Troian Bellisario, star of the hit U.S. TV show Pretty Little Liars, arrived in Manila last Tuesday, February 26.
In Pretty Little Liars, which is based on a book by Sara Shepard, Troian plays Spencer Hastings, one of four girls who faced the death of their best friend, Alison Dilaurentis.
While trying to find out who killed their best friend, they will receive cryptic text messages and threats from an anonymous person who goes by the codename ‘A.’
The story revolves around the girls trying to uncover the truth about Alison’s murder by revealing A’s real identity.
Troian was interviewed by the local entertainment press, along with her boyfriend, Suits actor Patrick J. Adams, yesterday, February 27, at the Marriott Hotel, in separate presscons.
SPENCER HASTINGS. PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) asked Troian how similar or different her personality in real life from her character, Spencer.
She replies, “We have a lot of similarities. I’m definitely a very anxious person like Spencer is and a bit of a perfectionist.”
Coming from a prominent family and having lawyers for both parents, Spencer is an overachiever in school.
Troian continues, “And we both care immensely about our friends. I think the main difference between Spencer and I is just kind of a life experience.
“Like, I was very much a Spencer when I was in high school.
"I was super academic, freaked out about everything, and then I kind of grew up a little bit and learned to chill out.
“So I think it’s really fun to play Spencer 'cause it’s like going back and, like, looking back on who I was, in a sense.
“You know, I’m kind of having sympathy for that person 'cause I put so much pressure on myself when I was younger.
“So it’s nice to kind of look back and be, like, 'Oh, wow, that poor little girl.'
"So it’s kinda, that’s how I feel about Spencer. She’s a younger version of me.”
FOREVER YOUNG. In the show, which airs locally every Saturday on ETC, the girls play high school students who are supposed to be sixteen years old at the beginning of the story.
At 27, playing the role of a high school student is a strange experience for Troian.
She relates, “It’s cool. Like I said, it’s a bit of a challenge because it’s very odd for me right now.
“My best friend is about to get married, very soon. And we’ve been best friends since I was Spencer’s age and so I saw in her wedding dress and I was like crying.
“And I’m having these experiences in my life that people are growing up or certain people I love having children, and I’m having a very adult experience of life and then I go to high school.
“Literally, I’ll stand in front of Spencer’s locker and be like, ‘Oh, my god, I’m still in high school! This is so weird. I still sit in a classroom and listen to Ezra teach.’
“It’s a really interesting kind of push and pull that I have.
"Like, I have to remember what it’s like to live under my parents' roof and be a teenager.
“And yet in my life, I’m experiencing so many other things.”
PLL CO-STARS. Lucy Hale and half-Filipina Shay Mitchell—who play two of Spencer’s other best friends Aria Montgomery and Emily Fields, respectively—have both been in the Philippines before.
Troian reveals what her co-stars have said about the Philippines: “Awesome things.
“They’ve told me that the fans are amazing which is really cool. And just that I’m gonna have a blast. That it’s totally right in my alley.
"There’s beautiful beaches, there’s beautiful things to see and the people are warm and kind.
“And that’s just some place that I couldn’t miss. So I’m here.”
Being the eldest in the group, Troian admits that her co-stars go to her for advice.
She says, “I definitely... yeah, I’m definitely kinda like the momma hen of the group, which is very Spencer of me.
“But, you know, because I’m the eldest of the girls, I’ve had a little bit of, like, they’ve all had amazing, different experiences, but I do kind of like making sure that everybody is okay.
“So I don’t know how to just kind of like take care of myself and ignore everybody else.
“So I am kind of like the person that if you come to me for advice, I’ll definitely sit down and give you everything that I can.”
PATRICK ADAMS. Troian’s boyfriend, Patrick J. Adams, plays Mike Ross in another popular US TV series—Suits.
Being both in the limelight, how do they handle their relationship?
Troian answers, “Well, I think we’re both very fortunate in that we both fell in love before we got our shows.
“So the coolest thing about being in a relationship with him is that he’s got to see for me what roller-coaster it’s like.
“It’s not like, I think what happens to a lot of people is they kind of get along to a certain point in their career and then they date somebody else at a certain point in their career and your egos clash.
"And it’s like, ‘who’s more famous?’ and stuff like that.
“So for both of us, it’s just kind of been such a surprise to land on such amazing shows, you know.
“I’m such a fan of his show too that we’ve both kind of been able to be there for each other and respect it in a way that it’s not competitive or, you know, strange.
“I think the only odd thing for us is that we didn’t... because we’ve never experienced it before, we didn’t know how much of it to protect, you know.
“'Cause it’s like, I’m on Twitter, he’s on Twitter, we’re both on Instagram, we’re gonna be taking pictures of each other and so people have this idea about our relationship.”
As their relationship started off-screen and developed even before they both became part of highly-successful TV shows, Troian admits, they find it difficult to keep certain things private.
She recalls, “Like, when we went on vacation together, we apparently got engaged three times.
“And it was weird because I have people from my family back home calling me and they’re, like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
"And I was, like, 'Because it’s not true.'
“And so that’s kind of been the hardest thing for us.
"It’s like people are taking it and running with it in a way that’s not us, that’s not real.
“And so I think that’s kind of what we’ve been more and more trying to keep it private.
“But it’s just something like people are gonna say whatever they wanna say about us so you just kind of have to ignore.”
Though she did not disclose which part of the country they are planning to visit, Troian said about their plans: “I believe what Patrick has told me is that I am not allowed to do anything [yet].
“Because I’m like Spencer, I’m a little bit of an overachiever and he’s like, 'If you plan anything, I will kill you. And I won’t do it.'
“‘Cause, you know, he’s been going crazy about this press.
"This is my first big day and it’s all been amazing. But he’s been doing this almost every day of this tour.
“So I think he really wants to lay on a beach and that will give me time to swim, surf, ride, you know, read—do all the things I like to do while he just kinda snoozes in the corner.
"So I think that’s what he’s excited about.”
Inevitably, Troain was asked if she and Patrick ever gets jealous of each other's love interests.
She answers, “Do we ever get jealous? I think we joke about it a lot.
“I think it’s great ‘cause, you know, when you’re dating an actor, hopefully, an intelligent actor, he understands that it’s a job and you understand for them that it’s a job.
“I think it’s definitely not the most pleasurable thing that I get to do when I watch his romantic scenes.
“But the good thing is that I actually, I do love Meghan Markle, she’s such a sweetheart.
“So I kind of like, you know, if you’re gonna play in love with somebody, what better person can you ask for than her.
“She’s a lovely human being, so beautiful, and she’s actually really kind.
"So until he has a love interest that I don’t like, I don’t know what I’ll do about that.”