Laura Marano encourages teens to stop texting and driving in the cutest way possible
Laura Marano is having a big year. No sooner did she wrap up the final season (tears!) of Austin & Ally than she won the award for Favorite TV Actress at the Kids Choice Awards. And, as fans of the show know, she’s got a great voice — and she just signed with Taylor Swift’s record label. Amazing!
Laura’s not spending all her time celebrating and gadding around, though. She recently partnered with DoSomething.org and Sprint for the Thumb Wars campaign, which encourages teens to talk with their friends about not texting and driving.
Here’s the deal: If you sign up at ThumbWars.org, you’ll receive two free pairs of Thumb Socks in the mail. Keep one pair for yourself and share the other with someone you want to encourage to stop texting and driving. Talking about something that’s so prevalent can be hard, but it’s worth it when texting and driving leads to so many accidents. According to DoSomething.org, texting drives are 23 times more likely to get in an accident than those who abstain. Laura’s kind and cheerful spirit matches so perfectly with the ThumbWars campaign!
We caught up with Laura to find out about Thumb Wars, her Harry Potter obsession, and cases of mistaken identity. Check out her PSA at the end!
HG: Thumb Wars is such a cool project! What made you want to get involved?
LM: There were a few things. One, let’s be honest, I would say most of my friends text and drive. Not only that, I would say most people, unfortunately, text and drive. I think that all these truthful commercials that have the statistics and the sad accidents that happen, they have that kind of scary, sad, tone that people ignore. I think what DoSomething does — and Thumb Wars definitely is an example of this — is they create a really fun atmosphere for inspiring teens to not only do charity or volunteer, but also to be a part of really important campaigns. Thumb Wars is such a cool, peer-inspired campaign. You get these socks, and they’re freaking adorable, and you send them to your friend, and you guys wear them, and you guys get to take really adorable photos with them, and you actually can also win a $10,000 scholarship with your photo, which you know, hello, as a teen going to college that’s very helpful!
HG: Yeah, totally. So it’s more like a peer-to-peer thing that seems more relatable. When you have actual thumb wars, do you fight fair or do you lift your elbow off the table?
LM: Okay, so when I have thumb wars, I don’t fight fair because I don’t even use a table. When you don’t use a table it’s like, going down. I do thumb wars in the air, which is the least fair thing you can do. But I will say I’m a ferocious thumb war fighter.
HG: You gotta be!
LM: Gotta be, man. Lord knows I can’t arm wrestle, because I have no strength. It’s all I have is, like, I played piano for years, so I have some sort of strength in my thumbs.
HG: Absolutely. Okay, so it was recently International Best Friends Day. Who is your best friend, or who is on your best friend tier? Did you talk to them for the holiday?
LM: Actually one of my best friends, who I work with — and it’s actually very cool I get to work with my best friend — Raini Rodriguez posted an adorable photo with her and Ashley Argota. Definitely they are two of my closest friends. I’m also lucky to say my sister is one of my best friends. When we were younger, we weren’t that close, because I was just a really annoying young sister, and she was like, “I don’t want my young sister to be involved with my life,” but then when I hit 11 in 6th grade we got so close and now she’s one of my best friends for sure.
HG: I thought you might say that. I have a younger sister and I feel exactly the same way. Do you think birth order affects personalities at all? Do you and your sister have any typical older/younger sibling traits?
LM: I definitely am very outgoing and I always want to hang out with her friends. Vanessa is definitely more reserved and like, “I am so much older and more mature than you are Laura, stop it.” … Actual funniest story of life. My sister is 22 and I’m 19. When she was 21, we were celebrating my dad’s birthday. My dad was like, “Oh Vanessa, you’re legal to drink, are you gonna drink some wine with us,” and Vanessa, was like, “Okay, why not.” So, the waiter comes over, and it’s just my mom, my dad, my sister and I, only four people. And the waiter’s like, “I’m so sorry, but my policy is we have to see your license beforehand.” My sisters like, “Oh no, that’s fine.” So she’s looking for her license, and she left her purse at our house. And he’s like, “I’m so sorry, it’s just our policy, we really need to see that.” So he looks at the table, and he’s like, so I’ll bring three wine glasses. We were laughing so hard, because he made such a big deal out of seeing her license, and then completely assumed I could drink, so it was amazing. I did not take the wine glass, but it was just so funny I could not even take it.
HG: You’re a Harry Potter fan, right?
LM: Oh yes, very much so.
HG: Have you heard about this fan theory that Dumbledore is actually Ron who has traveled back in time to save his friends?
LM: What? Okay, I’ve heard a lot of theories and I haven’t heard that one. How have I not heard that one? Oh my god, that’s crazy.
HG: It’s called “Ronbledore.” That’s the name of the theory.
LM: Oh my god. Sophie, you actually just blew my mind with that. You have to give me a second. Ron is Dumbledore.
HG: What’s your favorite YA novel universe right now? Like, Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Divergent, there’s all these cool adventure universes.
LM: I will always love the Harry Potter universe. I literally read the 7th book 8 times. I just reread them all the time. I just love it. But now the books I’m enjoying — I started the Jane Austen novels about 2 or 3 years ago.
HG: Oh my gosh! They’re so good.
LM: I’m obsessed with them.
HG: Which one do you like the most?
LM: Emma. You know, Pride and Prejudice is obviously such a classic, but even if I’m not like Emma, I’m just like, I’m so Emma today. I really like match-making people.
HG: That’s so funny. One of my other questions was about which Bennett sister you relate to.
LM: Oh my god, that’s amazing. I’m going to say Lizzie. I mean, I definitely think I see myself in the other sisters. I see some of myself in Jane, and, I mean, slightly a little bit in Mary, but I mean Lizzie… I’m definitely that outgoing, I say what I feel, I don’t care if you don’t like it [kind of girl]. Lizzie’s such a romantic, too.
HG: Yeah, oh my gosh. So, you like Emma, so have you watched and loved Clueless?
LM: Um, YES.
HG: The main character, who is like modern-day Emma, really could have used a reminder from thumb wars not to talk on the phone and like be an inattentive driver.
LM: Very true! And she didn’t get her license because of it. So can we all notice that and see that?
HG: So would you modify one of your Thumb Wars statements for Clueless?
LM: Yes! For Clueless? Oh my god, that’s hilarious.
HG: Yeah, what would you say if you were talking to Cher?
LM: Okay, like, totally, Cher, you need to like put these really adorbs thumb socks on your thumbs, so you can totally like not talk and text on your phone, because HELLOOO when you’re driving, you need to focus on the road, and not your phone, k?
HG: So perfect. That’s a perfect way to wrap this up. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
(Images via here and DoSomething.org)