How Aging Helped This Pitch Perfect Actress Gain More Confidence
When we think about who our role models were as young girls as well as who they are today, we immediately picture a lineup of heroines from our my favorite comedies. There's just something so empowering about women who write, act, and create art that encourages an audience to strive for growth while also making them laugh. Indeed, humor has the power to make tricky topics and moments of struggle a lot more manageable, even entertaining. So when we had the opportunity to speak with actress Anna Camp, we were more than excited to pick her brain about everything from morning routines to her go-to shops for home décor items, her latest professional projects, and, of course, what she's learned from setbacks both on and off screen.
And if you've seen Camp dazzle in Pitch Perfect, True Blood, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Mindy Project, The Office, and The Help, to name a few, then you're probably excited to hear what she has to say, too. Unsurprisingly, we learned that she has an amazing sense of humor, which has helped her navigate many of life's curveballs. Ahead you'll find plenty of style and shopping advice and tips on how to be your best, confident self. Scroll through to get inspired by her upbeat, generous spirit and what she does to maintain her sense of gusto while balancing a busy schedule.
MYDOMAINE: So let's start by talking about what you're doing today with Tiny House and what your role with this Nestea project was, as well as why it's a good fit. Does that sound good?
ANNA CAMP: Sounds great. I was really excited to partner with Nestea because their message right now is all about "less is more" and simplifying, and that's what I'm trying to do in my life. They're relaunching their brand of tea, and it's all about using less ingredients, without high-fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors or colors. It's just about downsizing and being simple, so we're in this little house right in the middle of bustling Harold Square in Manhattan.
MD: Awesome. So you resonate with the "less is more" message. What does that mean to you in your life, both career-wise and also on a personal level? Is it just in terms of minimalism with your style at home, or does it also seep into your lifestyle choices?
AC: It's mainly about my lifestyle choices. You know, growing up, it's being in your 20s, you're in such a race. You have to go to every dinner and every party to be out and see those people and meet those people … and it's just this constant stimulus. I feel like the older I've gotten, the more I've tried to slow down and realize that I'm not in a race with anyone and that I only live once so I should connect with the things that truly make me happy and bring me joy. And to find quiet time.
I also really love going on really long walks and hikes with my dog. That's when I can hear myself think, especially since we're so glued to our phones and social media. So it's important to take some time to listen to your own thoughts. But I know it's easier said than done.
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AC: So I've decided not to pick up my phone for the first 30 minutes of waking up, which helps me get in touch with what I'm feeling emotionally and physically on a given day. It's not a selfish thing. It's more just being in touch with yourself and not driving yourself crazy, which is so easy to that in this day in age.
MD: Yeah, absolutely. I feel like unplugging really helps. And I agree—it's the opposite of being selfish because it allows you actually be present when you are with people or doing other things either professionally or socially because then you can actually give it your attention.
The older I've gotten, the more I've tried to slow down and realize that I'm not in a race with anyone and to connect with the things that truly make me happy and bring me joy.
AC: Yeah, you can actually be very present with the people you do end up going out with, and it’s all about quality. It’s not quantity.
MD: A little tortoise-and-the-hare, slow-and-steady situation.
AC: Yeah, absolutely. That’s been my motto for my whole life.
MD: Me too.
MD: So you mentioned that you don't have a minimalist style in terms of home décor choices.
AC: You know, I'm into classic pieces and shabby-chic looks. I can't go into any Anthropologie or West Elm and not feel like, Oh god, I could have everything in here? But I don't like clutter, and I'm not a modernist. I'm more into antiques and combining some new things with old things so it looks more timeless than anything and can be in a house for years since it won't go out of style.
MD: That creates a more homey environment you can build on over the years, too.
AC: Yeah, [husband Skylar Astin and I] try to decorate our house that way.
When you can finally just be happy to be you, that can open a lot of doors.
MD: Very cool. So do you have any self-care rituals or practices that you do to make sure that you're able to start your day on the right foot, aside from putting your phone down?
AC: Yeah, the first thing that I do in the morning is drink water. You know, I'm craving coffee and I want to have a latte, but it's the worst thing you could do right off the bat, because your body will be so dehydrated at that point. So the first thing I try to do is have a bottle of water, and then I can make my almond milk latte and sit outside on my back porch and just soak in the sun. You know what I mean?
MD: Yes, absolutely. It sounds like a relaxing way to start the day.
AC: I'm fortunate enough to have a flexible job where, when I have downtime, I'm able to do that. And it's exactly the opposite when I'm on the set when I have to wake up at 4:50 every morning and race to get to set. But I try to do that even when I'm out of town to maintain that morning ritual, which is something that I think is really important, especially because I'm always in some other crazy town. It brings a sense of peace and calm.
MD: Exactly. Especially because if you get in the habit of doing something as simple as drinking water first thing in the morning, it's such an easy thing to remember. And it makes all the difference. I'm always bugging my mom to drink more water instead of her morning iced tea actually.
AC: Oh yeah. I wish my mom would. They don't do it, though! It's hard if you aren't in the habit of it, but can be so easy, and it's so good for you.
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MD: So do you have any other mottos or words that you live by aside from the idea of "less is more"? Or a mantra that you've always told yourself?
AC: My dad's high school quote, because it's something that rings so true: "Why take life seriously? You'll never get out a laugh." And it's something that, I mean I laughed. I was like, Oh my god, Dad, you're so irreverent. But when I think about it, the people I'm attracted to in my life and the people I surround myself with are people who don't take themselves so seriously and can laugh at themselves, you know?
AC: And as an actor, it's a hard business out there. And you're faced constantly with either getting parts or not getting parts. There's a lot of rejection that happens. And if I could go back in time and tell myself something, I would say try not to take it so seriously. Just let go a little bit. I wish I had learned it a little earlier than I even did. So that's one of the main things I try to live by.
"I definitely did earn my confidence, I think by getting older and by being more comfortable with myself and who I am and not comparing myself other people all the time."
MD: Yes, definitely. And I feel like that has a lot to do with confidence and self-esteem. The people I look up to most in my life also tend to be the most carefree or take themselves less seriously (but not in a destructive way), and they’re also the most confident.
AC: Oh yeah, in a really calming way. For example, I don't like wearing too much makeup when I go out. I don't always want to do my hair. I just like being me, being comfortable. And that wasn't always the case. You know, growing up in the South, you're expected to look a certain way. When you leave the house, you've got your mascara and eyeliner on. It can be stressful.
MD: It can be.
AC: And when you can finally just be happy to be you, that can open a lot of doors.
MD: That's great advice. Do you have any specific tips on how you harness that confidence?
AC: I got too busy to get ready for a day of makeup and hair and all of that. It forced me to go out and realize people don't treat you differently because you're not wearing a certain thing. If you're kind, people will be kind back to you. And I notice that I'm actually much more relaxed when I don't have all of that glam stuff all over me, to be honest. Like today, I can't wait to put on my sneakers and my ball cap.
MD: Same. So it sounds like it happened sort of organically for you, which is nice. Like you left the house one day and realized, Actually, this feels comfortable to me, which then, of course, would help you gain confidence over time.
AC: Yeah. And it inspires your friends to do it as well. So nobody feels like they have to be competing for any attention or anything like that. It's good, neutral territory, and everybody can be relaxed.
MD: That reminds me of when Mindy Kaling wrote that confidence has to be earned. I think she means confidence is something that women ease into if they work for it, as you were explaining. Do you think it has to be earned, or is it one of those things that you either have or you don’t?
AC: I feel like some people who are just born with confidence. I'm sort of jealous of them because that's not something that happened to me. I definitely did earn my confidence, I think by getting older and by being more comfortable with myself and who I am and not comparing myself other people all the time. So yeah, I agree. I think she's dead-on about that.
MD: Yeah, I think that's a really insightful way to think about confidence. Because it feels more intimidating or unattainable when you assume that it's just this natural thing instead of a quality that anyone can have if they work for it.
AC: People who are so confident, who are walking around like they have no problems in the world, that's not true.
MD: Exactly. And going back to our conversation about humor, how has it helped you in your life, if it has? (Both career-wise and on a personal level.)
AC: What I was saying about not taking yourself so seriously in life is huge. I love comedies; I really do. If you can make someone laugh or entertain someone when they're going through something they need a distraction, or they need to just laugh out loud while they're watching a TV show or a film, how great is that?
So ultimately I think it's about being truthful and telling a story with honesty, whether it's a drama or a comedy. It's just about maintaining that sense of truth, and I think that translates on screen because I think people can feel that and relate to it.
MD: Do you feel like you've learned any lessons from any of the roles that you've taken on? Any unexpected ones that you weren’t thinking would really teach you anything new about yourself?
AC: I've been fortunate enough to work with groups of women consistently, like Pitch Perfect and all of those movies. It's about a group of women coming together and not competing against one another but working together to reach a greater good. I feel like I didn't have that many close girlfriends growing up, maybe one or two, and one that I'm actually still very close with, but it's just taught me that relationships aren't about competing. Rather, they're about really, truly coming together and working together.
And people are always so astounded, like, the Pitch Perfect girls are really friends? Yes, women can work together and not compete with one another, and that's really powerful. So hopefully these stories can inspire young women to look up to that sentiment and do the same.
MD: Totally. Being a support system for each other.
AC: It's about having each other's backs.
Why take life so seriously? You'll never get out a laugh.
MD: So what upcoming projects are you really excited about or TV shows you are most excited about lately?
AC: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt just came back on Netflix, and my crazy character makes another appearance.
MD: Ah, yes, I'm excited!
AC: It'll be really, really fun. And Pitch Perfect 3 is coming out in December, so that's going to be great. I also just started watching The Crown, which is so good. It's the show that I'm most into right now. And I can't wait for Game of Thrones to come back—I'm really excited.
MD: Awesome—well, I’ll have to watch The Crown. I haven't seen it, and I'm almost finished with Stranger Things (late bloomer), so I'll have to find something new to watch.
AC: Oh god, it was so good! I love that show.
MD: Okay, awesome! Well, thank you so much for chatting with us today.
AC: Yes, thank you so much for talking with me today.
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