“I went shorter when we quit the show. I went a lot shorter. I was tempted to dye my hair a crazy color,” the 27-year-old tells Yahoo Style.
Hair has always been a knotty part of Aria Montgomery’s look on PLL; Hale plays the show’s resident artsy, alterna character with a flavor for offbeat and often head-scratchingly overdone fashion. The final season kicked off on Tuesday night. In real life, says Hale, “I never felt pressure to be Aria. I kind of was like her anyway. It’s bittersweet to close that chapter.”
On the show, Aria is artistic and secretive. In person, Hale is bubbly and outgoing. “I’m a morning person. I hit a wall around noon,” she says.
Not everything has been rosy for Hale, 27, who has been open about her battle with body image. In 2012 she told Cosmopolitan magazine, “I’ve never really talked about this, but I would go days without eating. Or maybe I’d have some fruit and then go to the gym for three hours. I knew I had a problem. … It was a gradual process but I changed myself.”
Now, Hale is in a healthier place.
Her secret to retaining her sanity in Hollywood involves getting on a bike. “I really enjoy a good workout. I know it sounds cliché and I drink the Kool-Aid, but I love Soul Cycle. Leaving that class, I feel pumped up and strong. Everyone is sweaty together. I’ve become one of those people,” she jokes.
Next up for Hale: Life Sentence, a dramedy sitcom for the CW, which has been picked up and slated for a summer premiere. “Other than that, I’m just living the dream,” she says.
She’ll continue to share snaps of her life on Instagram, including shots of her dog Elvis and herself at the gym.
But trolls, beware: If you have something nasty to post, Hale doesn’t play around.
“It’s been nice to engage with people on social media and know what they like. It can be scary. Maybe I don’t want to be reading that. There are those people and they get blocked real quick,” she says.
Read more from Yahoo Beauty + Style:
• Jessica Chastain’s Fairy-Tale Fashion Moment Isn’t What You Think
• ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Stars Get Real About Body Image: ‘I Decided to Be Honest’
• Scarlett Johansson Is ‘Incredibly Proud’ to Show Her Daughter She’s a Working Mom
• Actress Joey King’s KFC Prom Corsage Has to Be Smelled to Be Believed