Getting Ready With Pitch Perfect's Hana Mae Lee

At 10 a.m. the day after a big Hollywood premiere party, I doubt I’d even be awake, much less prepared to spend half an hour detailing every last step of my beauty routine to a reporter. But I guess that’s the difference between me and Hana Mae Lee. If your taste in movies leans the way of laugh-out-loud musicals, you probably recognize the 29-year-old actress and model from her role as Lilly Okanakamura in the Pitch Perfect series. The night before our conversation, Lee celebrated the release of the franchise’s third installment alongside co-stars Anna Kendrick, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, and Rebel Wilson, though from the pep in her voice, you’d never know it.

You’d also never know from her eccentric onscreen character—a beatboxer with long black braids and a speaking voice so quiet her fellow Barden Bellas can never make out what she’s saying—that Lee is actually above average in loquacity, especially when the topic is makeup and skincare. The truth is that before she was known as entertainment's quirkiest a capella star, Lee was a professional makeup artist and fashion designer. She started booking professional makeup gigs in high school, first at department store counters and then on editorial photo shoots. Meanwhile, she launched a successful modeling career, appearing in campaigns for famed lifestyle brands from Jeep to Cherry Coke. She picked up a BFA in fashion design from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, where she grew up, and in 2009, she debuted her own clothing line, Hanamahn. Lee also designed for big fashion brands like Juicy Couture and Mossimo, and in the meantime, she maintained a long roster of makeup clients. This was all before Pitch Perfect was even a twinkle in Hollywood’s eye.

So it’s really nothing new for Lee to bounce between movies and cosmetics at such a fast clip. To my delight, our phone interview feels more like a conversation between two beauty-loving pals, and Lee is not shy to disclose the most interesting makeup and skincare tricks she’s picked up over the years (a few spoilers: facial acupuncture, using beet juice as an all-natural lip tint, and never spending more than $10 on mascara). Curious for more? Read on to get to know the real Hana Mae Lee (and her dozens of brilliant beauty secrets).