Troian Bellisario: The makeup on Pretty Little Liars creates a ‘false expectation’

Troian Bellisario, 31, is one of the stars of Pretty Little Liars, the seventh and final season of which is airing now on Freeform, formerly ABC Family. In case you haven’t heard of her before, she isn’t as visible at events as some of her costars like Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson or Shay Mitchell. We have reported on her before, when she shaded Taylor Swift for her false feminism and then backtracked a little. I checked her wiki and she’s got somewhat of a Tori Spelling career situation in that she’s the daughter of two producers. From what I can find neither of her parents are involved in PLL, although surely that gives her an advantage in the business as her dad, Donald P. Bellisario, gave her early roles on some of his shows like NCIS. Also Troian is married to Suits hottie Patrick J. Adams. They wed in December of last year in a camping-themed wedding.

Troian has a new interview with Yahoo! Style where she talked about makeup, body image and her anorexia battle as a teenager. She’s been candid about her eating disorder struggles and has written and stars in a new movie about it, called Feed. Here’s some of what she told Yahoo!

“Being on a show where it was so important how we looked, and yet we’re supposed to be girls that were rolling out of bed and dealing with traumatic experiences — I was conflicted for a long time personally — what sort of image are we selling to young women? Are we making them feel worse about themselves?” she tells Yahoo Style.

But ultimately, she made peace with PLL’s highly stylized reality because of the show’s underlying message.

“These were a group of strong women who had each other’s backs, and I saw that there was a strong and empowering message being sent out to the female audience,” she says.

She’s also as open as possible about the fact that the Spencer you see in Rosewood doesn’t mirror the woman who plays her.

“I wear so much makeup on the show and when I do press. If I were to even wear normal makeup in my life and take a photo of myself, people ask me if I’m feeling all right. It’s a false expectation. Is that what you think you’re supposed to look like?” she says…

She recalls the exact moment she shared her story [about suffering with anorexia] with the world and how uneasy it felt at first.

“There was an article when they asked me what life was like for me as a teenager,” she says. “I could choose to lie and say it was sunshine and lollipops. Or I could talk about what my experience was really like, which was not great for me. I decided to be honest. When the article came out, I wanted to throw up. I started receiving letters from men and women, who told me they were seeking help, seeking treatment, and I felt that this was right. What matters is that people feel like they’re not alone.”

Now, Bellisario, 31, stays healthy by taking care of herself. “I’m a very, very active person. I don’t like sitting around. I have a lot of energy. I like dance classes, hiking, even just walking around,” she says.

[From Yahoo!]

I believe that everyone has their own approach to makeup and that it’s an individual choice. As I often say, I don’t like to go without makeup and almost always put it on before I leave the house. I don’t do a full face every day nor do I wear heavy makeup for the day, it just depends on my plans. That said, I’m starting to do more outdoorsy activities and I’m wondering how I’m going to adapt my makeup routine for things like camping, festivals, etc. There’s a freedom to being comfortable with yourself without makeup and I’m not there yet. Troian had a camping-themed wedding so she probably is one of those more natural types and isn’t wearing much day-to-day. I don’t think this issue is unique to PLL by any means though. The actresses on just about every show are perfectly made up with gorgeous hair. Personally I love to see that and often find inspiration for different looks.

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Photos credit: Freeform, PCNPhotos, WENN

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35 Responses to “Troian Bellisario: The makeup on Pretty Little Liars creates a ‘false expectation’”

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  1. Really, really glad she’s open about her ED struggles. As for the makeup stuff, meh. The lady doth project too much.

    • DeniseMich says:

      I understand what she means about makeup. People have literally acted as though I was a completely different person when I was not ‘done’.

      Also her comment could have been shade. She may not look as white with out the studio makeup and lighting. Her mother is black.

      • WeAreAllMadeofStars says:

        Her mother and sister on the show also have a kind of ambiguous look to them. I don’t think they’re trying to hide her ethnicity.

  2. detritus says:

    I have a complicated relationship with makeup and feel very mixed about it right now. As the daughter of an Avon lady, I was using it because it was around at a fairly young age, and i loved it. I still love how different you can make yourself look, how it can be expressive and artistic.

    But I can’t help feeling uncomfortable with it because it’s such a gendered social expectation. Women are expected to wear makeup, or it’s notable. It’s expected and studies show you are treated as more competent and professional. The idea that we put this social tax on women, a time and financial tax, because we expect them to be different than men. That 5-10 minutes 5x a week for the rest of my life that I will spend to look professional, that a man never needs to take. That could have been put into learning a new skill, self care, whatever, it adds up.

    • You don’t have to choose. You’ve said how much you enjoy it so to not use makeup because of misogyny is as unjust as wearing it because of misogyny. Do you and feel as beautiful as you look either way.

      • detritus says:

        I very much agree with this sentiment, but I’m a little more conflicted about makeup than maybe it sounded.
        I very much enjoy event makeup, on the weekends , for a wedding, a nice dinner out, etc. I HATE having to do it every morning, especially in the summer with extra sunscreen.

      • Pinetree13 says:

        I think it isn’t that simple Erin. I spend 20 minutes doing my makeup every morning for work because I am treated completely differently when I am made up vs my natural face. We can’t pretend wearing makeup is a consequence free choice when it isn’t. Society absolutely reinforces that women should wear makeup.

    • Digital Unicorn (aka Betti) says:

      I don’t always wear a full face. It depends on how my skin looks (i suffer from sensitised skin thats prone to outbreaks of eczema). If my skin is looking good i tend to just wear some under eye concealer, mascara and a multi use blusher/lipstick (NARS has some great ranges).

      • detritus says:

        I tend towards basic on most days, which is why I can be only 5 minutes thankfully.
        I think I may use a touch more than you, but I’ve only just started with lip colour, which is so fun.

    • Ramona Q. says:

      I remember back in 2008 reading about the Obama/Clinton primary race that O had so many more hours to dedicate to campaigning or sleeping because he had no makeup/hair routine everyday. That struck me as significant.

      • tweetime says:

        Definitely significant. Also the concept of it erasing when women are struggling at all. My male coworkers sometimes get sent home when they look tired or ill. I have the magic of concealer so could be on my deathbed and people would be like “oh, you’re good”.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        tweetime, I was ill recently and simply couldn’t be arsed to put on makeup in the morning. Try it. I was sent home with the words “Please go to bed. I don’t want to see you before next week.”

      • detritus says:

        Lol Littlemissnaughty one of the few benefits on the head.
        If you don’t wear makeup, people think you are deathly ill.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      It’s a valid point. I’m not under the illusion that I only love makeup because that’s my personality. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE makeup, it’s just so much fun. But I know that the environment I grew up in, being bombarded with ads etc. from day 1, the expectation on women to be “pretty” and to do everything to achieve that goal, has contributed to my love for it.

      Having said that, I don’t think it’s makeup itself or people’s love for it that’s the problem. The problem is the target market. Women. You can look at it from an oppressive side, yes. Although in my everyday life I see and meet plenty of women who don’t wear a stitch of makeup and nobody cares. The other side is that I also know a few guys who are very into beauty products and some love makeup. Man, the sh*t they have to deal with.

      I’m not saying men are the true victims of the beauty industry, no way. But as you say, sex and gender are a big part of it and if we can remove that notion, it would help a lot. People will still disagree with the concept of makeup because it will most likely always involve expectations, whether towards men or women or anyone.

      But if you love makeup, not wearing it won’t help anyone and it won’t make you any happier. It’s a symptom, not the underlying issue. Now, for me personally, those minutes spent on it are a bit like meditation. I can play around with crayons (so to speak) and just get ready for the day.

      Having said all of that, I have started to go without a bit more often recently because my skin is changing now that I’ve passed 30 and sometimes I just can’t be bothered when I know I may have to moisturize in another hour.

      Sorry for the rant. It’s an interesting topic for sure.

      • detritus says:

        don’t be sorry for the rant, this is exactly what i’d love to talk about.
        its so hard to pick out WHY you like something, and when it aligns with cultural norms I like to try to pick at it.

        I do really like the idea of seeing makeup and significant makeup use as a symptom, an outcome. It puts it into perspective a bit.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I try to look at it this way. It’s about respect. That’s what all these discussions usually come down to. Respect for me as a person above all else. If you respect women (people in general), do you care if they wear makeup? If they don’t? No. If you don’t respect them, you will pick at them for wearing it and for not wearing it. You will judge them for being working moms, for being stay-at-home moms, or for not being moms at all.

        If you respect my choices, you will respect the makeup and the bare face. And I will feel much more comfortable wearing it or not wearing it, knowing it doesn’t affect how people see me.

        A guy once told me in the most condescending way that I look great without makeup. I was wearing about 8 products on my face but it had been a full day and we all know that it looks “natural” by hour 12. I told him that and he proceeded to tell me that less is more, I don’t need it at all blah blah blah. I responded that that is not the point. He did not get it. “But you don’t need.” – “But I like it.” I swear to god, a lightbulb went off. That was something he hadn’t considered. In his mind, women spend billions and billions of their income on these things for ONE reason. Men. So he basically thought that, what, his compliment would finally allow me to get rid of it? That I was waiting all these years for a guy to tell me I was pretty enough to not wear it? F*ck that.

        THAT is the problem. The attitude and expectation.

        ETA: Oh my god, this topic. :-D

      • detritus says:

        ugh that story.
        i had a friend tell me the same thing,’ why do you do that, guys don’t like it’
        as if my entire life and appearance should be about maximizing how attracted dudes are to me.

        loling at the no makeup thing though. A lot of men think 30 minute full face is ‘no makeup’ if you aren’t wearing obvious lip and shadow.

    • justcrimmles says:

      Don’t forget the people who judge women who do wear it, too. The “take her swimming on the first date” crowd. Damned if we do/don’t.

      Personally, I love makeup, always have (if eyeshadow love was a sexual orientation, then I knew from age two.) I’ll never apologize for that, because it makes me happy and only hurts my bank account. Anyone who expects me to wear it, simply because I was born with a vagina, can piss right off. Including my mom, who used to say that if I just “put on a little makeup,” I could “find a fella.” I met my husband while wearing a men’s shirt from target and not a stitch of makeup, so… I say do what makes you happy, be it full on Tammy Faye or nothing at all. As for outdoorsy makeup, tinted moisturizer with SPF.

      • detritus says:

        UGH that nonsense. its like guys who judge thin women for eating salad and heavier women for eating burgers.

  3. LAK says:

    I think it’s unfair to dismiss her career as ‘Tory Spelling’- esque just because her parents are in the business because there are many famous people with similar advantage. Everyone from Laura Dern to GOOP to Kate Hudson.

    • fiorucci says:

      I think she has more potential than tori ever did, she’s my favourite one on that show. Tori, though she may be a nice person, was probably no ones favourite on 90210. Troian has some “it factor” at least.
      Love her comments on honesty and beauty standards too

      • WeAreAllMadeofStars says:

        Yeah, I like her too. She’s a very Un-Hollywood woman to have made it in Hollywood, and I would think that that’s partly attributable to having had a leg up in the biz.

      • G says:

        +1 She’s great. I stopped watching the show early on but she has something about her. She seems thoughtful, and like she has common sense (i.e. the opposite of Tori Spelling).

    • Niana says:

      I agree. Nepotism is an unwieldy beast giving us a lot of awful “actors” with zero talent, but it’s also brought us some genuinely very talented actors: Laura Dern, as you said, and the Gyllenhaals too.

    • Nicole says:

      Very true. Her parents have zero to do with her show and the movies she’s been doing. Spelling was put on her dad’s show. Actually Troian’s brother is actually on her dad’s show NCIS. And while I love his character the most (besides Gibbs) of there’s a case of nepotism it’s there. Spencer is also my favorite character on PLL by far.

  4. Eleonor says:

    Makeup, photoshop, plastic surgeons and the Kardashian women create false expectations.
    Did I forget something ?
    I live makeup-free…not because I am self confident, but because I’m lazy. I’ve never learned properly, and in the morning I’m quite a zombie, and in the end I say to me: if I have to look natural I’ll go natural, it takes less time.
    I am lazy.

    • PrincessMe says:

      LOL, me too Eleonor.
      I have really sensitive skin which is prone to breakout for the slightest thing. But I still go makeup free because I’m lazy as heck about that kind of thing and don’t know how to do makeup properly. I don’t care about having a ton of colors on my face, but I wouldn’t mind my skin looking “flawless”. But… lazy. I have enough things to do in the morning, I really don’t want to add to the list.

  5. Barrett says:

    First world problems

  6. Lucy says:

    I love Troian. I am aware of the fact that she’s had a privileged upbringing, but at the same time, she’s very talented and hard-working. And while it’s true that PLL is big on fashion and styling, the people who are in charge of that area are great at what they do.

  7. Mannori says:

    She’s a terrible actress, let’s start with that. Not that she’s expected to be a Meryl to start with, but having watched her in other stuff I’ve noticed that she’s just awful and not to be mean but not even noticeable for her looks either. So for sure being the daughter of a powerful guy like her father helped her. On a related note also, she and her husband are besties with Chris Pine, like really really close. Adams is probably Pine’s best friend.

  8. Rosie says:

    She is so beautiful, is don’t know much about her but she seems like she’s a smart young woman.

  9. Ariana says:

    I mean, just talking about myself, but I enjoy watching shows that are made up and where the fashion is on point, I don’t really want to see “reality”. I see reality every morning in the mirror and at work. I’m fine with having an evening off.

  10. prettylights says:

    I love makeup and wear it because I like to, not because I feel like I have to. Sometimes I go super natural and sometimes I like to glam it up. I’ve never been the heavy contouring/perfect eyebrows/fake lashes type though. I have a makeup collection worth probably between one and two thousand dollars at this point but that thought doesn’t bother me because I like it and it’s a relaxing and fun hobby to me. I do online reviews of products so I get to write about it too and keep my skills up. However it doesn’t bother me to hang out at home with my husband without makeup or be seen without it if I’m camping with friends or something. I feel like it enhances my face but I still feel confident without it.

    @celebitchy I am very outdoorsy (camping, hiking, skiing, biking, festivals etc) and the way I change my routine is generally just by wearing less/carrying less with me. If I am camping I bring foundation with SPF, a separate face SPF product, concealer and an Origins palette with a matte dusty rose blush and 2 simple eyeshadow colors. Also mascara and some ‘my lips but better’ lip products. That way if I feel like wearing a little makeup I can but I don’t feel like I have to. If my skin is doing well with no breakouts then I might not even put anything on but the SPF products. I always have color on my lips though because they are pale and without something I look very washed out. At the end of the night and in the morning, if I don’t have running water, I use Neutrogena makeup removing wipes. As I’m getting older (I’m 32) I am much more focused on taking good care of my skin so I need less foundation/concealer. I have been using Lumene products and absolutely love them!

  11. Leslie says:

    I hate wearing makeup. I hate the process of putting it on, and I hate the feeling of stuff on my face. Makeup just is not for me.

  12. mkyarwood says:

    Outdoorsy routine = a giant bottle of Atonement rose toner, St. Ives collagen moisturizer, pressed powder w/zinc and sometimes mascara but not usually. With a damp face cloth, the toner washes your face at night. Keeps it from getting dried out in festival sun, etc.