As with most successful child stars, that one role they played when they were simultaneously awkward and super-cute will always be the way the general public sees them. But while Abigail Breslin's Oscar-nominated role in Little Miss Sunshine as the uncomfortably sexualized pageant star Olive Hooper may very well follow her throughout her career—after all, the image of a 10-year-old gyrating to "Super Freak" tends to stick with you, whether you want it to or not—her most recent projects may just be her most captivating.
In the past year alone, Breslin has played an avenging murderess in Final Girl, wrote a book, This May Sound Crazy, and is at the pink fur-filled helm of television's controversial comedy, Scream Queens. Still, Breslin has managed to stay out of mass media's tight, warping grasp—aside from the time that she came to Selena Gomez's defense, that is—and so while it may sound cliché, she's a surprisingly normal 19-year-old. One who just so happens to be obsessed with boys and has an overwhelming penchant for using emojis and the word "like."
We caught up with Breslin, dressed her up as some of her favorite emojis (because why not?), and asked her to give us some dating advice. And, like, it was really great.
Click through the gallery to read the entire interview.
Sweater by Equipment.
What motivated you to write a book in the first place?
Well, I started my Tumblr blog when I was 16 basically because my friends were getting annoyed with me for constantly calling them about my emotions. They were being like, "Abby, you gotta stop." One of my friends told me that I had to write it down and stop being so stressed. So, I started a Tumblr blog and after a couple of days of posting blogs, people were messaging me and being like, "Wow, I’m going through the exact same thing right now with a guy," and it made me feel like, "Oh wow, I’m not insane, friends." And it was great and I just kept writing. And about a year ago, I got a call from a book agent asking if I wanted to write a book. And I was like, "I’d love to, but I have no idea what I would ever write about." She said to write like my blog. And now I have a book out which is just the most random thing in the world to me.
And how long were you working the book?
It took about a year from start to finish. It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I also procrastinate so heavily. I’m like, I’m gonna go write at this coffee shop for a bit! And then I go and I’m like, Hmm, that guy is so cute, and then I try and talk to him and then I make a fool of myself and I have to leave! So, I just don’t get it done.
So, what’s the worst social-media site for dating, do you think?
I think Tinder is weird. I mean I just think that is so weird. Nobody knows this—I got it for a half-hour. And it was sad for me because I don’t know what I was thinking and what was going on in my head. I was mad at a guy and I was like, "I’m getting Tinder!" And I got it, and I matched with a couple of guys. And then one guy like asked me out and for some reason I was like, "Yeah, let’s do it!" And then I realized—I got really paranoid—that I don’t know who that person is, and, Why would he ask me out right away? What is this? This is scary! So, I deleted the whole app. This guy was thinking I was going to meet up at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday and I never did, and I feel bad about that.
That’s hilarious. Tinder dates are always really weird.
My friend like only exclusively dates Tinder guys, and then she calls me like two weeks into it and she’s like, "I love him! The best I’ve ever met!" Then she calls me up and she’s like, "You'll never believe it! Adam, from Tinder, has a baby!" And I’m like, "Wow, that’s horrible I’m really sorry." And she’s like, "You know, I really thought that he was the one." And then two weeks later she’s like, "Jake, from Tinder? He’s going to war!" So, that’s why I’m a little bit hesitant of Tinder now. Like, maybe you need to meet people outside of Tinder—for a day.
What’s a good rule for text ratio? I’m not a big believer in the “don’t double text.”
I don’t mind. I love getting eight texts immediately because I just send what I’m sending, like ahahahah, emoji, emoji, in different messages. If it’s one message in multiple texts—that’s okay. But if you send like a huge paragraph, I think that’s a lot more intense. And you look at it and it’s overwhelming! It’s like, "Oh my god, I have to read this now." I’m a big triple texter; I send like a billion things and a ton of emojis.
Let's say you text someone and they don't text you back, so you text them again, or you get multiple texts over a long period of time without a response...
No, no. You gotta stop texting him. I’ve had this problem so many times where I like text and then like an hour later I’m like, "Hey, I’m really sorry if that was weird," even if it was just like "Hey, what’s up?" But then I’m like, "I’m sorry if that was too intense like I don’t want you to feel obligated like you have to talk to me. I just like talking to you and...but please don’t feel like you have to text me. I don’t want to annoy you." And then they’re usually weirded out as hell, and they’re like, "Umm okay she’s a stage-five clinger," and then they send something back like, "Oh no, I’m sorry I was working." And then they’re working all the damn time. And then you’ve just ruined everything.
That’s why I just hate dating in so many ways, because it’s all about the anxiety if he’s going to text me. Because if you text him first, you just feel like you’re annoying him and he’s only texting you because you text him. I don’t understand why guys just can’t, like, text you all the time and tell you that they love you. What’s so hard? I’m constantly saying to everyone I like, "Why are you not obsessed with me yet? I just wanna know, what did I do wrong?" They’re like, "We met last night." Like, "I know! It’s been ample time! I feel really close to you!"
You probably both Googled each other already.
How’s Sadie your sister? And he’s like, "Whoa. Okay." I one time made the huge mistake of friending this guy's mom on Facebook. I don’t know what was going on in my head. But I was like, "Oh your mom’s so sweet! I’m gonna friend her." I look back on it because I’m still friends with her on Facebook, and not him. I don’t even know her name—it’s like Jan or something.
Sweater by Vince.
How do you make cheesy pickup lines work over text?
I think that’s almost better, if it’s really, really cheesy. You gotta admit to it. And then put in parentheses: "LOL my attempt at being a romance leader of our generation," or something. And I could put an emoji. Forever. And like, "#blessnotstress." Like, you gotta make it really funny. Like, I would text something and think, Uh, what’s a cheesy pickup line that’s like used a lot?
"You’ve been running through my mind all day."
Yeah, and then I’d put the prayer hands and the running man [emojis]. And then I’d say, "Guess which pickup line this is. If you get it right, we can hang out tonight." And then put in parentheses: "Actually, it doesn’t really matter if you’re right or wrong, we can still hang out tonight is what I’m getting at." And then they’re like, She’s chill, she’s joking. You need to act like it’s actually romantic.
Do you normally wait for someone to text you first?
I try to follow the 10:1 rule—it’s in my book, there’s a chapter about it—that my friend Nick Simmons told me to do. And it’s like, the guy needs to text you first 10 times, and initiate it. That’s very hard to do. Like 10 times in a row? No. Anyone's gonna get sick of that. So I usually do five, or four, or three. Sometimes it just depends on how much I like them and want to hang out with them. And you also kind of vibe it from situation to situation. But generally, I feel like you should just go for it.
And what’s a good first-date option if you don’t know the person very well?
Well, dinner is a lot to commit to. Coffee is very casual—too casual. A movie, you don’t talk. And drinks are lame. When my friends are like, "I’m going out for drinks with a guy," I’m like, "No, don’t do that. That’s not cute." I would say do something that’s like food, but not like crazy. Like, go to a bakery or a café, but not just like a coffee café. And be like, "You have to try these rainbow cookies"—bring it up in conversation beforehand. Be like, "Hey know what I was craving today? I think I’m going to go over there, wanna join?" Just like super-chill, and there's an out. You don’t have to commit to two hours of sitting there if you don’t like the person. That's super-awkward.
Have you ever been in a situation where you're stuck at dinner with someone and it becomes unbearable?
What’s your excuse?
I made the fatal mistake and I was going, and literally knowing in my head as I was going down the elevator, this it was a really bad idea. So, immediately—this is awful, this poor guy—I went back up to my place and changed into sweatpants, UGGs, and a sweater, and went to the dinner [dressed] like that. And he was in a leather jacket and it was a candle-lit scenario. I don’t know why I acted like that, but I knew that it was going to be bad. I didn't like him, and I shouldn’t have said yes. He was like, "You...look...uhh...really great." And I’m just like, "Yeah, you know, kind of tired today, and I actually need to go. I have schoolwork." The poor guy. And then the next time he asked me out, I was like, "My feet hurt. And they’re gonna hurt tomorrow, too." I was mean.
There's not really an easy way to let someone off, especially before you're actually "together" in some way.
You gotta do the friend call! Have a friend call you, and that you can text, and be like, "OMG no way! I’m so—oh my god, hold on—I’m at this thing right now that I can't leave... Do you really? No, I’ll just have to tell him I can't—I’ll just—no I’m going to have to stay." And he’ll sit there and be like, "Her poor friend." Just make up something crazy, like your friend's boyfriend's leg just got severed by their lawnmower.
John's going to war.
Yeah, really! "And I just feel really bad because, like, she just moved here for him and she’s from Jamaica, and she doesn’t know anybody else but I told her that I was committed to this.” And then they’ll feel bad if they’re normal. And then I’ll be like, "Thank you so much! I’m just really caught up in my friend's situation; I can’t get into any relationship." Boom!
In your book, you explain how to flirt when you're someone who doesn’t like to talk about themselves. What's your advice for someone who is like that?
Well, I’m like the worst flirter on the face of the Earth. I have no game, and so it’s very hard for me to get my friends' advice for what to say. I always go to three people, and I'm like, "What do I say in this text?!" If you’re having your friends text for you, then the other person is going to meet you in person and be like, "Whoa, you’re nothing like how you sound." So, my thing is that you should just own it no matter what. And be like, "I am very not good at being flirtatious."
It’s hard, I get yelled at so often by my squad. I’ll say things so often that are really not okay to say. There’s a fine line between being like, "Hey, what’s up today?" and being like, "Hey, what’s up? I just stepped in my cat’s hairball. How’s your day going?" It's not funny and not cute. Or when you accidentally pull out a hair extension and you’re like, "Wanna keep it?!" I’m like, "It’s a joke." You need to filter yourself. Give it a solid 20 minutes before you send what you think is funny and think it over. I find it hard to give flirting advice because I suck at it so much.
No, this is what everyone goes through.
I don’t know how my friends do it sometimes, because they’re like, "Okay, if you guys kiss you need to say something like, 'That was so good,' and pull away and be really into the sweet moment of it." And one time I was with a guy, and he was leaning in but I was mid-bite, and [I took the food out of my mouth] and he kissed me and then I was chill, but then I pulled away and, like an idiot, instead of being smiling and cute I was a creep. Like what is going on with this girl, why is she so weird?! But, he didn’t mind it. But I was like, That happened...
Well, it's more interesting than saying, "Hey, what’s up?"
Yeah! Say something that’s funny, or send a picture or something. I don’t know, you gotta think about it. And I think people appreciate the thought—that’s my thing. So, I send pictures of hedgehogs. They’re a really good convo starter. Have you ever thought about what it’s like to hold a hedgehog? Bet you haven’t until now. Now you can’t stop thinking about it.
Do you have any other dating wisdom that you wanna impart?
Well, going back to having to leave a date, the other thing you can also do in a way that’s a little bit nicer in the longrun—instead of lying about your friend in Jamaica who doesn’t exist... I think that when you’re on a date and you don’t like it, the chances are the other person is also feeling weird and you can just say something like, "I’m really into this, but is it me or are we just not vibing right now?" And then laugh it off and be like, all right, well...
Hope you have a great life.
Yeah! Or you could just be like, "Shall we just skip this meal and go get food that we like? Separately?" I feel like in the long run, if you’re honest, it’s a better way of doing things. But it’s also a lot easier to just lie about it. And then you can go get pizza with your friend from Jamaica who’s not really from Jamaica. I don’t know why I told you Jamaica. Or you can go have jerk chicken, so it’s not completely a lie.