"Pretty Little Liars" Season Finale Screening

When the cast of Pretty Little Liars posted previews of their upcoming GQ spread on Instagram yesterday, I was a little bit surprised. There’s obviously nothing unusual about seeing a sexy spread from a men’s magazine that takes tons of artistic liberties with Photoshop, but it seemed out of character for the cast to be promoting the photos without mentioning the degree to which their bodies were altered. Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, and Shay Mitchell have earned their status as role models by being careful not to put pressure on their young fans to replicate what they see in magazines, and I really admire them for that. Luckily, the apprehension I was feeling yesterday has been completely erased by the statement Troian just released on Instagram.

troian bellisario without photoshop

After explaining that these photos are part of a very specific kind of spread that isn’t meant to represent real life, Troian goes on to post a handful of iPhone photos from the day of the shoot that show off her real-world body. In her words:

This industry seems to invest more in perfection than in flaw. But flaw and individuality, to me, are what make a human being interesting, they make our stories worth telling. Unfortunately, the flaws don’t usually sell products or magazines. I’m proud of my body and the way it looks. … My hips and thighs are a part of me (even though they magically weren’t in some shots!) I get those things from my momma. And I’m happy to shake what my momma gave me.

Nice. I’m continually impressed with the way these women talk to their fans. And even though I’m far removed from the teenagers who make up the bulk of the PLL fandom, it’s still nice for me to be reassured that the things we see on screens and glossy pages are just fantasies that we don’t need to compete with.

“Photoshopped or not, I work with three of the most gorgeous women on the planet,” Troian writes. “Goddesses without hair and makeup as well.”

Photos: Getty Images, @sleepinthegardn