As Hollywood’s darling girl-next-door and hairstyle chameleon, Lucy Hale has made a name for herself in entertainment, with effortlessly chic looks on the red carpet and on TV appearances, particularly in her buzzy drama series Pretty Little Liars. And like her character Aria Montgomery, the actress is cool and confident both on and offscreen—but as it turns out, it wasn’t always that way.
In fact, Lucy made a surprising admission that she had trouble finding herself, and dealt with self-esteem issues after moving from Tennessee to Los Angeles in her formative years. Despite landing the role that earned her accolades in the industry, she revealed that she often forced herself into becoming someone she felt others wanted her to be.
“I tried to blend in so bad,” she said, comparing herself to her PLL costars. “It was hard being on a show with a bunch of tall girls. I just always felt like the odd one out.”
It wasn’t until half a decade later that Lucy realized she didn’t need to conform. “I’m almost 28, but… I think I only just figured out who I was a year ago,” she said. Making it official, she marked that shift with a drastic haircut—something we ourselves do to symbolize turning points in our lives (i.e. the end of a relationship, the start of a new career). “I know it seems silly because it’s just hair,” she said. “But at a point, I was like, ‘Why don’t I just own that I’m different?’ I guess cutting my hair off was like me finally saying, ‘I don’t give a f***.'”
Now Lucy lives a different lifestyle: She’s a huge fan of SoulCycle. She listens to podcasts, with S-Town being her current favorite. She even quit drinking after losing interest in the Hollywood party scene, choosing to spend nights at home with her dog. “I’m just always trying to surround myself with better people and be the best version of myself possible,” she said. We think she’s pretty amazing already.