The star of Parks and Recreation and the upcoming Safety Not Guaranteed reveals the best way to approach her. Are you listening?
by Andrew Osborne
We caught up with Parks and Recreation star Aubrey Plaza at a screening of her new time-travel comedy Safety Not Guaranteed, for advice on time-travel dating, erotic role-playing, and how not to get shot down like Ryan Gosling. Safety Not Guaranteed comes out this Friday; you can watch a trailer here.
You play characters who can be sort of intimidating, and you recently made internet news when Ryan Gosling tried to approach you…
…so what would you say is the best way for people to approach you?
Just come up and slap me real hard in the face.
To get your attention?
Yeah. Just manhandle me. I need it.
What about your advice for approaching ladies in general? What's the trick?
Confidence. I think a little friendly aggression is necessary. I think girls like to know that the guy's just on point and knows what he wants. That's very attractive.
And what's the best way for a woman to approach a man?
Naked. I don't know — girls approaching guys? Guys should approach girls. Is that… am I not supposed to say that?
What would you say to Ryan Gosling right now if you had a do-over?
[long pause] "I'm so sorry. I don't know why we're here. This makes no sense to me. C'est la vie. Let's go eat pizza."
The internet is full of guys professing their love for you. What are your male fans like in person?
I don't know! I don't have any male fans in person. Where are they? Why are they hiding? No one ever professes their love for me. They're shy and afraid of me. I wish someone would just come up to me and grab my face and kiss me, but people are too chickenshit.
When this goes into print, you'd better be careful.
What's the most charming way a male fan has ever approached you?
The first boy who ever became my boyfriend — who I ever fell in love with — actually sang a song that he wrote for me in front of his parents and a bunch of people at an Irish pub when we were thirteen. That was how he asked me out. And that boy won a Tony for Spring Awakening a few years ago. That was magical.
Your upcoming film The To Do List — originally titled The Hand Job — stars you as a girl who's never done anything with a guy before and has to gradually learn everything, starting with a handjob. What advice can you give women who've never done more than kissing?
Treat it like a science experiment. Roll up your sleeves, put a hard-hat on, and just get in there and figure it out. With science.
Your costars in the movie include Alia Shawkat and Rachel Bilson. Who has the most obsessed fans?
Interesting question. I have no idea, but I do know that when we were filming the movie, paparazzi were literally following Rachel Bilson from her house to the movie set and waiting for her after every scene that she did. But there are a ton of obsessed Alia Shawkat fans out there, so it's probably a tie. They're a different kind of fan, but equally obsessed.
You’ve also got Andy Samberg, and Donald Glover. Who does better with women?
Hmm. I don't know, I can't answer that question.
Well, which one would be a better wingman for you at a bar?
Wait, if I was at a bar, trying to pick up — girls, or guys?
Why can't I have both? If I had Donald Glover in his Childish Gambino mode and Andy Samberg being adorable and sweet and making people laugh, it'd be the perfect combination, for me… to score… with… anyone. I'd be unstoppable.
Your character on Parks and Recreation, April, keeps her marriage fun by sometimes adopting the persona of one "Janet Snakehole." What do you think of role-playing in relationships?
In the bedroom?
I'm in favor of it. I mean, if both people want to play around with each other in that way, go for it. If one person wants to role-play and the other one doesn't, that seems like a bad combination.
Did you come up with Janet Snakehole, or was that a writer creation?
Well, the name was a writer creation, but I kind of added my own flavor to it. I think it was a collaborative kind of thing. But Amy [Poehler] wrote that episode, and she was kind of looking for — she knew I had this weird 1940s persona that I wanted to use, and so she pimped me out on that a little bit.
In Safety Not Guaranteed, your character responds to a personal ad that says, "WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me." If you had the ability to go back to any era, where would you take someone for the best possible date?
I would take the person to London, 1969, and we would go see Judy Garland do her last concert, and it'd be really awesome. And then we'd get married.
April on Parks and Rec has a pretty dry sense of humor. Is there anything you wouldn't be sarcastic about in real life?
Witches, because I don't want to be cursed to hell and have a black magic spell ruin me. Also, Nicolas Cage. I think he's amazing, and I'll never make fun of him and I'll see every movie he's in. So that's my answer. Witches and Nicolas Cage.
I just started dating a girl. She's a virgin, and I've more or less slept with an entire small town. How much should I tell her?
Draw her a book. Tell her in pictures only. Don't use words; use illustrations. Be as colorful as possible.
Depends on your past. Vary the level of detail accordingly.