Celebrities

For SC-born actress Anna Camp, life is ‘Pitch Perfect’

Anna Camp, an Aiken native who was in Workshop and Trustus theater productions, in ‘Pitch Perfect.’ The sequel comes out May 15.
Anna Camp, an Aiken native who was in Workshop and Trustus theater productions, in ‘Pitch Perfect.’ The sequel comes out May 15. Universal Pictures

You might know South Carolina native Anna Camp from the movies – perhaps the 2012 a cappella comedy “Pitch Perfect,” in which she played projectile-vomiting perfectionist Aubrey Posen.

Or, you might know her from TV – she spent three seasons as vampire-hating psycho Sarah Newlin on HBO’s “True Blood.”

Right now, though, Camp, 32, is busy selling herself as a stage actress in New York City. And when we say busy, we mean busy.

Camp has come a long way since her first time on stage, when she was cast as a drug dealer in a D.A.R.E. play at Meadowfield Elementary School in Columbia (“we were pushing jelly beans in these little Ziploc bags”).

Born in Aiken, Camp grew up primarily in Mount Pleasant and Columbia and got the acting bug early. At first, she tagged along when older sister Sudie went to acting classes. Later, Anna studied under Mary Jeffcoat at Workshop Theater; worked on productions for Trustus; and was heavily involved in plays and musicals at Hand Middle and Dreher High schools.

Her most memorable role in high school?

“We did a musical called ‘Leader of the Pack,’ and I played the lead: the songwriter named Ellie Greenwich. I got to sing a lot of songs and – Rocky!” Camp suddenly interrupted herself.

In the background, her beloved puggle can be heard barking. (He’s been seen, regularly, in photos on Camp’s Twitter feed.)

Her parents, Tom and Dee, moved to Rock Hill in 1999 – the same year Anna was admitted as a senior into the high school program at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem. In 2000, she was the only student from her class accepted into the college program.

And since graduating from UNCSA in 2004, the L.A.-based actress has been working, relentlessly.

Movies: Eight so far, and three coming this year (including the sequel to “Pitch Perfect”, which opened May 15). TV: In addition to “True Blood,” several small but memorable roles in very big series – “Mad Men,” “Glee,” “The Office,” “The Good Wife,” “How I Met Your Mother.” Theater: Notable credits include a 2008 revival of “Equus,” with Daniel Radcliffe, and a 2008 revival of “The Country Girl,” starring Morgan Freeman.

Although the types of roles have been varied, Camp does seem to often get cast as a bad guy.

“I don’t know why; I don’t think I look evil!” she said, laughing. “But maybe it’s because I don’t. Maybe that’s why it’s surprising, (to see) someone who doesn’t look like a typical villain. ... It’s something that turns it on its head, which is always exciting.”

Camp is so clearly one of the good guys, though, staying on the phone for 35 minutes of questions where most celebrities only permit time for 10 to 15. She finally, graciously excuses herself, apologizing profusely, as Rocky whimpers in the background. “He’s begging me to take him to the bathroom,” she said.

And in the next minute, Camp is gone – resuming what seems to be an awfully hectic day off from an awfully hectic schedule.

These words, from earlier in the conversation, hang in mid-air: “There’s this constant feeling of not being able to catch up and go, go, go, go, go. But I have to tell myself sometimes to really slow down, to stop and smell the roses, because this is it. This is it. I should be proud of the work I’m doing and take some time to celebrate it, instead of just go, go, go, go, go. Easier said than done, though ...”

Anna Camp on …

“True Blood”: “That was one of my favorite roles. I never got to be a vampire, so I couldn’t specifically sink my teeth into it, but it was amazing that they brought me back for Season 6 and 7. I actually had the last spoken line of the entire series. Who would have thought?”

“Pitch Perfect”: “I get a lot of like ‘Aca-scuse me!’s Or, ‘You’re the girl that threw up!’ Or, ‘You’re so mean!’ Then I say, ‘I’m not like that in real life, I promise!’”

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