Not Okay may center around Danni Sanders, a wannabe magazine writer who is launched into social media stardom after pretending to be a victim of a terrorist attack to cover up a separate lie, but somehow she's not the film's most insufferable character. That award goes to Colin, the Instagram fuckboy Danni is constantly trying to impress. He's the bleached blonde amalgamation of everything wrong with influencer culture, portrayed with the perfect level of cringe by internet boyfriend Dylan O'Brien. 

When he was approached for the role, the Teen Wolf star knew exactly who Colin was from personal experience. “When I was on a TV show, they would sometimes have these influencers come to set for promotional things, and I was just fascinated at the characters they put on. It was a Fortnite skin of tattoos, different-colored hair every day, talking with a blaccent even though they're just, like, white kids from suburban neighborhoods, you know?” Though Not Okay is largely satire, O'Brien says Colin couldn't be more real. “Look at Machine Gun Kelly,” O'Brien says with a laugh. “It's just hilarious.”

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While O'Brien has left Colin's platinum hair and fake tattoos behind him, they still share one thing in common: verified celebrity status. With 6.2 million followers on Twitter, O'Brien is no stranger to the ephemeral nature of fame. “I was just auditioning out of high school and overnight people started participating in my life in a way that they feel completely entitled to do so,” he says. Still, knowing that his popularity could plummet at a moment's notice doesn't scare the 30-year-old actor. In fact, he finds it “freeing.”

During a round of Inappropriate Questions, Dylan O'Brien spoke to Glamour about social media criticism, the relationship rules he thinks are bullshit, and whether or not Ross and Rachel were really on a break. Enjoy. 


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Glamour: One of the things the film captures really well is the way that we as a society catapult certain people into “fame” and then very gleefully engage in their downfall when they eventually do something wrong. Obviously, you came into fame very differently than Danni and Colin, but is that something that ever concerns you?

Dylan O'Brien: Concerns me? No. If anything, there's something really freeing in understanding that that's the science of it. It's a really good way of putting it, actually. You don't make yourself famous. I hate when people say to me, “Well, you chose this.” I was just auditioning out of high school and overnight people started participating in my life in a way that they feel completely entitled to do so. 

You're so right, people can catch fire and we put them on this pedestal only to start criticizing them for being human in any way. We are in some type of accountability era, thank God—no, not thank God, thank women. [Laughs.] I've just started replacing [that phrase] because that's just my own personal thing, but fans have no accountability. They'll flip-flop or whatever. They're just there to pile on as if they're fucking perfect, you know what I mean? I do think it is really interesting.

Do you think about that before you post on Twitter? Is there that pressure?

I do and I don't. I'm definitely conscious of how my words could affect other humans, and then I always go back and forth and then go, “Fuck it.” Sometimes I'm more impulsive and emotional than others, and then sometimes I'm like, “Who gives a fuck what I think?” 

Obviously, I am not somebody who posts all the time. But this is what's hilarious about people too, like, if I post something long-winded and thoughtful about something that I'm actually caring about and thinking about, they'll just be like, “Oh, shut the fuck up. You don't know anything.” And it's like, well, you're right. It's just my feelings; you don't have to listen to me.

And then if I post something brief, they'll be like, “Classic! Just getting away with two words!” You're never right, so it doesn't matter. I'm not trying to be right or trying to get anyone's approval. I think, genuinely, sometimes when things happen that I'm so distraught by, I will just emotionally let something out in a post. The irony is it's not righteous—they're making it righteous. I'm just a person posting like everyone else is. And I also do it one percent of the time. Everyone's like, “Oh, classic celebrity.”

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Moving on to our inappropriate questions, let’s start out safe. Which character that you’ve played in the past is the most like you?

They're all, for the most part, pieces of me. Knee-jerk reaction, I always really related to my character in a movie called Love and Monsters named Joel. There's a large chunk of him that is like very me as a kid, you know? And then I think I always really understood Stiles from Teen Wolf. I have humor like he does, but I think he's actually more confident than I am.

And the least like you?

I mean, maybe Colin? Colin! 

Did you at least like the blonde? 

I enjoyed it when I had it. When I was first going to do it, I was like, “I can't believe I'm gonna fucking be bleached for a month. This is gonna be insane." I also had to shave my arms for the fake tattoos, which was weird. But I ended up enjoying them both. No, I'm kidding. I didn't enjoy the arms thing, but I had a blast with the blonde thing. It was fun.

What’s your favoriterom-com?

Can I choose multiple? 10 Things I Hate About You, Clueless, Never Been Kissed. I can't really decide between the three. 

What’s a dating or relationship rule you think is bullshit?

I guess the guy paying or having to be the first to text or initiate anything. There's the term “old-fashioned” that I think romanticizes that idea, but I just think it's entrenched in dated misogyny. I will go for it, obviously, but if they're going to pay or they beat me to it or insist, I'm not going to be emasculated. 

Also, makingthe move. I hate that. I think that is so uncomfortable. Having to read the moment…I much prefer to ask if I want to kiss somebody. You know what's sexy? Communication. [Laughs.] Clear communication. Not surprising someone with a kiss when maybe they don't fucking want to or they're not ready or not feeling it. 

I will say that my crush, like a few months ago, did kiss me, like, midsentence, and it was really cool. But that's a very specific situation. So I do get the flare of it, but for the most part, an even playing field is more comfortable…and not surprising women with kisses.

Do you think it’s like a “read the room” thing?

I don't trust most men to read the room.

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You have a full day to binge-watch whatever you want. What are you watching?

I like dirt trash reality TV. When I say “dirt trash,” that's just the genre, I don't mean that it's actually garbage. For me, Vanderpump Rules is like TheGodfather: Part II. I'm not kidding.

If I'm gonna go nostalgic or something, it's Friends. I know it's so dated and problematic in so many ways, but it reminds me of like my mom and my sister. This is why it means so much to me: When we moved from New Jersey to California when we were kids, we were miserable and didn't have any friends. So, when my mom was like, “What do you want for Christmas?” My sister was like, “Friends, mom, I want friends!” So, as a joke, she got us the first couple seasons of Friends on DVD, and then it became our thing to go through them and get the new season the next year. 

Who is your favorite movie or TV couple?

There's Ross and Rachel if I'm going for my kid self. We had so many terrible influences in the ’90s. It's so funny to think that as kids were looking at Ross and Rachel like, “What a healthy couple!” So toxic, so toxic.

Were theyon a break?

No, they weren't on a break! Like no, you just don't, like, fuck someone that night. It's insane. Again, Ross is one of the most toxic characters, like, of all time, of all time. 

What’s the weirdest thing you do in your alone time?

I don't know. What's weird? Work out in my underwear? But that's not weird…pick my nose? That's not weird either. Let's eradicate the nose-pick stigma. I think the world is literally just an overpopulation of humans walking around just pretending like they don't pick their noses. 

You stop at a convenience store on the way to a party. What are you picking up?

What's funny about this one is this is actually something that I do often and as a joke. I'll go get party hats and little plastic sunglasses or those little blower things and bring them to a wrap party to make people more comfortable. It's like a little disguise and then people are more likely to, like, dance and it becomes a fun thing.  

Then I do this thing with one of my friends every year—I don't know when this started, but I go to a gas station on the way to her birthday party and just get her a bunch of gifts and pretend I didn't just get them from a gas station. But they're things like a flyswatter and then they become like characters at the party. Everyone's got the flyswatter at some point and it's fun. 

Do you believe in astrology?

The thing that I think is cool about astrology is how it can influence you to think or consider something about yourself that maybe you otherwise wouldn't have or take a chance that you otherwise wouldn't. I've fully made decisions just because someone at a party did my chart and put this thought in my head. And then, since that seed was planted, I was like, “Oh, I'll take this path.” So that part of it is actually pretty cool. 

I don't love people going, “What's your sign?” And I say Virgo, and they're like, “Oh…” You don't fucking know me! [Laughs.]

You canwatch Not Okay on Huluright now.Emily Tannenbaumis an entertainment editor, critic, and screenwriter living in Los AngelesFollow her on Twitter@ectannenbaum.