it all. She’s done my hair since I was 15 and I guess I have a thick folder going because I’ve had so many different hair colors.” Though she identifies most as a blonde, which she’s currently sporting these days, Snow hasn’t loved all of her looks. “I think my least favorite hair color was the hair color that I had in Pitch Perfect 2. They really wanted me to be dark red and I wanted to be lighter like I was in the first movie, but they didn’t want that. But I rocked some light red for a year, after it faded.”
Hair isn’t the only thing that has evolved for the 29-year-old star. Snow laughs when she pauses to think about her life pre-stylist days. “I used to be one of those people that just didn’t care about fashion at all. It was never an interest to be because I never really got it,” she explains. Nowadays, she describes her everyday style as “tomboy chic.” “I live by the beach and I feel like my style reflects that. I’m very lazy; if it takes me longer that 15 or 20 minutes to get ready, then I don’t want to do it. So I wear a lot of jeans and t-shirts and very normal kind of tomboyish sort of things. I feel that whole vibe of that tomboy chic thing that’s been introduced years ago by Alexa Chung and things in that sort of evolution is what I like to wear. I just like to look effortless because I don’t want to put too much effort into it.”
And that’s exactly how she arrived for our interview. Hair slicked back in a beach woven ponytail and a very coffee date appropriate designer sundress. But reminiscing on fashion quickly prompted Snow to leave us with tales of one of her ultra embarrassing “I dressed myself” debut red carpets: The School of Rock premiere. “That was one of my favorite red carpets ever because it was the most horrific thing I’ve ever worn in my entire life,” she explains, as she reddens over the memory. “There is no way that anyone can say that it’s not. I got these purple, yellow, and black leopard print felt cowboy boots. And I thought those were the coolest so I wore those with a black shirt, a pink top, and like a brown jacket.” And to really highlight her fashion find, every photo from the event has Snow kicking her boots into the focus of the camera. “I was 15 so hopefully I was forgiven but my mom… Oh what was she thinking? I’m not sure why she was like, ‘Oh yeah. You should wear that.’”
At least now Snow is singing her way to the top no matter what she wears.
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