Laura Leighton: Don’t Call Her a Mentor!
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Pretty Little Liars

Laura Leighton: Don’t Call Her a Mentor!

Laura Leighton might play a fierce mother hen on Pretty Little Liars, but in real life she's reluctant to push her advice on her young costars. In a recent interview, Laura shared her thoughts on her colleagues, working as an actress, and her new hit show. It's just too bad that she's not half as catty in real life as she is when she's playing Ashley Marin, Hanna's morally compromised mama.

The characters you have played, obviously Sydney is the most popular that is known of, and now you’re playing Ashley. Who are personally most similar to: Ashley or Sydney?

Laura Leighton: I don’t even know how to answer that. I think that, you know, Ashley is a mom and she cares desperately about her child. That’s an easy comparison. Millions and millions of women can relate to that. Sydney was never a mother that I would be able to compare someone to; I couldn’t compare myself to that one. She was very larger than life and that’s great fun to play but she was sort of your wildest dream. Like if I could say everything that came to mind, then I would be Sydney. If I could actually say these things and get away with them out loud, then that would be Sydney. But I don’t know anybody that really does that.

I can think of some people, but… [laughs].

Laura Leighton: You do? [Laughs.] Ow! You need to get new friends!

I know, right? Those are more difficult people to deal with. How well does the cast of Pretty Little Liars get along?

Laura Leighton: It’s great. It’s been so fun to watch these… you know, I’m on the parent side of the show. It’s been really fun to see these girls bond and develop these characters and get to tell these stories. They’re having a great time and they’re adorable to watch and it’s really fun. You don’t get to always see them because when you’re shooting, it’s like your own daughter, there’s not often a group opportunity where everybody’s there. But we do get together before each episode and we have a table reading, a read through of the upcoming script, so that’s sitting in a conference room around the table, you get to look at their faces and imagine the kids as these characters. You get a chance to see them, and look at their face, and really associate the character with the actress. You get to see how they interact and they’re having a great time together and it’s fun to see everybody in the same room.

That does sound really fun. With you working on Pretty Little Liars, and previously the new Melrose Place, you’ve worked with a lot of young actresses. Have you found yourself taking on a mentoring type of role?

Laura Leighton: Everybody asks me that and it’s funny, I don’t think that kids in their late teens and in their 20’s, I don’t think they’re really looking for advice. I haven’t found myself in the position of being asked for advice nor do I necessarily feel entitled to give it. I think that these kids have everything figured out. They’re really confident, much more savvy than I was at their age. I’d like to think that I’m older and wiser… I’m sure I’m not, older yes, wiser probably not.

It’s funny how life just seems to go that way. Do you find yourself then in more of a big-sister, friendship kind of role that you end up taking on?

Laura Leighton: Yeah, I guess, maybe. We have plenty in common. We’re all in the business of acting and everybody’s been working at the process of it so there’s a lot that we have in common regardless of how old we are. It’s just the same business that we kind of know the ropes about. But it’s definitely a unique position to be in. It wasn’t always that way, I wasn’t always the oldest one in the room [laughs] so you have to get used to it. It’s a little humbling but it’s not a bad position to be in. You get to have the perspective and the experience and look back and go, “Oh… you know.” There’s certain things that I just don’t get worried about anymore, or I don’t get bothered about, or something like that that just comes with a little bit of time and perspective.

I think that’s good for all of us to know. To put it all in perspective.

Laura Leighton: A little time is mellowing.

It is a good thing. And I know you feel like you’re not really qualified to be dispensing advice, but I can’t help but ask, what is the advice that you would give to aspiring actresses, particularly those like you that started in their 20’s?

Laura Leighton: I think it’s really important to remember that it’s a long life and it’s a long career. In a perfect world your career will be long. It does not begin and end with any one job. The point is to continue to have longevity in your career. The experience you have, it will inevitably come to an end and that can be a good and a bad thing. But the point is that there will be another opportunity and you need to be ready for that and that’s the goal.

I think that’s the best acting advice I’ve ever heard.

Laura Leighton: Really? Wow!

It’s really profound. You nailed that one!

I have one last question: Is there a question that you wish someone would ask in an interview that you’ve never been asked?

Laura Leighton: Um… no. That’s funny. I can’t think of one. Um… no. [Laughs.]

Well, that’s a fair answer.

Laura Leighton: Well now I’m going to think of it. Gosh, I wish somebody would ask me…hmm… yeah, I don’t have it yet.

How about we leave off with you telling everyone why they should watch Pretty Little Liars?

Laura Leighton: I think Pretty Little Liars is going to be hugely popular for adults, for kids, for girls, for guys, you know, something for everyone to look at and the stories are going to be great. There’s suspense every week. The friendship is really fun to watch. I think it’s going to have something for everybody.

Great explanation. Thank you so much for your time today. You’ve been great to talk with.

Laura Leighton: Thank you so much!

Source: Totally Her

06.16.2010 / 05:40 AM EDT by Melinda
Related: Pretty Little Liars, Interviews, Laura Leighton, Ashley Marin

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