Sasha Pieterse has played one of the most dramatic characters on television: Alison DiLaurentis on the hit TV series Pretty Little Liars. However, her real personality and life have very little to do with that of her character. While Alison’s negativity and extreme actions dominated much of the character’s storyline—including faking her own death and throwing firecrackers at buildings—Pieterse’s life is just about the exact opposite. When she’s not on set filming, Pieterse spends her time cooking or entertaining her friends and family. Besides currently starring on the Pretty Little Liars spin-off Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists, Pieterse also has her own cooking YouTube series called Sasha in Good Taste and is releasing a cookbook later this year with the same name. Pieterse chats with us about all things acting and cooking in our Summer 2019 issue.
What about Alison as a character do you relate to? What do you not relate to?
I never really saw myself in her, except for the fact that she will do whatever she can for the people she cares about. As twisted as it was, there was always some sort of caring nature to her. The way Alison is now, it’s very profound. I have a policy of the fewer friends the better, and I have so many amazing people in my life. It really makes a difference when you truly care about the people you are close to and you treat each other like family.
How did PLL change or define your career?
[Being on PLL] completely changed and fueled my career. It was such an incredible experience. I gained so many amazing friends. We were all so close and so lucky to have seven years. We became like a family.
What do you like about creating a series on YouTube vs. filming for traditional media?
It is very, very different, mainly because you get a lot of freedom. With the YouTube channel, I really wanted to just have some fun, throw things out there, and see how people responded to them. It was a fun experiment, and I love having my husband in certain episodes to show what our life is like.
You have a cookbook coming out soon called Sasha in Good Taste! What was the process of writing a cookbook like?
It is so great that it is finally here—it is actually about five years in the making! I have always loved entertaining and sharing my life with people. It’s been a passion of mine forever, and I can now share that with everybody and have everyone see how big of an impact it has in my life. I have been collecting recipes for quite some time, and about five years ago I went to my literary agent and told her I wanted to do a cookbook. She was very sweet about it but didn’t really believe me; she said many of her clients say this and then will not do the work. She suggested that I start a blog to dive deeper into it, not thinking that I would really do it, but I did! A year and a half later it turned into even more than I could have ever imagined. We decided to pitch the book to a bunch of publishers in New York, and I was very lucky to have gotten Harper Collins and Dey Street as my publishers—they are so dedicated and have been the amazing team who helped me bring this book to life. The actual writing and creating of the book was much harder than I thought it would be. I was writing in between my wedding, attending my wedding, and moving from LA to Portland so the fact that it got done in time is a miracle.
What has been the hardest thing about being in the spotlight?
Basically, you experience an amplified version of what everyone goes through. It is really tough because everything you do, good or bad, is highlighted. Especially being on a show for seven years, you see all of the cast change and grow up! You change hairstyles, fluctuate in weights, you literally see people grow up. Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s bad. People hide behind their phones and computer screens, and they can be positive or negative. The good thing is we have been able to connect with people all over the world. That is such an amazing thing that comes with social media, but there is always negativity. It has been a big challenge, but I have learned a lot. I think coming out of it on the other side has been really good for my character and the way that I look at life.
STORY ANA SANDOVAL
PHOTOS RAUL ROMO
HAIR ERICKA VERRETT for STARWORKS ARTISTS
MAKEUP KATELIN GAN for STARWORKS ARTISTS
STYLIST BECKY THOMPSON at THE REX AGENCY
CREATIVE DIRECTION ANNA ZHANG