Ashley Benson’s Take On Gratuitous Nudity Makes Her Cosmo Cover Sweater Forgivable


I have a gigantic, all-consuming, unabashed love for Pretty Little Liars. Even though this season kind of sucks, and even though I really resent all the Ravenswood crossover, and even though the writers took Caleb away, and even though it seems like the four main actresses might be outgrowing the show, I love it. After every episode, I hit up Tumblrs (Pretty Little Secret Hints is my fave) that analyze every single frame and every line of dialogue, and I love it. I will watch it until the very last little bit of A’s red coat is revealed and I will revel in every second of it because it’s pure, amazing, campy fun.

As an extension of my love for the show, I love the four actresses who star on it. Hannah was my least favorite character when I started watching, but I love her now (How many times will I put the word love into this post? KEEP READING). And, by extension, I have good feelings towards the actress who plays her, Ashley Benson. As cool as it is that she recently spoke out against the show for Photoshopping her, she sounds even cooler in her latest interview with Cosmo.

Ashley’s on the cover of the March 2014 issue of Cosmopolitan. Inside, she talks about the ridiculous wardrobes of the PLL girls, gratuitous nudity and drugs in Hollywood, among other topics. And yeah, this interview just made me love her a little bit more.

On nude scenes:

“I never want to do nudity that’s gratuitous. Girls look so much better in lingerie or a t-shirt and leave the rest up to the imagination. I make it clear that I have a line. Everyone tries to push you, and it’s easy to get talked into doing those things. I’ll just walk off-set. But not everyone realizes they can do that.”

While I don’t necessarily think nude scenes in TV or movies are always bad, I’m always interested in hearing the point of view of the actors and actresses who do them. It must be a weird situation to be in, no matter if you’re an up-and-coming actress or at the top of your career. Ashley sounds like she knows herself and her boundaries and I totally respect that.

Here’s what she had to say about the crazy getups the characters on PLL wear:

“The thing I always make fun of is the wardrobe. Really, do you think anyone would actually wear full hair and makeup and 6-inch heels to school? I was 13 when I was last in school, and I never wore makeup. I wasn’t allowed. Now [girls are] all wearing heels and makeup and getting their hair done, so I’m not sure it’s us influencing girls or that’s just the way it is now. If I had gone to high school, I would have rolled out of bed and showed up in sweats. I mean, I want to work with Woody Allen; that’s one of my goals. And every film he does, the wardrobe is so simple, no makeup or hair, and that’s what I love in a movie—a natural human being, not dressed to the nines, false lashes, all done up.”

While her Woody Allen love could be construed as questionable, I’m so glad to hear someone from the show talking about the pure insanity of the girls’ outfits. I mean, Pretty Little Liars is in no way supposed to be realistic (and nor do I take it that way), but the clothes the characters wear are so over the top as to be a tiny bit shocking. I actually think maybe they’ve dialed it back a bit since the first season, but I sincerely hope no middle or high school girls out there are trying to emulate the way that Hannah, Aria, Spencer or Emily dress. Because they’d probably go broke doing it.

Let’s talk her cover outfit, though. While I don’t necessarily expect Cosmo to have anything particularly fashion-forward on their covers, I am looking kinda cross-eyed at Ashley’s ensemble, which I can only describe as “sorority pillow fight chic.” I mean…it’s a gigantic boyfriend sweater over the kind of bright satin-y bra I was desperate to wear in middle school, but didn’t really have the rack to pull off. And…no pants! The pretty floral dress she wears inside the magazine seems like it would have been way prettier for a spring magazine cover and considerably less “Frat boy fantasy of what girls wear to whach each other with pillows.”

Photo: Matthias Vriens-McGrath/Cosmopolitan

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    • Kaitlin Reilly

      Thank God Cosmo is covering the Sex Olympics this year…

      She seems pretty down to earth, which I like. She looks sort of purposefully disheveled on the cover, which I guess is what they are going for here.

    • Lindsey Conklin

      her eyes, her hair, the blue cover = awesome. But, meh, the cover is so boring to me.Hate the sweater

    • Joanna Rafael

      The PLL subreddit is the only subreddit i lurk. If you haven’t, I rec checking it out.

    • ScarletRegina

      You know about Pretty Little Liars Annotations, right? That Tumblr is amazing.

      I have a major girl crush on Ashley.

    • Jayjay

      I love PLL too :) and I love that Ashley Benson appeared in How I met your mother.

    • LynnKell

      Something that has always made my eyes speed-roll is how in every single teen series everybody is super dolled up to go to school at 7 am (or whatever ungodly hour they go to school to).

      ldk about this generation, but when I was in high school snoozing would always beat curling the hell out of my mane…