You may recognize her as the younger version of Yara Shahidi’s character Natasha in The Sun Is Also A Star, but Anais Lee is no stranger to the camera. Born in Philadelphia with her twin sister Mirabelle, Anais Lee appeared in her first print advertisement at the bright young age of three-years-old and made her acting debut in 2013 after appearing in the film Blood Ties starring Clive Owens, Mila Kunis and Zoe Saldana.
Today, the 13-year-old actress is starring in one of Netflix’s latest additions, The Baby-Sitters Club, as Jessi Ramsey. Anais brings her natural charm, wit and sweet soul to her character in the latest iteration of Ann M. Martin’s iconic book franchise turned into a family-friendly TV series as the cast addresses 21st century topics including gender identity, racism, family hardships, and more.
We connected with the breakout teen via email to talk about all things natural hair, her experience on the new adaptation The Baby-Sitters Club, and her goals as an actress for the future.
We’re first introduced to Jessi Ramsey as one of the junior members of The Baby-Sitters Club in the ninth episode, “Hello Camp Moosehead! Part 1,” of the Netflix series when she auditions for the camp musical. Anais relates to her character through her passion for dance; Jessi is a ballerina where her real-life actress has been in ballet training since the age of two years old before her first modeling gig. “This role is combined by two of my favorite things; acting and dancing!,” she told HelloBeautiful excitedly about combining her two talents. “I have never had a role where my character is a dancer so this was such an amazing experience.”
Moreover, she continued to rave about being around other actors and actresses within her own age bracket. “I had an opportunity to act alongside other actors that are my age! It was so fun because we all bonded instantly, which made it easier to play best friends in the show,” said Lee about connecting with her castmates and their characters. The teenage actress continued to gush about what she loves about acting from developing long-lasting friendships with potential best friends to diving deep into the script and discovering who her character really is.
“My goal as an actress is to obtain a series-regular role. It has been my dream since I first started acting. Another one of my main goals is to work on a project with my identical twin sister, Mirabelle,” she shared about sharing the screen with her twin, who will be portraying Moriah in the upcoming film, Slapface. “The projects we have worked on together, we have shared the same role so we never had a chance to actually act together. I think it would be really cool to play a twin in a show.”
Anais and Mirabelle have been modeling long before acting came into the picture – no pun intended. For Anais, modeling isn’t just a job or a way to collect the checks, but it’s fun and exciting when she gets to try on new clothes, go to fittings and make the designer’s stylistic vision come to life. “My favorite modeling job is definitely Rookie USA fashion shows. My sister and I have been modeling in the shows for Levi’s, Hurley and Converse for 5 years and we love traveling the country, for each show. We always do a dance at the end of the runway. It’s fun coming up with new dances every year to perform on the runway,” Anais said to HelloBeautiful about the fun parts of her modeling experiences.
Off-screen and away from the runway, Anais prefers to keep her look cute, chill and sporty minimal. “A look that I have been loving recently is baggy pants with a tank top. I love layering necklaces, finding a cool belt, and then finishing the look with a shoulder bag. Since the pandemic and staying at home, I’ve developed a new sense of style so it’s been fun updating my wardrobe,” she told us about her current style status.
When it comes to her full head of beautiful hair, I had to ask how she and her mother had created the perfect style routine for that full head of hers. On the contrary, Anais’ father was the one responsible. “When I was younger my dad actually did my hair and even though he had straight hair, I still think he did a pretty good job. As I got older, I started watching curly hair videos to try to improve my hair care routine,” she told HelloBeautiful about taking over the reins of her own tresses. “I started using products with no silicones and sulfates and it has helped tremendously! I looked back on pictures of me with straight hair from back in September and that’s now my hair length curly!”
As she continues on her natural hair journey, Anais loves to learn as much about her own head as the days go by experimenting with braids and alternative ways to style her curls. When she’s not playing around with new looks, she loves to keep things simple as she does with her fashion – down and out. “It’s simple, yet it still looks nice! In the morning, I wet my hair and add leave-in conditioner, hair oil, and gel. After that, I let my hair air dry for a little and then I blow dry my hair,” Anais told HelloBeautiful about her natural hair care routine for a day on-the-go.
Now in her teen years and landing a role on a platform as large as Netflix’s, Anais is becoming a role model for young Black and brown girls. When we asked her about what advice she may have for any young girls who turn to her for acting and modeling advice, Anais advised to keep resilience and determination on the frontlines because everyone’s path to success is not the same.
“You will get a bunch of “no’s” but all it takes is that one “yes”. Everyone has a different experience. For some, it could be really quick for them to get their first role but for others it could take a long time. Both of these are completely okay! Your perfect job or role will come, it’s only a matter of time. If you give up, you never know what you might be missing out on. For every “no” that I have gotten, I have just pushed harder and I am grateful for every opportunity,” she advised younger HelloBeautiful readers.
When it comes to self-esteem and inner beauty, the young actress is wise beyond her years as well and proved so after leaving this sound advice for HelloBeautiful. “My advice for girls who may not like the way they look is to embrace yourself for who you really are. Everyone is beautiful in their own way. Every person was born gorgeous and unique in their own way! You can’t compare yourself to people on social media because you never know what’s real and what’s not. Embrace your true self and remember that you are beautiful no matter what!,” Lee concluded.