Lucy Hale played Aria Montgomery on Pretty Little Liars for seven years. When the show finally wrapped, it was satisfying to finally get a conclusion to the story, but it was also a relief to see that the titular pretty little liars would finally know some peace.
In an exclusive interview with People, Hale opened up about what she went through after Pretty Little Liars finished its seven-season run in 2017. “It was such a crazy experience to be a part of something that was massive on a global scale,” Hale said. “The show changed our lives overnight. We were so young, so busy, and overworked. But you’re up on this mountain, and you’re like, ‘Every thing is so great! People love us!’ When you step outside of that, you’re like, ‘That’s not normal.’ After the show ended, it was a dark time in my life. It made me realize, ‘Oh God, I actually don’t know what I like about myself.’”
Hale told People that this period allowed her to start valuing herself for things separate from her career, which had defined so much of her young-adults years. “I just really had to hang out with myself,” she told People. “I’m at a point now where I love what I do, but I also like who I am outside of that. That, to me, is a big accomplishment because I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to say that about myself.”
Hale also learned that she enjoys simple things. “I love waking up with my dogs and drinking my coffee and watching the sunrise from my home in Los Angeles,” she said. “I used to think one day I’d have these big hobbies, but it’s more just quiet moments with myself. I don’t know if it’s because work constantly pulls me in a million different directions, but I love solitude. It’s not unusual for me to not do anything social for months at a time.”