The level of Pretty Little Liars obsession runs pretty high in this corner of the Lucky offices. So when Special Projects Director Laura Morgan asked if I’d be interested in talking to Troian Bellisario—who plays the smart, scheming Spencer on the hit ABC family drama—about her new project, Lauren, I couldn’t hide my enthusiasm.
After all, PLL isn’t just a soapy, snappy whodunit, it’s also a fashion junkie’s wonderland. (There’s a prep, a label whore, a wild child—which means there’s a look to keep every eye occupied.) I spoke with Bellisario about her on- and off-screen style, as well as her more dramatic turn as Lauren, a US soldier in Afghanistan dealing with a sexual assault. Heady stuff, but the actress seems to be able to keep ALL of it—the silly and the serious—in perspective.
Lucky: Lauren is wildly different from Pretty Little Liars. What drew you to this project?
Troian Bellisario: I think it was just that. I came from a theater background, and I wrote, produced and acted in my own short last year. Pretty Little Liars has been an incredible experience, but it’s more about hyperrealism and fantastical stakes. As an actor I really want to be challenged, and I thought that this was a story that needed to be told. It spoke to me not just as an actor, but also as a person.
Wardrobe must have been a little different.
It was heaven. I’m not a glamorous girl. I don’t know how to do my hair. I’m very bad with makeup. One of the least creative things to happen on set is to have somebody come in and spray your hair in the middle of something. It’s like, "dude, I just need to focus on this scene." One of the most incredible parts of working on Lauren was that someone would give me a sunburn in the morning—maybe a little bit of sweat—and that was that. Nobody fixed my wardrobe, or my hair, through the day. It’s an actor’s dream. Wardrobe and makeup are so important, but it can hold you back when you’re trying to focus on a scene.
What do you like wearing when you’re not working? Does your boyfriend (Suits star Patrick J Adams) have a say in what you wear?
He’s very funny, and very interested in what I wear. He accuses me of dressing like a little boy. I’d wear all of his clothes if I could. When I show up to do dinner wearing a dress, he’s like, "Oh my gosh, you look like a lady!"
My own wardrobe is half borrowed, half stolen from my friends, completely thrift shopped. I’m such a bad shopper—it’s such a high stress situation. Shay [Mitchell, who plays Emily on PLL] took me shopping and forced me to try on clothes. Other than what shay convinced me to buy, everything I own I’ve had forever.
Has his interest in fashion has grown since the beginning of Suits?
Definitely. He’s become a clotheshorse. He’s really inspired me to step-up my game.
Do you play a role in putting together Spencer’s wardrobe? How much do your real-life wardrobes influence the characters on PLL?
For me, I think a lot. I can’t actually speak for the other girls—well, Shay is the girl who comes to work in heels and beautiful, flowing dresses, and [her character] Emily is more of a tomboy. But Shay has influenced Emily’s style: now it’s a bit edgier, more goth, not just jeans and t-shirt.
I know for me, I have a strong opinion about what Spencer wears. When we started, she was very, very conservative. Now I’ll suggest a little bit of a darker color, or a little bit of a punky edge.
You’re bound to be doing more red carpet events as your career ramps up. Any designers in particular that you’d love to wear?
Watch Pretty Little Liars tonight at 8PM on ABC Family. And see very episode of Lauren on Watchwigs.com.
Photo: ABC Family
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