Credit: John Shearer/ Getty Images Photo: Nia Peeples on PLL

Pam Fields (Nia Peeples) gets bashed a lot on Pretty Little Liars, but can you blame her for being a protective parent? Sure, she’s made mistakes, but she's come a long way. Nia explains that her character always looks out for Emily (Shay Mitchell) and will continue to next season. In Part 1 of our exclusive interview, Nia defends Pam and reveals which girl she thinks is best for Emily. Maybe Em should take her advice — they say mothers know best!

Wetpaint: We know your character has hired a realtor to help sell your house in Rosewood. Can you give us any more clues about this plan to move to Texas? Is there anything Emily can do to change your mind?

Nia Peeples: Ah ha! The thing to remember is that Emily is really important to Rosewood, but she’s much more important to her family. Emily’s friends are very important and Pam understands that and respects that, but at a certain point, you have to weigh how important your family is as well. In the overall scheme of things, Emily hasn’t been with her father for years and it’s starting to wear on her family. So I think the decision for her family to be together for a year is really the best choice that Pam can make.

You sent Maya away to juvie, but you’ve also stood up for Emily and finally accepted her. How have fans responded to your shift in attitude?

The fans love that Pam has started to accept Emily. When I was having issues with Emily and caught her on her bed with Maya [Bianca Lawson], they were really non-supportive and very vocal, but I had to point out to them, you have to look at it from a parent’s perspective. I would never let my teenage daughter feel that it’s OK if she was in her bedroom with her boyfriend or potential dating partner behind closed doors when I’m not there. It really comes down to how quickly you want your children to learn about that and to focus on that. It’s not something you can turn your back on, but you want your children to be able to grow into it at a good pace.

You’ve started to accept Emily and her sexuality. Will we see more and more of that next season?

Yeah, I think what we were able to see in the first season was that Pam really loves Emily and Pam is having to come to grips with her own beliefs. Pam is a good person, she has her hang-ups for sure, but she really loves her family and is willing to explore it. So we’ll be exploring more of what that means.

We know you’ve interacted with Maya, but will you be interacting with Emily’s other love interests Paige and Samara?

As much as she lets me know about them! It’s a funny thing being a recurring character on the show because I’m gone more than I’m there. A lot of times as an actor, I’ll show up on set and read the script and think, “Hmm, what has gone on between today and the last time I was on the show and how much does Pam know?” So it’s always really interesting and a precarious position as an actor to pick and choose those things because I don’t really know where my character is going.

Who do you personally think is best for Emily – Maya, Paige, or Samara?

I don’t think Maya is the best choice. I’m saying that as a mom. Nor is Paige. I think Samara, but there’s still so much you don’t know. You don’t know someone until you lived with them for three years--that’s my rule of thumb! And when you’re exploring your own sexuality at this stage in your life, there’s a lot more discovery. So Emily’s exploration of herself is even more complicated, and as a mom, I’d say slow down and take your time, especially because you’re questioning your own sexuality.

Nia Peeples discusses her hopes for her character in part 2 of the interview. Check it out here.

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