PLL Star Sasha Pieterse Talks Body Image, Social Media, & Future #Emison Reunion On YT

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Monica Schipper/Getty Images for POPSUGAR

We stan a lady in feathers almost as much as we stan a woman feeling confident in her own skin and Sasha Pieterse was both of those things during her panel at POPSUGAR Play/Ground on Saturday, June 22. the whisp got to sit down with the Pretty Little Liars alum after she took the stage with other young stars like Peyton List and Sydney Sweeney, and she spilled the tea on everything from social media negativity, her struggles with PCOS and body image, and her brand new YouTube channel.

“It was really good to hear everything [Sydney and Peyton] had to say. I think what’s great about POPSUGAR Play/Ground is that not only do you get to get to talk about things that you love, but you also get to really be inspired by everybody else around you. It’s such an inspirational and powerful place to be because everything is so happy, everybody is about supporting each other, but we also get to talk about serious things,” she told us.

One of those serious things that they discussed was the pressures to make it in Hollywood as a child actor. While all three were lucky in having supportive parents who just wanted them to be happy, not everyone in the industry has had the same fortune.

“I think the most surprising part [of our panel] was seeing actually how similar a lot of our stories are because we started so young in the business, at least Peyton and I did. We have similar experiences but also different ones,” she said. “I love that she and I have really kind of held to our parents’ supportive nature. I think that is so lucky because I feel like a lot of child actors — when they get their start — have really pushy parents that are those typical stage moms that really just force their kids to [act] even if they don’t really love it.”

She continued, “But with her and I, we really had parents that inspired us and made sure that it was something that we loved rather than something that we were forced to do. I think because of that we have these really healthy conversations about social media and the pressures that we have. At least for me, that’s one thing that I’m so thankful for; that I have good people around me that can ground me and that help me not get stuck in a rut of all the negative comments and replies and thought processes.”

It’s no secret that celebrities — especially young female celebrities — all suffer their (un)fair share of public scrutiny. Sasha started on PLL in 2010 when she was 14 years old. By the time the show wrapped in 2017, the actress had struggled to learn more about her Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) diagnosis, as a result of a change in weight. PCOS is a hormonal condition that oftentimes leads to weight fluctuation, irregular periods, and mood disorders.

“Everybody that I went to that should have been able to help me just kind of brushed me off and told me that I had to be lying about exercising and eating the right stuff because I’m obviously living an unhealthy lifestyle. They thought I’m obviously just eating ice cream and whatever I want to — and by the way, that was a female gynecologist telling me that. The fact that we as women still tear each other down like that — especially a doctor — is so sad.”

“I had to learn self-love from myself which is kind of a tough lesson. I think that’s also why, in this day and age, it takes us longer [to learn self-love]. Because even when we have really good people around us, the outside voices can be extremely loud… and it really is just as simple as people don’t like the way you look. It’s a tough challenge to kind of overcome that and realize that you need to be comfortable in your own skin. I think once you understand that you’re the punching bag, you’re not the problem — that they are just acting out because of stuff that they’re dealing with, that really helps you.”

Another thing that helped Sasha was to find her love for cooking — the 23-year-old has a cookbook coming out this fall called Sasha in Good Taste: Recipes for Bites, Feasts, Sips & Celebrations — but self-care isn’t just about eating healthy, it’s about indulging every once in a while, and her philosophy shines through in her cookbook, too. “Even though some of those recipes are very indulgent, you’re not supposed to eat those every single day. But they’re still made with really fresh ingredients and I think that’s also something that’s really important to realize is you actually should be having the whole milk instead of the one-percent. It’s much better to have those real ingredients than to eat something that has fillers and fake ingredients in it — chemicals and all that stuff. Treat yourself every now and then.”

Cooking has also been a focus on her new YouTube channel, Sasha In Good Taste, where she posts recipes, DIYs, life hacks, and more. And while you can just watch her weekly videos to find out more about what she’s doing as a full-fledged YouTuber — we obviously had to ask whether her new YouTube channel would feature a glimpse of her former Pretty Little Liars co-star Shay Mitchell, who also has a popular YouTube channel.

“I would absolutely love to do a collab with Shay. It’s something we’ve talked about a couple of times throughout the years and that’s something both of us really want to do.” Another YouTuber she wants to collaborate with? Meghan Rienks. The one obstacle is that Sasha’s been doing a heck of a lot of traveling lately (upwards of 30 flights in six weeks!) and having time to sit down with friends like Shay and Meghan to film a video is not easy.

But she’s got a positive outlook on the sometimes-stressful life of a public figure jet-setting off all over to events like POPSUGAR Play/Ground. “It’s champagne problems.”

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