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The songwriter and actress says the tight-knit cast keeps in touch through a "text train"

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May 15, 2015 09:45 PM

When it was time to say goodbye to her beloved Bellas, Pitch Perfect 2 star Ester Dean got a beary inspired idea.

“I went to Build-a-Bear and I made Build-a-Bear Bellas!” Dean, 29, tells PEOPLE. “Our costume director gave me some fabric so that I could make gold bow ties for the bears. Those are my girls. That’s what it’s about.”

Dean was already an accomplished songwriter before signing on to play Cynthia-Rose Adams in both Pitch Perfect films, but the Oklahoma native said she found a home among the other actresses, who quickly morphed into close friends.

“There’s a lot going on, but everybody stays in touch,” she says. “We’ll keep a text train going and going. We’ll help each other, even if it’s an email or a text. It’s about staying close … Bellas for life, this is my real sorority.”

RELATED VIDEO: Ester Dean’s Pitch Perfect Broadway Dream

Dean, who penned hits including “Rude Boy” for Rihanna and “Super Bass” for Nicki Minaj, cops to watching Pitch Perfect in her spare time, and can’t help but get nostalgic when she sees her soul sisters on screen.

“It just feels like college memories, and I didn’t have those college memories. So I think I even kind of confuse the movie with real life because it was my real life,” she says. “I miss them all the time.”

In addition to the bears, Dean says she has another special memento from her time on the set of the sequel.

“For the wrap party, Anna Kendrick made us all Crazy Youngsters bracelets, gold bracelets,” she explained. (The bling is a nod to the song Dean contributed to the new movie’s official soundtrack.)

She also says Kendrick, whom she calls the “cutest thing ever,” didn’t skimp on the accessory.

“She got fancy, honey, she got fancy,” she says. “I love mine.”

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