YOU CAN ALMOST HEAR Anna Kendrick’s bubbly voice as she exudes humble self-awareness and details the socially awkward moments of her normal/abnormal upbringing in her new memoir, Scrappy Little Nobody.
Kendrick, now 31, discusses the pros and cons of being a workaholic child actor, forever looking like a 12-year-old, being “uncool,” and not having boobs in time for high school. As someone who was in love with musical theater and choir as a teen, it’s satisfying to hear her dish about her first movie role in the low-budget indie Camp, which explored queer identity and the experiences of ridiculously talented teens at theater camp and was nominated for a Sundance Grand Jury Prize.
Admittedly, I was also excited to read Kendrick’s take on her super-easy role in the Twilight films, which for a while was the only thing keeping her from getting evicted. There are also some fun Hollywood tidbits: things she saw celebrities do at awards shows, and what she’s learned from working with Zac Efron and George Clooney.
Kendrick’s on-the-nose relatable when discussing her personal life in her early adult years: She would give herself self fives for checking off banal boyfriend-having behaviors or sex achievements, getting that much closer to becoming a normal adult human. She reflects on the dickheads she used to date and the absurdities they would spew at her, like when an ex-boyfriend said it was a “turnoff” for a girl to initiate sex because “the chase is kind of gone” and “sex before marriage is a sin.” Boy, bye.
While Kendrick admits she has zero advice for aspiring young actresses, she does give a realistic peek into what happens when you opt out of college and instead fully commit to pursuing performance. Kendrick details several periods of financial insecurity, shitty apartments, and continuing to sleep on an IKEA bed even after appearing in GQ and being nominated for an Academy Award. (Spoiler alert: Her new life isn’t as different as you might assume.)
If there was one conclusion I could derive from Scrappy Little Nobody, it’s that throughout her blossoming career in theater, film, and music, Kendrick’s drive has come from a place of scrappiness (hence the title). She argues that whatever materializes from her successes—whether she’s in Payless shoes or heels that cost more than her rent—is, as far as she’s concerned, temporary. Her career is the result of a fear-driven work ethic, one in which she’s always running as if from behind—even when she’s ahead.