When you're a 26-year-old star (Ashley Benson) on a cult-favorite massive-hit TV show (Pretty Little Liars), almost every second of your life is spoken for: call times, shoot dates, meetings, auditions. But what is Benson like in her *off* time? Here, the mega talent takes you behind the scenes.
Acting bug: "I wanted to do it since I can remember. As a kid, I would watch movies with the captions on so I could memorize every word."
High volume: "I have thousands of records in my library at home. Frank Sinatra is one of my favorites— he's better on a record player— and I could listen to him all day."
Shelf life: "Ernest Hemingway is a very deep writer, with dark thoughts and genuine emotion. I think he's such an interesting author."
Ring toss: "I'm always wearing my Cartier Love ring—it's so elegant and simple. An ex gave it to me three years ago, and since they aged my character, Hanna, on Pretty Little Liars up five years, it's believable that she would have one—so they let me wear it while shooting."
Big break: "My show now. I've been doing it since I was 19."
Out of the comfort zone: "In Spring Breakers, I was basically in a bathing suit the entire movie! And then weird things, like Hello Kitty shirts. Our clothes were so childlike, but we played these crazy girls."
Style m.o.: "More laid-back. But when I do dress up, I really go for it. I like a suit look on a girl."
Top tip: "Take a risk once in a while—why not? But try to wear things you feel comfortable in. If you're not, it will show, especially in pictures."
Go-to looks: "I dress like I should be living in New York: boots, leather jackets, sweaters, coats."
Favorite designers: "My all-time fave is Saint Laurent. I'd wear it 24/7 if I could. Or The Row; I love how Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen mix masculine with feminine."
Perks of the job: "My character [on], Hanna, has always dressed super, super girly. But recently, they've been putting me in designers like Chanel and Givenchy. It's opened me up to wearing fancier things during the day. I'm going to ask for everything when the show ends!"
Sole mates: "These Balenciaga boots are one of my favorite pairs of shoes. I also have them in silver and gold— I'll pair them with a plain tee and shorts or jeans. They're just fun, and I always feel good in them."
Photographs by Brian Higbee; Fashion editor: Brittany Kozerski
This article appears in the March issue of Marie Claire, on newsstands now.