Shay Mitchell: "Dirt From 'Pretty Little Liars' Poster Was Real"

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Pretty Little Liars premieres June 8 on ABC Family and JSYK recently caught up with one of its stars, Shay Mitchell to talk about the messy photoshoot for the show's poster.

Did you really have dirt on you?
It was mud and dirt and a little bit of paint, but yeah we did have dirt on us. Then we had to wipe ourselves off with these white towels that I felt really bad for using, but it was worth it because we loved the photos.

We thought maybe it was chocolate pudding...
No, we used dirt and mud. Chocolate pudding would not have worked out - we all have a sweet tooth. That would have been bad. You would've seen us wiping it off for a sugar rush...yeah, not so good.

We're you annoyed that you were covered in dirt?
It was so much fun. It was a really cool photo studio and the photographer was amazing. Then we walked in and saw the amazing sets we were like, 'Oh my goodness' - we aren't just doing this in front of a white wall, this is serious stuff. Then when they were putting mud and paint on us we're like, 'This is crazy.' It was really really surreal.

Keep reading for more of our interview with Shay including what she and her costars will be doing tonight during the premiere. Hint: pajama party!
What is the premise of the show?
'Pretty Little Liars' is based on a series of books by Sara Shepard and there are eight of them in total - the eighth one coming out the same day the show releases on June 8th. It's about a group of four girls who kind of separate after the queen bee of the group Alison goes missing one night. So a year passes and we all start to receive messages from someone who's going by the name 'A' and he/she threatens to expose our secrets that only Alison knew. So it's like the four of us girls are coming back together to figure out who this is and how this person knows the stuff that really only Alison knew.

What were you like in high school?
I can identify with the character I play because she's a bit sweeter, sensitive, and extremely loyal to her friends, so I guess in high school I feel like I had some of those characteristics.

Have you read the books?
I have. I looked it up after it got closer to the part and I found out they were books so I got them and I started reading them. I can actually say I'm probably one of the biggest fans myself, they were really good, almost like candy they're really addictive. The only one I haven't read, which is the 8th book, hasn't come out yet.

Were you considered for any of the other characters?
I originally auditioned for Spencer, so they saw me on tape as Spencer and they obviously went with the best choice which was Troiann. So then the part for Emily came up, so I thought why not try this one so then I auditioned for Emily and went to audition for Warner Brothers and got Emily. I'm really happy that I love Emily's character.

Do you hang out off the set with the girls?
We do, it's actually funny because most people would think that when you're spending 16 hours shooting with three different girls, why would you want to hang out with them after? We're planning out what we're doing this weekend, making plans for movie night, so we actually try to hang out as much as we can on the weekends.

Who is most like their character?
Out of all the girls, there are characteristics about each character that we all have. There's a little bit of Hanna in us, or Aria being such an individual, or Emily being sweet and sensitive at times, or there's a little bit of Spencer's character of trying to be better than you are today, and that competitive drive Spencer has. I feel like none of them could've played another character better. We all suit our characters very well.

The show seems a little edgy...
'Pretty Little Liars' is a bit edgier of a show than ABC Family is kind of used to. I feel like with the whole slogan of a 'whole new kind of family,' it really is a new kind of show. It's pushing the envelope on a lot of different topics; we're dealing with a lot of difficult things that teens are really dealing with.

The thing I like about the show and the other ABC Family shows like 'Secret Life' is that I feel like more and more teens are watching this show with their parents and they're able to communicate better because they're watching issues that happen everyday and they're feeling more comfortable to talk about it. With this show, it is a little bit darker than the other shows and it does deal with things that some people might not want to bring up but it is reality and it reflects that very well.

What's it like seeing yourself on billboards around L.A.?
Being in L.A. and driving by a main street and seeing our billboard is like, 'Oh my goodness' and I'm pinching myself. Everyday I'm like is this really happening because if it is that's great but if it isn't, don't ever wake me up because this is really cool.

What will you be doing on premiere night?
This is embarrassing, I wish I could tell you weíre having a massive party but I don't think anyone has mentioned it. We're just like 'tune in, tune in.' We're working everyday that like you kind of forget what else is going on. I know we keep saying June 8th but we haven't even planned anything. I'm pretty sure weíll all be watching it together at someone's house and maybe like in our pajamas eating popcorn. We'll definitely just watch it together and be in a relaxed environment.

Catch the premiere June 8 on ABC Family at 8 PM Eastern and check out the live blog party!


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