Pretty Little Liars fans, we have some very intriguing information for you. Today on Byrdie, we released an exclusive interview and photo spread with Lucy Hale. (She looks stunning, by the way—see for yourself.) In the interview, she revealed her thoughts on body confidence, her decision to quit drinking, and, most importantly, her big career plans for after PLL ends with the series finale on June 20.
After seven seasons of playing the artsy, romantic Aria Montgomery, the end of PLL is bittersweet for Hale. "I love living with a character," she tells us. "It was very sad for me to say goodbye to Aria." At the same time, Hale is dead set on distancing herself from the character, maintaining that in real life, she and Aria are not the same person, despite what the fans may think. "It's funny, especially when you're a part of a culturally popular show and people see you every week on TV, they think they know you. They think you are that person," she says.
Hale describes how sometimes fans will see her on the street and ask why she isn't with Emily, Hanna, and Spencer. "Then they're like, 'Why aren't you dating Ezra?’ and I'm like, 'Well, he has a girlfriend, and his name is Ian, and we're just friends.'" Hale says the PLL fandom is so extreme that once, an employee at Starbucks wrote "Aria" instead of Lucy on the side of her cup (which the actress didn't exactly appreciate).
There's nothing that I wouldn't try.
As extreme as the fans' passion gets, Hale swears it's flattering and that it will be a "fun challenge" training them to see her in a different light. Her first move? Starring in a TV dramedy on The CW called Life Sentence, in which she plays Stella, a young woman who is diagnosed with terminal cancer only to find out she isn't dying after all and must reckon with a future she never planned for. The actress is also slated to begin filming a horror movie called Truth or Dare in June. (We can see Hale killing the horror genre.)
Of all her upcoming projects, Hale is arguably the most excited about a new television pilot she just filmed, which will hopefully get picked up in early May. "In this pilot I just did, I fell in love with the character; it was something so different," Hale tells us, adding that she's eager to do more projects that push the envelope. "I'm itching to do something insane and crazy," she continues. "There's nothing that I wouldn't try."
In the long term, Hale hopes to establish a career like Reese Witherspoon's, whom she calls her "idol." Hale says she also admires the roles that Jake Gyllenhaal chooses. "He commits so hard to every role he does that I believe him every time," she says. "He's so kooky and different." That's the reputation Hale hopes to earn.