Similarly, WhoHaha will not just be WhoHaha.com, but will also
exist on an array of social media. The idea mirrors Ms. Banks' own
do-it-all persona. As an actor, producer, director, wife and mom of
two, Ms. Banks said, "I thrive on being busy. That's a personality
trait I was genetically born with. People that are worried about
balance for me? You don't need to worry. I'm good!"
Socially speaking, she's active on all the major platforms. On
Facebook, she clocks more than 1.3 million fans; on Twitter, about
2.1 million followers; on YouTube, about 42,000 subscribers.
"I didn't have email until I was 19 or 20 -- that's crazy!" she
said. "We're now in the age where there's always been the internet.
It's not just me, everybody wants to get into the game of creating
content. We are creating and consuming content in new ways all the
time. That's what I do for a living, so of course I'm interested in
it. I'd rather be a pioneer and an innovator in the space than
continue to be that person who didn't have the internet."
As cliché as the word has become, "authenticity" has been
the driver behind the Elizabeth Banks brand. In recent years, she's
brought comedic charm to advertising for Realtor.com out of
Pereira & O'Dell, as well as spots for
Old Navy created out of Chandelier. In the case of the Realtor.com
ads, in which she plays an obsessed home buyer, "They are my
personality in an ad. When Realtor came to me, it just happened to
be at the beginning of my own personal home search. I was
legitimately obsessed with it and I'm literally negotiating on a
Elizabeth Banks just being herself in an ad for Realtor.com
out of Pereira & O'Dell
For Old Navy, she played a covetous clothes shopper who stalks
women over their cool buys. She liked the creative, and it felt
right to be part of an oeuvre that's featured talented comedians
like Melissa McCarthy, Amy Poehler and Julia-Louis Dreyfus.
Banks for Old Navy: "These pants are really speaking to me.
Can I look at the back?"
Her foray into Twitter was a matter of reclaiming her identity.
"I joined in such a random way," she said. While she was away on a
shoot, she received an email from a friend, director David Wain
("Role Models," "Wet Hot American Summer"), who had been staying at
her house at the time. "He emailed me to say, 'I'm following you on
Twitter and [you] just tweeted, "Sitting in my yard by the pool,"
and I'm sitting in your yard by the pool and you're not here.'"
Mr. Wain then negotiated with the imposter to give up the
account to Ms. Banks, who quickly took to the platform. "I got
connected to people really easily, authors that I would never meet,
other actors." It was through Twitter, for example, that the Green
Bay Packers landed a spot in an epic a capella showdown in "Pitch
Perfect 2." Ms. Banks had followed one of the players, David
Bakhtiari, who then DM'd her about getting a spot in the film, and
the rest is history.
Ms. Banks posts all of her own Instagrams and writes all of her
tweets, about 80% of which she posts herself and 20% of which her
team schedules. "Nothing gets tweeted that I don't see. With
Twitter, there are just certain things that are coming that I know
I won't be around to do -- like if I know Hillary's giving a speech
and I want to make sure we retweet it."
Playing in the digital space, she believes, has truly boosted
her career and allowed her to take the reins of her brand. "I
really like having an outlet for my voice," she said. "The whole
'you do you' takes a lot of anxiety out of being a celebrity.
Before social media, your image was not controlled by you
necessarily, and I feel really lucky that I exist in a time when I
have way more control over my image, even in just being able to
correct people's ideas about me and being consistent in who I
'Just a Little Heart Attack' for the American Heart
Association, one of the online films that propelled Banks to
"My career is directly impacted by social media," she added. "I
got to direct a major motion picture because I made smaller media
online." Prior to her big-screen directing debut, Ms. Banks
directed "AIDS! We Did It!" an exclusive video for FunnyorDie that
imagined the post-AIDS world, and "Just a Little Heart Attack," a
humorous yet serious film about women's heart disease for the
American Heart Association. Now, she's set to direct "Pitch Perfect
3" and a reboot of the "Charlie's Angels" franchise, as well as
play the villain Rita Repulsa in the upcoming "Power Rangers"
"The idea of short-form media having a place to exist online
completely helped me have a directing career," she said. For her,
the online world is a "platform not just to experiment [with], but
to really express myself and to create consistency among all media,
so when you put it all together, you're like, 'Yeah, that's
Elizabeth Banks.' They're all a little funny, pretty sweet, a
little joyful, they all have a little bit of female empowerment in
them. That's the media I'm making."