‘Pretty Little Liars’ star Ashley Benson took a “mental break” after show ended

Ashley Benson said she needed a “mental break” when ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and she glad she took her time.

The 31-year-old actress played Hanna Marin in the drama series between 2010 and 2017 – but she ultimately needed to take a step back when the show finished.

Ashley said: “Coming off a show after so long and doing TV continuously throughout my whole life…I needed to take a mental break.”

The actress had filmed 160 episodes across seven seasons when the show ended and she felt exhausted.

And now, she’s glad that she decided to take a break from the industry.

She told Cosmopolitan magazine: “It was the best thing I ever did.

“I didn’t work for a year and studied directors I wanted to work with and looked at actresses who inspired me, who came from TV and made it into a film. I started to compartmentalize my wants and needs.”

Ashley has remained good friends with her ‘Pretty Little Liars’ co-stars Shay Mitchell and Troian Bellisario.

The trio actually lives very close to each other, but they’ve been prevented from spending time together over recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She said: “We all live by each other. Minutes away. So it’s very funny.

“I want to see them, but I also have to be mindful right now, even though I’m getting tested weekly [for COVID-19]. It’s a scary time for everyone. I’ve never met Shay’s baby, and she’s like, ‘You have to see her!’ They’re like my sisters and they always will be.”

Meanwhile, Ashley previously revealed she wants to play more “complicated” characters.

The actress explained: “Being able to play a powerful female in a role – in a lead role at that, because there aren’t a lot of lead opportunities for women – is super important for me to find.

“If you are in a cast of men but you mean something, and there’s a stamp that you put on that film and it’s empowering and not just, ‘Oh, she’s the hot blonde,’ or ‘the sexy girl,’ that’s big.”