Actress Troian Bellisario was thrown into the spotlight when she landed a starring role on Pretty Little Liars as Spencer right after she finished theater school. The mega-popular show ran for seven seasons, but one specific moment from the first season still sticks with her. On-set one day, Troian pushed back with a writer about one of Spencer’s lines.
“I was like, ‘I don’t really know if she would say it like that, maybe we should try it like this and then say it like that,’” she says. “And he was like, ‘I really need you to just say the line.’” So she did.
And while Troian was definitely upset, she’s since used that “no” to spark new inspiration.
“I was kinda like, ‘Fine, you don’t want me to have input here? I’ll put my creative impulses somewhere else,’” she says. It was then that she started writing her first short film—one that she eventually also produced and starred in. And it wasn’t long until she went on to write a feature film near and dear to her heart, Feed.
She still credits that conversation with the writer as the reason why she’s now a writer herself.
“It’s important to make your concerns and impulses heard, but there’s absolutely a time and a place,” she explains. “Now, as a writer, I totally respect that. That’s what I learned on Pretty Little Liars. This isn’t the time and place for me to exercise that part of me, but that made me go on my own path.”
“Sometimes somebody saying ‘no’ means that they are not the right person to help you do that,” she says. “Don’t wait for somebody else to give you a chance because you could just be waiting around forever.”
Troian’s new movie, Where’d You Go, Bernadette, is in theaters now.