‘Pretty Little Liars’ Mom Laura Leighton Likes Controversial Characters

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Laura LeightonLaura Leighton, the actress probably best known for playing Sydney on Melrose Place, plays mom to Hanna (Ashley Benson) on ABC Family's upcoming show Pretty Little Liars, which debuts June 8. Though the show's promos are mired in mystery, today Laura revealed what sort of challenges her character and her daughter face.

“Ashley Marin is the single mother on the show,” Laura told Crushable during a phone call with reporters. “Ashley is working to keep everything together as any single mom has to … She’s got a bit of an edge, she’s very matter of fact and she places a very high value on appearances. She wants to maintain her image and pulling yourself together every day is high on her list. So when her daughter makes some mistakes and she needs to sort of cover them up, she acts in desperation and thinks the best things at the time, like how she can cover up and what’s the best way to do it, and she’s really just trying to maintain appearances and her life and her lifestyle and she’s struggling to balance it all.”

One mistake Hanna makes on the show? In the first episode she's caught shoplifting, Laura said.

Comparing her Pretty Little Liars character to Melrose Place‘s Sydney, Laura said that although they are two different types of characters on two very different shows, “I find myself playing a character who makes some controversial choices.”

“Once you play one role that goes in that direction it’s easy to see you doing it again, and since people are able to envision you in the role you’re more likely to get cast. I don’t know,” Laura said. “I think it’s always interesting to play somebody who’s got some gray areas and maybe a dark side, and some questionable attributes.”

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)