Actress Ashley Benson Reveals the Ugly Truth Behind Her 'Pretty Little Liars' Promotional Photos | 22 Words

The cast of Pretty Little Liars is very attractive. In fact, the title of the long-running Freeform show, which focused on the lives of four girls who are tormented by a mysterious villain, literally has the word "pretty" in it. That is the point.

So why were their flyers so overly photoshopped?

This is the question castmember Ashley Benson wants answered.

Benson, who played queen bee Hanna Marin for seven seasons, was always perplexed to find how much she and her costars were photoshopped. “PLL had put up this poster and it was from our first season and it was completely crazy. Nobody looked like themselves," Benson told People.

Benson acknowledges that this problem affects the entire industry.

“Even for magazine covers, they’ll photoshop out a mole, make your boobs bigger or your waist four sizes smaller, and you’re like, ‘That’s not even me,’" Benson said. "You never know how it’s going to turn out because you have no control and you’re not editing the photos, but it sucks when you’re like, ‘Wow. That’s a completely different person.’"

It's a problem even more pertinent to her character.

Hanna was once a shy, overweight girl who was bullied because she wasn't seen as attractive. Then she lost the weight and became a (largely) benevolent queen bee. For the character of Hanna, appearances – and how they're regulated – are even more important.

Why is photoshopping so problematic? Just ask the American Medical Association.

It put out a statement about photoshopping in 2011,  which read, "A large body of literature links exposure to media-propagated images of unrealistic body image to eating disorders and other child and adolescent health problems.... 'The appearance of advertisements with extremely altered models can create unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.'"

But as Benson knows, photoshopping isn't the only way women are told they aren't enough in the industry.

“I was just told I was too fat for a part," she once told Ocean Drive magazine. “I’m a size 2! I cried for 30 minutes, but then you have to let it roll off your shoulders or it could cause a serious eating disorder."

Now, Benson says, she insists on not being photoshopped. Photographers can only do small touch ups. But still, Benson knows she can't exert control over everything.

"I always make sure to tell people, with any s— that I do or anyone else does, that unless it’s announced that it’s not photoshopped, it’s photoshopped."

Benson has a message for her fans or any other person viewing images.

"Don’t get down on yourself for not looking a certain way because it takes a lot of hair and makeup, a ton of good lighting, and after the shoot, it’s all this editing." Yup.