Pretty Little Liars’ Nia Peeples on Pam’s “Devastating” Reality and New Beauty Series, More Than Skin Deep — Exclusive
Credit: Frederick M. Brown/Getty    

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars’ Nia Peeples on Pam’s “Devastating” Reality and New Beauty Series, More Than Skin Deep — Exclusive

If there’s one Rosewood parent who’s been put through “A’s” ringer this season on Pretty Little Liars, it’s Pam Fields. (Sure, Ashley Marin may be in jail, but she did some shady stuff to get there!) On Season 4, Episode 8 (“The Guilty Girl’s Handbook”), things for Pam go from bad to worse when Emily (Shay Mitchell) reaches out to an old boss for a possible summer trip... out of the country.

Wetpaint Entertainment chatted with Nia Peeples about Pam’s “devastating” situation and her new beauty series, “More Than Skin Deep,” which aims to get women of all ages to take a holistic approach to beauty.

Wetpaint Entertainment: Let’s talk about your new online beauty series. We’re pretty excited about it!

Nia Peeples: “More Than Skin Deep” is a new philosophy of beauty. It’s a series of hangouts on my Facebook page with various experts in the field of what I call beauty. Now, beauty to me is something that’s way more holistic than what’s marketed. That’s everything from the inside to the outside! Our first hangout will be with Mandi Line, the costume designer on Pretty Little Liars. It will be called, “The Ugly Truth Behind Pretty Little Liars Fashion.”

Interesting! Fashion is such a huge part of Pretty Little Liars, as each girl has such an individual sense of style.

But here’s the piece of it that most people don't get, and that is, as fantastic and beautiful as those girls look, part of what makes Mandi so good at what she does is that she understands how unique each one of those girls’ bodies are. She knows how to dress them. There’s a perception that the teenage audience might have that’s incorrect. They think, “Oh, I should be able to look like they look all the time,” and it’s not possible! Each one of us has a particular shape, and it’s about learning how to dress it. It’s not that you are too fat and need to be thinner in order to wear these clothes that will make you look like Emily, it’s what kind of body do you have and how do I dress it?

Are any of the girls going to be featured on “More Than Skin Deep”?

I would love to have all of them! I think the first guest will be Shay. We’re trying to figure out schedules for them because we’re shooting right now, and for them, it’s really tough. But part of the reason this whole thing came together is because of conversations I had with them and with my 14-year-old daughter around self esteem. My daughter sits there watching these beautiful teenage girls in a town called Rosewood that apparently only has beautiful teens in it. And they watch it and they think, “Wow. Is that what I’m supposed to look like as a teenager?” It begins this whole cycle of lack of self esteem. Shay and I talk all the time, and she even said, “Hey look, I went through it when I was in high school. Girls were really mean to me. I didn’t feel like I fit in. I felt like I was ugly.” So all of these “beautiful girls” all have those stories to tell, and I think it’s really important to share it.

Is each hangout going to have a different theme?

Absolutely! It’s all about beauty and helping people redefine what beauty is. You’ve got to take a holistic approach! You can’t just pay attention to what goes on on the outside. You have to pay attention to what’s happening to you on the inside, so it will cover everything from weight loss experts who really have a good handle on holistic weight loss — I don’t like to call it weight loss; to me, it’s finding your appropriate weight — to fashion, to celebrities, and even emotional therapists.

Well, it sounds like Pam could use some emotional therapy right about now! She’s really being put through it by “A.” How do you decompress at the end of a long, emotional day?

I’m lucky. I live near the ocean, in a mobile home by the beach, so it is so healing for me to strip everything off and go down to the ocean. Obviously, I can’t go down there nude [laughs], but I take off the makeup, the false eyelashes, and all the stuff that goes into making people look pretty on TV. I just get in the water and try to be a part of nature.

There are so many camera and makeup tricks that go into making a TV show and making actors look gorgeous on the small screen.

It’s so true! I sit there, and I watch the show with my daughter, who is 14, so she’s going through her hormonal thing, and I watch how it affects how she looks at herself. And I sit there, going through my hormonal things, on the other end of the scale because I’m perimenopause right now, so I’m doing my hormonal thing, too. She’s watching the teens going, “Wow. Is that the way I’m supposed to look as a teen?” And I’m watching myself, saying, “Wow. Is that what I’m supposed to look like at 50?” So women are dealing with the same self esteem issues no matter the age!

Pretty Little Liars’ Nia Peeples on Pam’s “Devastating” Reality and New Beauty Series, More Than Skin Deep — Exclusive
Credit: Eric McCandless/ ABC Family    

Do any of the girls ever come to you for advice?

Shay does all the time. She’s so funny. These girls have so much energy! She came out to go paddleboarding with me. She’s so sweet, too. You  show up at 5:30 in the morning, and there’s no sun out, but the sunglasses are on and you don’t have any makeup on and your hair is a mess and you’re in your sweats, but she’ll look up with me and go, “Oh my god. I need to take a picture of you because that’s what I want to look like.” I’m like, “What are you taking a picture of?” [laughs] It’s all about exuding a sense of joy and happiness no matter what you look like. Because that’s really what’s sexy. It isn’t wearing tight clothes and having everything hang out — that’s not sexy. It has to do with how you feel about yourself and a sensualness that you feel.

Well, if it’s all about joy and happiness, then no wonder Pretty Little Liars is the sexiest cast on TV!

Yes! The humor is a big part of it. For me, my character, poor Pam. She’s incredible boring! [Laughs] She’s got nothing going on in her life. But it gets pretty devastating for Pam.

Has Pam finally reached her breaking point?

I think she has. She has a pretty big breakdown in this next episode [Season 4, Episode 8: “The Guilty Girl’s Handbook”] when Emily decides to leave for the summer. She starts sobbing because she feels like she’s fallen short of her own expectations of what a mother is. She feels like she’s failed her daughter, and failing as a mother, is devastating for Pam.

There’s a car in your living room. We know the Fields family was already struggling with finances, so where do they go from there? We know they end up in a motel...

Yeah, that is the only next step for them right now. They do have insurance, and the insurance will take care of the repair, but in the meantime, they are really displaced. Pam lost her job, she doesn’t have her husband around, and now she has no home. It’s pretty severe.

She’s had everything stripped away from her, and now her daughter.

Which is her purpose! When Emily leaves, her purpose is stripped away from her. She couldn’t give her daughter what she needs — she had to go elsewhere. And that’s normal in life. As your children get older, they need outside experiences and influences, so that’s a normal step for Emily. But at this time in Pam’s life, she’s coming face-to-face with the fact that she has no purpose anymore.

Is Pam every going to find out that Emily was the one who took the key and got her suspended?

She hasn’t so far!

What do you think, Pretty Little Liars fans? Are you excited for Nia’s “More Than Skin Deep” beauty series? Do you feel bad for Pam? Sound off in the comments!

Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.

Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fan-girl for all things Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time. She speaks fluent geek. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!