When the world first started taking notice of Ashley Benson, she was a somewhat unknown blonde actress cast on a new teen drama, Pretty Little Liars. She'd had a few roles up to that point, but nothing major, nothing that was noteworthy enough to make her a household name. Then, Pretty Little Liars became an absolute smash hit and suddenly everyone knew who she was. Now that the show has wrapped, she's started exploring other projects — and appearing in the tabloids from time to time because of who she's dating.
Having played a high school student for so long, in a teen drama no less, it seems that Ashley Benson is eager to try out different types of roles that allow her to flex her creative skills a bit more and show a different side of herself. She played plenty of cheerleaders and similar perky roles earlier in her career — now she wants the type of roles that have a bit of grit, that are a little more interesting. And, we can't wait to see what she does with them.
Here are 20 things you may not have known about former Pretty Little Liars star Ashley Benson — we have a feeling you'll be seeing a whole lot more of her lately.
20 She's Supposedly Dating Model Cara Delevingne
Okay, this relationship hasn't exactly been confirmed by the couple themselves, but they've been spotted together enough, and have even been captured getting pretty close, so the world is pretty sure that they're a thing. And we have to admit, we kind of love this pairing. The duo met when they were co-stars on an indie project, Her Smell, and have been spotted together constantly ever since. Benson has always been pretty low key about her personal life, but when you start dating a huge supermodel and you're a huge celebrity yourself, obviously the paparazzi are going to be desperate to get some pictures.
19 She Was The Last Of The PLL Cast To Join The Show
It seems like Benson's role on the show was made for her, but did you know that she was actually the last one of the show to be cast? As the showrunner told Cosmopolitan, "we really wanted one of the four original Liars, excluding Alison, to be blonde...we couldn't find anybody that felt right." Ashley was on another show at the time, but it was canceled, she ended up auditioning literally the day after she found out she was out of a job, and her tear-filled audition was exactly what the showrunner wanted to see — "we knew we had our Hannah" after her audition, said showrunner I. Marlene King.
18 Former Co-Star Shay Mitchell Is Her Real Life BFF
When a cast is together on a television show for several seasons, one of two things happens. Either they get tired of each other and end up feuding and wrap the show with some bad blood, or they become very close and end up maintaining their friendship for years after the show wraps. The latter is definitely the case when it comes to Ashley Benson and Shay Mitchell. The two starred together on the show for many seasons, and are BFFs in real life. They even have a hashtag they often use on Instagram, #buttahbenzo, to capture all their adventures together.
17 She's A Huge Harry Potter Fan
If you ever invite Ashley Benson to a Harry Potter costume party, she won't have to worry about running out to find an outfit — she can just look in her closet! She told Seventeen that she's a huge Harry Potter fan, saying that "I went to see [Deathly Hallows — Part 1] on opening night and dressed up. I just wore a cape and glasses and tights and boots." Now, the question is, does Ashley consider herself a Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff? If she's willing to dress up for the premiere, surely she's tried out a house sorting quiz at some point to find out.
16 Her Very First Acting Job Was A Domino's Commercial
Ashley may be at a stage in her career where she's getting more glamorous, high-profile projects now, but that definitely wasn't always the case. Back when she was just a child actor trying to make it in the industry, her very first gig was a part in a Domino's Pizza commercial. With her sweet blue eyes and blonde hair, we can see why they'd cast her — you'd probably see that commercial and immediately be convinced that it was a good idea to go order some pizza! It just goes to show that you never know what projects will open doors for you.
15 Her First Kiss Happened On Screen During Her Soap Opera Days
Back when she was a teenager, Ashley Benson entered the world of acting via the soap opera world. She played the character of Abby Deveraux on Days of Our Lives from 2004 to 2007, and everyone knows that soap operas definitely aren't the easiest roles. After all, you basically need to learn new scripts on a daily basis — that can be tricky! It was a great place for Benson to learn the ropes, and she also experienced another milestone during her soap opera days — her very first kiss! It turns out, a young Benson had her first kiss on set when a storyline required her to kiss a love interest.
14 She Needs Coffee To Get Her Day Started
There are many celebrities out there who don't drink coffee, instead preferring to start their day with tea or even green juice. Ashley Benson isn't one of them. While she probably fills her diet with a lot of healthy options in order to stay in shape for on-screen roles, she absolutely needs coffee to get her day started. She dished on her love for the caffeinated treat in Health magazine, saying that "if I don't have coffee, I don't function." There are countless paparazzi photos that capture Benson walking in Los Angeles with an iced coffee in her hand.
13 She's A Music Lover With Thousands Of Records
We'd love to see Benson snag a leading role as a musician in one of her projects because it turns out she's actually a huge music lover. The starlet told Marie Claire that she has thousands of records in her music library at home, and has a particular penchant for the classics. She admitted that "Frank Sinatra is one of my favorites — he's better on a record player — and I could listen to him all day." It just goes to show that you never know what someone's hobbies and passions are! We'd love to explore Benson's music collection and see what kinds of artists she loves.
12 She Once Had An Awkward Encounter With A Fan In A Spa Shower Room
It's often a tricky balance for celebrities between acknowledging their fans and being kind to them by doing things like signing autographs and taking pictures with them and keeping their privacy intact. Ashley Benson found that out the hard way when she got approached by a fan — while she was at a spa. She told the story to Complex about how she was taking a shower, just relaxing with one of her friends, when a fan taps her on the shoulder, asking to take a photo — while she was in the shower! Definitely sounds like a weird situation — luckily she managed to talk her way out of that one.
11 She Used To Be A Dancer
Did you know that back when she was just a kid, Benson was a competitive dancer? It seems she's known she wants to be in the spotlight ever since she was a kid. She started competitively dancing at just 3 years old, and her dance skills eventually helped her land a few acting roles, such as her appearance in NLT's music video for "That Girl" and the movie Bring It On: In It To Win It. After all, if you can learn dance choreography, you can definitely learn cheer choreography — it was probably a piece of cake for her to learn all the routines!
10 According To Her, Brunettes Have More Fun, Not Blondes
For most of her career, Ashley Benson has been a blonde, but that doesn't mean she believes that blondes have more fun. In fact, she's been brunette quite a few times, and she confessed to Cosmopolitan that she actually prefers rocking darker locks. As she said, "brown hair makes me feel more like myself. As a blonde, I get categorized as the b---- popular girl for roles, and I just want to be the normal girl." She looks gorgeous regardless of her hair color, but we can definitely see why brunette hair appeals to her if that's what she experiences as a blonde.
9 Though She Played A High School Student, She Never Went To Her Own Prom
Ashley Benson has had a lot of roles where she played high school students over the years, partly because of her age, but did you know that she actually never ended up going to her own prom? While she was in high school, she was already hard at work building her career and appearing on Days Of Our Lives, so she was just working too much to fit something like a high school dance into her schedule. Luckily, she got a chance to experience all that (albeit in a scripted way) during all her high school roles. Still — it must have been tough to miss out on such a milestone!
8 Coconut Oil Is A Staple In Her Beauty Routine
We're always totally curious about the beauty routines of celebrities, and it turns out that one of Ashley Benson's staples is actually super affordable and easy to find — coconut oil! She spilled about her routine to Elle, saying that "coconut oil is very good for my skin... I just moisturize my face with coconut oil, my hair is always in a scrunchie and then I put on a very relaxed outfit and I'm good to go." Sounds like the perfect routine! She probably spends so much time in hair and make-up for her job that she's totally over it when it comes to her personal time.
7 She's Really Into Jade Rollers
Countless celebrities have been jumping on the crystal train lately, sharing their passion for crystals of all sorts with their fans. And, there's one popular way to incorporate certain crystals, including jade and rose quartz — face rollers. Benson swears by jade rollers, telling Elle that "I've been very into the jade rollers. I keep them in my freezer especially now that I'm shooting a movie out here in New York. Every day, I wake up and put this cold roller on my face — I'm still not sure if it did anything, I think it did. It makes me wake up and it's so relaxing."
6 She Had Some Major Hair Drama While Filming PLL
It's tough to imagine celebrities struggling with their hair because it always looks so perfect on camera, but apparently, Ashley Benson had some major hair drama a while back. She spilled the details to Entertainment Tonight, saying that after an incident bleaching her hair, the damage was too much and her hair just fell out. "If you remember, I think it's season three, I had no hair. Like legit, it was strings. Everyone at Warner Bros was like 'why isn't she getting extensions in' and I was like 'my hair's gonna fall out.' I mean, huge regret. That was [horrible]." Yikes!
5 She Barely Got Paid For 'Spring Breakers'
Everyone who had seen the types of projects Benson worked on prior to getting her role on Spring Breakers knows it was a huge departure for her — a much grittier role than what she was used to. And, she was so passionate about that project that she accepted pretty much zero pay. As she told E Online, "one film that I didn't get paid for — really, at all — was Spring Breakers, which turned out to be one of my favorite projects I've ever done. In the indie film world, I would rather get paid [next to] nothing to work with someone like Harmony Korine and have an amazing experience."
4 She Has Major Arachnophobia
If you've ever wondered about what Ashley Benson is scared of, well, she's pretty similar to a lot of us in that she's terrified of spiders. Benson has a huge fear of the creepy crawly critters, telling Complex that "if I see even a tiny spider, I'll, like, crash the car." We wonder what she'd do if she was ever given a role in which she had to interact with spiders in some way — either she'd have to get over it and conquer her fear, or just turn the project down or request some kind of script rewrite. We totally identify with the arachnophobia, though.
3 She'd Rather Hang Out At Home Than Hit The Club
You might assume that Ashley Benson is always hitting the Hollywood hot spots with her girlfriends and having a blast, but it turns out, she'd much rather prefer to stay in than to hit the town. As she told Complex, "I don't go out. A typical weekend for me is going to eat with my friends and either having a drink at the restaurant or sitting at home and drinking wine and watching a movie. I don't like clubs at all. The things you see people doing in there make you think 'oh God, I don't want to be around this."
2 She's Majorly Jealous Of Jenna Dewan's Physique
It's hard to imagine Ashley Benson being envious of anyone's physique given how gorgeous she is, but it turns out there's one celebrity whose body she'd totally covet — Jenna Dewan. As she told Health, "she is like, the cutest thing. Her body right now is so incredible, and she's had a kid!" We totally agree with her. Perhaps it's all those years spent as a dancer that trained her on how to keep her muscles long and lean and how to stay fit, but Jenna Dewan definitely has an incredible physique. Hopefully, she starts sharing more of her fitness secrets on her YouTube channel!
1 She Doesn't Like Guys Who Are Super Fit
Given that Los Angeles is such a body-conscious town, you might assume that Ashley Benson is into ripped guys with six-packs — but apparently, that couldn't be further from the truth. When chatting with Health about her ideal guy, she commented that "there are guys who work out and there are guys who work out, in the mirror every day, with protein shakes and 'I'm at the gym for 12 hours.' I don't like big guys like that. I like skinnier guys. If there's a guy who's super in shape, out the door! Making me laugh is number one." You hear that? It's the sound of skinny guys everywhere racing to take Benson on a date now that they know they're her type!
References: gurl.com, people.com, popsugar.com, elle.com, eonline.com, complex.com, health.com