Sasha Pieterse

by flaunt

Nothing's Ever There until It's There
A couple of Sasha Pieterse’s audition tapes are circulating via Youtube. There’s one—with comments putting her in the tween age range—that opens up with a pixelated Pieterse, doe-eyed, shaggy blonde hair, in a turquoise tank top with white lace trim and painted nails, blithely introducing herself to the camera. The comments section speculates that she may or may not be auditioning for the part of the is-she-or-isn’t-she-deceased Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars—the breakaway teen drama that has catapulted its cast into successful careers—and in this reading she faces accusations of laziness as she tries to buy a term paper. The speech ends with Pieterse, growling, rage-filled, announcing to someone off-camera, “if you don’t want to take my money because of some insecurity-based bullshit then fine, but don’t you dare call me fucking lazy, asshole.” She throws her purse towards this unseen reader, the camera tilting as it hits the tripod. You believe her.

Now, Pieterse—who was born in South Africa and raised in Las Vegas by acrobatic parents, a situation that ensured they would never have trouble getting things off the top shelf, “It was just a hop and a lift away!”—has several country singles and nearly two dozen TV and film credits under her belt. She began this year with an Independent Spirit Robert Altman Award win for her role as a young runaway in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice. She’s also found herself writing a cookbook, potty-training two Great Dane puppies, and facing her greatest challenge, which is, of course: “trying to juggle everything!”

With all of this we wonder, Sasha Pieterse, where do you go to be alone?

“My life can be so crazy busy and stressful, so my favorite place to block out the world is a nice, long massage.”

You landed a role in Inherent Vice this year, what kind of roles do you see yourself taking in the future?

Inherent Vice was a dream come true. I’m hoping to do more roles like that in the future. My longing as an actress has always been movies, especially movies that put me out of my comfort zone. Inherent Vice was so fun for me but also very intimidating in the beginning, but that feeling is what I hope to feel for the rest of my career.

I feel as though actors have the ability to do what they love until they can’t open their eyes anymore. You don’t just have to be young and hot to be successful in the business. There are always roles for every different age and if you’re blessed enough to grow old with your career, your limits are endless.

Who’s your dream director to work with?

There are so many incredible directors in our business but I’ve always been intrigued by Quentin Tarantino. Quentin has so many crazy visions and I love his shooting style. To be in one of his movies has been a dream of mine for a very long time.

Your birthday is on Feb. 17th, if you could throw a party anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I could give you a billion answers but I think one of my top choices would be Ireland! They definitely know how to have a good time and everywhere you go is gorgeous! From the cobblestone streets of Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher…I think I’d make a birthday month out of that!

You landed the Pretty Little Liars gig at age 12—acting through your entire teenage years—from where you stand, has it been a blessing or a curse?

PLL has been such a blessing and such a huge platform for me, so I don’t regret it for a second. I graduated high school in February 2010 and was able to work on PLL—and anything else—as an adult, which was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Graduating that early has opened so many doors for me, not just in my career, but in everything else I’m able to do on the side as well. Pretty Little Liars helped shape my career—and actually helped me overcome a difficult time in my career as well. I have always looked older which means I’ve always gone out for older roles, even from the age of 4. The problem that arises from that in a business sense, is that I couldn’t work the same amount of hours as everyone else, so getting PLL was extremely lucky for me.

If you could take a spontaneous trip with any famous person dead or alive, who would be your companion?

I would have to say Jennifer Lawrence, she seems like that cool chick you would want to be best friends with.

Describe your current view.

My view in my 19 years of life: First of all, I would have to say that I have been so blessed. What I always try to remember is to be grateful of where I am today and to never get jaded. I have so many plans for the future that I have to sometimes take a step back and think about all that I’m thankful for. I live by two mottos: “Under promise, over deliver,” and “A wise man builds a strong foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

I love these quotes mainly because it motivates me to achieve my goals without blasting them all over the place. It’s so much more rewarding to know that you accomplished something and to then all of a sudden have the world recognize what you’ve worked so hard for. And also, to know your value and worth as a person—knowing what people say against you, you can use to make you stronger.

Photographer: Eddie Chacon for 7artistmgmt.com.

Stylist: Sissy Sainte-Marie at Sissysaintemarie.com.

Hair: Adrian Arredondo at Hairbyadrian.tumblr.com Using R+Co.

Makeup: Mikal Sky at Mikalsky.com.

Styling Assistant: Jillian Cainghug.