Birth Name: Troian Avery Bellisario
Age: 31, born 28 October 1985
Born and residing in: United States
Height: 5' 7"
Relationship Status: In a relationship
Partner: Patrick J Adams
list by BlackStars
My high school was a private school where you went to an Ivy League. That's just what was expected of you and nothing less. So I grew up never being okay with a 'B' because a 'B' was not good enough.
I've always known people in the spotlight and people who just grew up in LA and had nothing to do with the industry. It's not a glamorous thing to me. It's just a different type of business. I've seen friends go down the path of drugs or letting the spotlight go to their heads. I've witnessed that. It's not a very good option if you want to have a long career like I do and do a lot of different things.
My dad is a successful television producer, director and writer and my mom's a director, and writer. Even when I was young I wanted to be an actress. I knew the actors and the paparazzi. It was just kind of always in my landscape. It was never directed at me, but it was always somewhere so I could see how it operated and I could see it from afar and go 'Wow, that's not really glamorous, it's kind of exhausting not having any privacy.'
I grew up with brothers. Girls terrified me. If a boy was mad at you, he hit you or he'd yell at you. I'm thinking about my brothers. Boys didn't go around just hitting me. But it was easy. With girls all of a sudden she'll tell you 'That skirt looks ugly on you.' And you're like 'Oh you're mad at me! I have to figure out what I've done.'
[about her boyfriend] He's very funny, and very interested in what I wear. He accuses me of dressing like a little boy. I'd wear all of his clothes if I could. When I show up to do dinner wearing a dress, he's like, "Oh my gosh, you look like a lady!"
I'm not a glamorous girl. I don't know how to do my hair. I'm very bad with makeup.
As an actor I really want to be challenged, and I thought that this was a story that needed to be told. It spoke to me not just as an actor, but also as a person.
I'm partial to slouchier, more free clothing. My icon is Patti Smith, so the more rips, the more punk, the more comfortable I feel.
Patti Smith, who is the godmother of rock and roll, is huge. I have her poster up in my room. I am obsessed with her....It's funny, because I try to mimic that, and then I have, like, Audrey Hepburn. I fully believe that, when you're getting dressed up, unless you're going to spend the entire day in jeans or pajama bottoms - which I will do - be a character. So when I dress up, and I want to be Audrey Hepburn, EVERYTHING on me from head to toe is prim and proper, like flats and peg-legged jeans and the Burberry vintage trench coat. Or if I'm gonna be completely ripped t-shirt, it's going to be with ripped tights. You know, my poor family. They're like, "You have money. You're on a show. BUY SOME NEW TIGHTS." And I'm like, "I like these! I ripped them myself!"
[Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte?] When I close my eyes all I see are like two identical sets of abs. I don't know whose abs are friendlier, but they both have lovely smiles so I don't know, I couldn't say.
[about preparing for her role in Lauren] You know, my father was in the military and one of the first things I said was was that I need somebody who is military trained, who can teach me how to walk and salute like a soldier and who will not placate me, or be like, "that was really good for an actor!" I was like "No Bullshit! I need to know when I'm looking bad and when it's wrong and when I'm doing it right."
My agent just contacted me. I looked at the breakdown and it was called Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family. I instantly judged it and I was like, "Oh, I know what this is...." They were like, "Just go out for it." I sat down and I read the scene. I was instantly blown away. I was so mad that they cut the scene out of the pilot, but the scene where Spencer was outside of her family dinner bumming a cigarette from Wren and flirting with him. The very first episode. It was scandalous. Bumming a cigarette as a 16-year-old and flirting with her sister's fiancé. In the middle of the scene, I remember she revealed this one insight into her character and almost breaks down and cries, then pulls herself together. This show is like this mystery. I knew in my head I was the valedictorian of my class. I was a straight-A student. I knew what it was like to be under so much pressure. I could totally relate to this girl. I thought that I would go and they would not like me. I walked in and because I had that attitude, like, "You're not going to give this to me, but I'm going to show you how much I understand this character and what I would do with it." I called my agent and said, "Hey, it went great. I had such a fun time. Don't expect a callback." They called me back an hour later, and were like, "Well, you got a callback." I was like, "That's weird." Then it went on from there. I never would have expected something like that in a million years.
That's really what changed for me: learning how to juggle and learning how to be easier on myself. I'm like Spencer at this point in my life: I get stressed out really easily, and the first thing I have to do is not let myself go down that road.
I've never met any other Troians. I've only been told of them. I came really close. One of my best friends in elementary school went to a different school. Her math teacher heard about my name, and she was going to name her kid that. I remember this whole week where I was freaking out that there was going to be another Troian in the world.
I was definitely a tomboy. My mother liked to dress me differently, but it was her loss when I came home with mud in my hair every day. I've always been more comfortable with guys, I don't know why. But I have always had one best girl friend, and no one gets closer than her.
I was also drawn to the story because it made me aware of an issue that I really had no idea about. I really believe that when taking on a new role, you, as an actor are expanding yourself. You are learning more about another human being's experience in the world and with Lauren, my eyes were opened to a very different world, and also a very tragic one.
It does, but it's also fun. You know, I love theater, and the cycle with theater is, you get the text, you read it at the reading, and that's probably the best you're going to do it, when you first read it fresh. You're just in it every moment, and then you break it down, and then it becomes stale, and then it becomes old, and then you find something new and then it becomes old again, and then you go through all of this rehearsal and bring in an audience and it doesn't work and then it does work, and then, if you're lucky, it becomes effortless again. Almost to the point where you first got it. But you do it over and over again, and there's this freedom in it. So you almost have to just get the script, do as much work as you can, make choices, get it in your body, and then forget about it. It's like doing those three months condensed in one night before you shoot the scene.
One time we didn't get the script until 1 a.m. the day before we were going to start shooting. But, I mean, that's TV. They're working on stuff, they're sending it to the network, they're improving it, and we're really the last people who get it. You know, the hair and makeup people get it before us because they have to start planning, if they need to give a character a certain hairdo or a makeup thing like a black eye. And props gets it way before, too. So there's a production draft that everybody gets, and the actors are the last people to get it, which is really insane-making for me, because I like to have the most time I possibly can with it. So, I actually let it slip that I was stealing the hair and makeup's scripts, because sometimes we'll come in a day or two before the next episode will start, and there will be a hair and makeup draft, and the girls and I will look at each other and be like, "Oh my God, who's going to steal it?" And I said that as a joke in passing, because I thought the producers would find it funny, but then the girl who does my makeup who's really wonderful, she was like, "You got me in serious trouble the other day."
I totally agree. And that's why I love my record player and I try whenever I buy albums not to buy the digital version of them so that I don't have the opportunity so just listen to them on a whim or to pick out songs. I actually have to listen to the album as the artist intended, all the way through, which has such a different quality. I was with my boyfriend and we were cooking and [the record] stopped, and he turned to me and said, "Oh my God, I forgot that you have to turn it over." It was just that one act of engaging back with the music and not just using it as atmosphere in the back of your brain buzzing a hundred miles an hour.
I absolutely looking forward to having my own family, but personally, I have a lot of things to work out before I get there. Right now I'm in this blessed period of having a family that I choose to run with in this kind of pack of friends.
Not only do I want to be an actress, I want to be one on my own and be good at it on my own.
I had the opportunities and I took them for the experience. I was always aware of the nepotism. I didn't feel respect on the set. I didn't focus on what I was doing. I focused on, 'These people think I'm only here for one reason, because of my dad.' I didn't like it.
I had an awareness of how tough it really is from my parents. To me, it's never been, 'You get to be a star!' It's been things like putting on a brave face when they ask you to reshoot a scene at the end of a hard day's work.
My whole life, I joined everything I could -- every club, every sports team. I was really unhappy through a lot of it, there was just so much pressure. The school was the sort of environment that, when they see that someone wants to be the best, they will absolutely push you. It wasn't just getting into an Ivy League, it how many Ivy League schools accepted you. It was becoming valedictorian of the class. I was applying to schools I didn't even know if I wanted to be in - except I 'should' want to be in them.
The difficult thing I tell my fans [who are dealing with something similar] is that it's not something that you get over. I believe in honoring the fact that every day they wake up and take a step toward health, honoring their body and taking care of themselves. Just remembering that they are young, beautiful and unique is worth everything in this world. What's important is making the choice to take care of yourself today. And then making that same choice again in five minutes, in an hour, until one day you're like, 'Hey, what was I dealing with?'
When I was in high school, there was a lot of pressure on me. I felt like I had to be perfect. It's a very wonderful, yet difficult thing to be given a lot of really good opportunities and the world is at your fingertips...I think there's this insane amount of pressure to perform and sometimes when you have an eating disorder, that gets wrapped up in punishment and restriction with food. I definitely went through something like that. Truthfully, I did not address it for a very long time until I was forced to by a very wonderful group of people.
The first time I saw the billboard for Pretty Little Liars I almost got into a car accident!
Everybody's really been positive about the show, and I'm really grateful and want people to enjoy it. But I don't know how much I'm really into celebrating. What you have to love is the work, not the success.
My dad told me that night after seeing me in The Crucible that I had done a great job, but the next day one of my favorite teachers told me I had ruined the play for her - that in so many ways I could have gone further. So it's like, I can't attach myself to a negative position, or a positive position. I just take them in. ... (more) (less)
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Themes heist, drugs, kidnapping, coming of age
Genre drama, parody, sci-fi, comedy
Locations paris, submarine, new york
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