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In the spotlight: Ester Dean


DEMONSTRATING a triple-threat of talents, Ester Dean’s credits include singer, songwriter and actress.

Having penned songs for the likes of Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry, the US artist found favour as an artist in her own right with the release of her 2009 single Drop It Low featuring Chris Brown.

Since then, the Oklahoma-born singer lent her vocals to UK MC Tinie Tempah’s 2011 track Love Suicide, and voiced the character Sloth Siren in the animated smash Ice Age: Continental Drift, to which she also lent her writing talents with the title song We Are.

More recently, she made her acting debut in the 2012 comedy musical Pitch Perfect. Following the trials and tribulations of the Barden University all-female singing group The Bellas, as they take on the National Championships of Collegiate A Cappella, the film saw Dean play Cynthia-Rose; a misunderstood, gambling lesbian.

How do you describe Cynthia Rose?
Cynthia Rose is very in love with herself. She is just a very free, sexy lesbian. I think what got me the part was my shoulders. I have linebacker shoulders!

As a singer, you were obviously well equipped to play a singing role, but were you still nervous about undertaking the part?
Not nervous, but ready to figure out what I needed to do; what was going to be my part that I come into and shine in. Everyone was so great, I was like, ‘I cannot just be good at singing, what else can I do?’ I sung and I think I did a good job, and I got the part.

Did you always want to be a singer?
No, I was never going to be a singer – I wanted to be a chef. I saw the chef TV shows and I thought that it looked really fun. I remember my cousin said, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and I said, “I want to be a chef.” He said, “You can’t be a chef.’ I asked, ‘Why not?’ and he said, ‘Because you can sing! You are going to be a singer!’ I think I was 10 or 11, and, you know, that can break your spirit. I was like, ‘I don’t want to be a singer, I want to be a chef’ and then I was like, ‘I’ll sing to get the money to open up the restaurant, and it is going to be in Paris and be called a La Ester.’

ON SONG: Dean with her Pitch Perfect cast members

Is it right that you come from a musical family?
My mum can sing, she did gospel plays. My whole family can sing – I’m just the only one that made it. My grandma had 12 kids, my mum had five kids and my auntie had nine kids; and all of them can sing. But I’m the only one who actually did anything outside of Oklahoma.

Your family must be very proud of you…
They are very proud. They like to call me and say, ‘Hey, this person says you are not my cousin, can you tell them you are my cousin?’

What were your favourite scenes to shoot?
My favourite part was when we started doing the movie and it was all performances, all the time. We didn’t do any acting, we just did performances. Then, after we did our performances, we got to start acting, and I got to really experience the whole movie feel. That’s when I was like, ‘This is fun!’

How was shooting this movie with a lot of women all together?
It was good. There were a lot of girly girls – I think the whole cast were girly girls. We could all go and have lunch and have dinner. We were all like, ‘What you doing? We gotta go and do this!’ And shooting the movie in a college town, I feel like it brought us together. There was a little pub called The Cove – everybody would get drunk at The Cove. It was a lot of fun.

Pitch Perfect is out now on Blu-ray and DVD

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