Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars
Everybody has secrets, just ask Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario and Shay Mitchell, stars of Pretty Little Liars


Pretty Little Liars is a new ABC Family series starring Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Troian Bellisario and Shay Mitchell, playing four 16-year-old girls who get into a whole lot of trouble because of all their secrets.

But it’s no secret now that the adult-styled teen drama (akin to Gossip Girl) is a rock solid hit. It broke the top ratings record for its launch on the “family friendly” cable network. Some critics have noted the problems the girls have to deal with may be considered inappropriate for kids younger than tweens. Remember this is the network that turned a series about teen pregnancy, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, into a hit. ABC Family obviously loves secrets and liars.

The drama starts out with the estranged “best friends forever” reuniting a year after the disappearance of the leader of the group Alison (Sasha Pieterse). The girls begin receiving unsettling text messages from “A” that suggests she is watching them. And worse than that, the anonymous “A” knows all their secrets. Then Alison’s body is discovered, yet the mysterious texts keep on coming, with the threat that the truth might come out and ruin their lives forever.

Some have said that the show follows in the footsteps of the teen-scream flick I Know What You Did Last Summer, or called it a teen-angst version of Desperate Housewives, along with the intrigue of Gossip Girl. But it is an original show based on the popular series of Pretty Little Liars novels by Sara Shepard.

The cast of Liars includes Ashley Benson (Eastwick) portraying Hanna, who seems to inherit the “queen bee” position in the group. Lucy Hale (Privileged) plays Aria, Troian Bellisario (Navy NCIS) as Spencer, and Shay Mitchell as Emily. Rounding out the cast is Laura Leighton (Melrose Place), Bianca Lawson (The Vampire Diaries), Ian Harding (NCIS: Los Angeles), and Sasha Pieterse (Heroes) seen in flashbacks as Alison, as the mystery unfolds.

Blonde and beautiful Ashley says, “The show’s about juicy secrets and the lies that we tell. The pilot starts out where we’re four best friends who’ve come back together after our friend Alison goes missing. We start receiving messages that threaten to reveal all of our secrets that could ruin our lives. But we also deal with real life issues and there are love stories as well.”

Revealing things about her character, Ashley says, “Hanna is the popular girl, but she’s really insecure and acts out to try to get attention. She wants to feel loved by her parents. At first she seems really rude towards the other girls and just doesn’t care. But you’ll see as we progress in the series, we become closer. We start trusting each other.”

She says it’s cool to see that, and the relationship between the best friends builds up again, so they can help each other with all the problems they have to face.

In real life does Ashley have a circle of friends who share her secrets?

The 20-year-old actress (who honed her dramatic skills as a teenager on Days of Our Lives from 2004-07, playing Abby Deveraux), reveals, “Yes. I have a very small group of friends, just because I think it’s better that way. We tell each other a lot. We confide in each other. Nothing serious, but it’s always good to have those close girlfriends or guy friends you can put your trust in and tell them what’s going on with your life.”

It was important for Ashley to read the popular Pretty Little Liars books to research her character and find out how things will play out on the show. She says, “When I first got the show, my character was described to me as, ‘she’s the popular, queen bee, it-girl of the school.’ I didn’t know that she was once heavier, and she struggles with an eating disorder. She was unpopular. So it was really helpful to find that out in the books.”

Ashley found the books to be “really cool,” and it was helpful for her to read what’s going to happen. But she insists that there will be surprises, and not everything in the books is going to play out the same in the scripts.

 “It’s awesome that you can get an insight into your character and how they feel about everything. It helps me as an actress. But for fans of the books, we have a few more secrets we hope you’ll enjoy,” Ashley says about the Pretty Little Liars.

Tune in, and let us know who’s your favorite “Liar.”

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to have been half of the husband & wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who had written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 38 years.