I have been watching Pretty Little Liars for years, and I don’t think I ever thought the cast wasn’t perfect. Of course I really only cared for the story and could have cared less about what they looked like in each episode (but seriously, if y’all would like to film an episode where you walk around in sweats all day I would be perfectly fine with that). But apparently, even on a hit TV show where the entire cast looks like they’ve been pulled off a runway, societal pressures about appearance can be too much.
What does this picture tell you about Lucy Hale, who plays Aria on PLL?
Does it tell you her weight? Does it show you that she would go days without eating? Does it show her struggle with eating disorder and body-image issues? Thankfully the article inside the magazine sheds light onto her struggle, but look at just her image. Just the picture. Most people would see perfection. Perfect skin and hair. Beautiful facial structures. Flat stomach. The look people die for. But there was a time she did not even feel comfortable in her own body.
Well what about Troian Bellisario, who plays Spencer on PLL.
In an interview with Seventeen Magazine, she stated:
"Sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, like I don’t belong. I just look around at Lucy, Shay, and Ashley, and I’m just like, Why am I on this show? Sometimes I’ve felt like a fraud. Like, I’m not like these other girls– I don’t dress like that and don’t know how to do my hair. The minute I’m off that stage, I try to get as ‘me’ as possible. I do that by piling on my black eyeliner, and I put on my ripped tights. Dressing like myself again helps.”
“I started self-harming when I was a junior. I would withhold food or withhold going out with my friends, based on how well I did that day in school… I didn’t know what was right and what was wrong, so I think I created this bizarre system of checks and balances to create order in my world. But it really backfired.”
I think the best part of the ABC interview was when the reporter asked,
"Are you comfortable in your own skin now?"
"HA, no way."
This isn't something that truly goes away. It a struggle that will continually cause pain.
By the way: Shay Mitchell (Emily Fields) has also confessed to struggling with anorexia.
So what does this tell us? Even those we see on television and in magazines don’t feel that they fit the bill of perfection that we worship and adore in western culture. It’s sad but true.