#Movies & TV

27 Shocking Secrets about the Pretty Little Liars Cast

by Morgan DeBoest

27 Shocking Secrets about the Pretty Little Liars Cast

Since it came on the air in 2010, Pretty Little Liars has been more than a TV show—it’s been an addiction. We can’t get enough of the Liars‘ killer wardrobes, the chemistry between them and their hot beaus, and the insane drama that’s been unfolding for four years. And the fandom doesn’t mess around—PLL fans film reaction videos for YouTube (that Shay Mitchell confesses to watching!), contribute to a PLL Wiki, and theorize about series-long plot lines. It’s taken the world by storm—and there’s so much you don’t even know! From casting dilemmas to the town that Rosewood’s based on, we’ve dug up the hottest secrets behind the cast and story of Pretty Little Liars.



Ashley suggested the theme song



Ashley Benson suggested using “Secret” by The Pierces as the theme song. As she told AOL TV, “I have to take some credit here, because I was the one who brought that song to the producers and told them ‘You have to have this as the opening credits song.’ … It’s just so spooky and eerie, and it’s perfect for the show.”


Alison’s the baby of the group



The youngest of the Liars is Sasha Pieterse—she’s only 19! And she was just 12 when she first auditioned for the show.


We might have fallen for a different Toby



Keegan Allen (Toby) originally auditioned for the part of Dr. Wren. Thank goodness he ended up playing Toby, because we get much more face time with his abs—we mean, eyes—this way.


Shay Mitchell, body positive superhero



Shay Mitchell started modeling in 2008 on Degrassi. She has struggled with body image—how could you not, being a teen in Hollywood? She told Self: “‘I’d starve myself for a day, and the next day I was hungry, tired, and miserable. When I felt so bad about not being able to fit into size 0 jeans, I realized I had to make a change.'”


Ashley & Lucy were in each other’s top 8



Ashley and Lucy met years before PLL began—on MySpace! Wonder if they had albums on albums of awkward digital-camera selfies and peace signs everywhere…


Shay Mitchell almost played Spencer



Back in 2009, Shay auditioned for the part of Spencer. We’re glad things worked out the way they did, though—Shay makes a perfect Emily.


Lucy’s not her real name



You read that right—Lucy Hale’s full birth name is Karen Lucille Hale. She also has gone by Lucy Kate Hale. Shay also changed her name; her birth name is Shannon Ashley!


Shay’s a blogger



Shay Mitchell and her bestie Michaela Blaney have a lifestyle blog called Amore & Vita (Love & Life). They post about travel, style, food, entertaining, and other lifestyle topics.


All the liars perform their own stunts



No stunt doubles here. Every Liar does her own stunt work—even the falls, Spencer’s church scene, and all that crazy graveyard running.


Cryptic Names



Alison’s last name “DiLaurentis” is an anagram of “Liars United.” Hmm…a little fishy, don’t you think?


Sasha didn’t want to be Ali



Sasha Pieterse first auditioned to play the role of Hanna—check out her audition tape here!


A is everywhere



There’s an A hidden somewhere on each Pretty Little Liars set that is created. Guess we’ll have to watch the series from the start (again)!


Troian’s a smarty-pants, too



Troian Bellisario was valedictorian of her high school class—which must make it easy to portray literal genius Spencer!


Emily’s parents need to switch it up



Totally weird fact about the character Emily Fields (played by Shay Mitchell): One of the nicknames her parents have for her (both in the books and on the show) is “Killer.” Spooky, right?


Yikes, Aria



Aria has cheated on every single boyfriend she’s been with during the show—Andrew, Noel, Jake, even Ezra. Yikes.


Pennsylvania’s famous town



The setting for Liars, Rosewood, Pennsylvania, is based on Rosemont, Pennsylvania. Rosemont is a pricey suburb located near Philadelphia. It also inspired the fictional Pine Valley, Pennsylvania, the setting for All My Children.


Pretty Little…Gilmores?



Apple Rose Grille—the restaurant the Liars frequent—was once Luke’s diner on Gilmore Girls. Though we can’t bear to think about the fact that Gilmore Girls is no more, we can at least take solace in the fact that parts of it are still there for us.


Always a teenager, never a 20-something



Bianca Lawson, who played Emily’s girlfriend Maya in the first two seasons of the show, has been playing a 16-year-old for the past 20 years. She’s also newly stepsister to Beyoncé and Solange Knowles!


Mother Jenna



Tammin Sursok (Jenna) was pregnant with her daughter Phoenix during the newest season and had to film around her pregnancy. Now that’s dedication!


Hitchcock is a major influence



Pretty Little Liars plays homage to Alfred Hitchcock multiple times, including the Noir episode. Says writer Joseph Dougherty in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter: “So much of the visual aspects of Pretty Little Liars comes from a place of respect for classic filmmaking: Hitchcock and the ’40s. We’re writers who pay back the debts to the writers…that made us turn into writers.”


Ashley Benson was in 13 Going on 30!



Ashley Benson was in 13 Going On 30. She played one of the mean Six Chicks (look for her in this clip!).


Emily’s bi?



Though we’re just glad her sexuality is dealt with so maturely and openly on the show, it’s worth noting that in the books, Emily is bisexual, not lesbian.


Author Sara Shepard made a cameo!



Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard actually appeared on the show once, as substitute teacher Ms. Shepard (sneaky) for Aria’s class in the episode “The Homecoming Hangover” in Season 1.


They don’t look like that in the books



None of the TV Liars looks anything like the character descriptions in Shepard’s books. If you haven’t read them—Aria has black hair and blue eyes, Hanna has auburn hair and brown eyes, Spencer has dirty blonde hair and green eyes, and Emily is a strawberry blonde with green eyes.


Ian Harding isn’t the oldest cast member



At 29, Troian Bellisario is the oldest Liar. She’s actually just 11 months older than Ian Harding, who plays Ezra Fitz.


Toby’s a hot cop—and photographer



In addition to being an actor, Keegan Allen’s also a photographer. He released a book of his photographs titled life.love.beauty in February 2015.


It’s all in the family



Betty Buckley, who plays Hannah’s sassy southern grandmother, is Pretty Little Liars director Norman Buckley’s sister in real life.