Brittany Snow (@brittsnowhuh) is not a flake—she just plays one in the Pitch Perfect trilogy. Off screen, the young actress opens up about her personal struggles and devotion to helping others.

Photography by John Russo, @johnrussophoto
Interview by Beth Weitzman, @beth_weitzman
Wardrobe and styling by Lindsey Dupuis, @lindseydupuis
Hair by Aviva Perea, @hairbyaviva
Makeup by Andre Sarmiento, @andremakeup
Edited by Bonnie Davidson

Why do you think movie-goers love you so much?
I am very sensitive and intuitive, which in the past has worked against me. I got in my own head and in my own way. Now I feel my sensitivity and intuitiveness is perhaps why people feel they can relate to me. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I think people can feel that.

How do you feel about being a role model for teenagers? 
I do not take that lightly. I am honored, but I don’t think about it too much. I try to make the best decisions for me and who I want become.

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You’ve played so many interesting characters, from a teenage neo-Nazi in Nip/Tuck to the apple-pie good-girl Chloe in Pitch Perfect. Which was most important to you?
Probably in a short film series I did called Call Me Crazy, I felt the most connected to my character. The strength in that character to battle mental illness, and the accurate portrayal of that, was something I felt very inspired to do correctly.

Were you anything like Chloe in high school?
Definitely not. I was very shy in high school. I only went to one year of normal high school and that was good enough for me. I couldn’t figure out how to fit in. I was definitely not as confident or as happy as Chloe.

Did you ever struggle with a weakness or insecurity that eventually became a strength?
I was with an ex-boyfriend who I valued and respected for a long time, who would tell me I was “too much.” I was too sensitive, too complicated, too different. That really affected me for a while. I tried to change myself to be less because I loved him. It wasn’t till I got out of that relationship that I realized those things he saw as weaknesses made me strong, interesting and unique. I love that I’m different and I will never change to fit a mold of what someone wants me to be. I am never boring and that’s a good thing.

Why did you create Love is Louder?
I felt compelled to help and to share my story [about her own struggles with anorexia, depression and self-mutilation] because other stories had helped me overcome hard times. Seven years ago, there wasn’t as much honesty going around, especially online, and I wanted to create a community of people who were brave enough to share themselves and their truth. I wanted to help bring awareness to mental health. I wanted to create a place where everyone could feel included and supported. The Love is Louder [#LoveisLouder] team works one-on-one with advocates from campuses (mainly high schools and colleges) to help them figure out the best way to solve issues like bullying, body image, discrimination and depression.

What’s the one thing you wish you could change about the entertainment industry?
The scrutiny entertainers are constantly under. Whether you’re in the entertainment industry or not, we are all human beings and we all have feelings. I don’t know how famous people do it—the pressure to look and act a certain way must really weigh on them. I’m glad I’m not that famous, so I can go to Starbucks in my pajamas. Entertainers should be allowed to wear, do, look, date and be whomever they want to be without criticism. It’s all very weird how hard that is to change. The pressure to uphold this ridiculous standard of beauty. It’s bullshit.

How do you cope with rejection? 
Rejection is never easy. I think it’s interesting when people say they are used to it. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the feeling of being told you’re not it…and that’s ok. I have just learned over time to have a core understanding of who I am and to hold on to that. I know who I am, how I’m unique, what I bring to the table, and no one can take that from me. I usually lean on my friends, listen to a good song and get into something creative. Then, I’m on to my next thing.

What are you most grateful for?
My dog, my friends, my past that has made me super strong, beautiful movies, that sweet potatoes are considered a vegetable and the fact that there will always be my next favorite song to listen to over and over.

Read more in the premiere issue of Gio on January 31, 2018