When I Am Entertainment asked those on social media who follow us, which actor they would like
us to interview, an overwhelming number of our young followers ages 12-18 said “Keegan Allen
from the show PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.”
So in this interview, Keegan not only talks about his career and his role on the hit ABC Family
series, he also shares his love for those fans who support the show and give the writers great
IAE: Where are you from and what inspired you to pursue a career in entertainment?
KA: I grew up in LA off of the Sunset Strip. I grew up in the business and the business grew up around
me. My dad is actor and my mom is a painter/artist. I didn’t come into the business as an actor, I was more into
editing and doing things behind the camera. While in high school and college I was really interested in video
production and I wanted to know how the cameras and cinematography worked.
I had always been involved in theater since I was very young. It was always fascinating to me to watch my dad
get into characters and scene studies.
IAE: Did you father encourage you to be get into acting or was he one of those parents that
said try something else?
KA: Thank God, I’m so grateful to have my parents because they never held me back from anything I
wanted to do. If I wanted to be house carpenter they would have supported me. They gave me advice because
this is a dangerous business. It’s basically human behavior science and you’re learning a lot about how human
beings are and taking those emotions and conveying stories to a public audience and to have them remove
themselves from their everyday lives in the form of entertainment. My parents are very supportive and totally
there for me.
IAE: What was your first paid acting gig and how did that come about?
KA: My first paid acting gig, I was about 13 years old I did a small role with no lines on this
Independent film for Animal Planet.
It’s funny because my mom is actually in it and she has lines. She did it as a favor because she came to drop
me off there. I remember I was so petrified working on this film because I wasn’t really sure what to do, but it
was a really fun experience.
IAE: Since you’re from LA was it difficult getting an agent or were you able to get some help
from your parents?
KA: I worked really hard and went to school for 7 years to perfect the craft. It was through focusing and
not getting distracted by other things in life. For instance, most people move out to LA and try to live the “life”
and go out partying first without even really establishing themselves first. I was very fortunate to already be
living here and at a very early age I got to see how that lifestyle destroys lives, relationships, and the like so
stayed away from it.
IAE: You play the role of Toby on PRETTY LITTLE LIARS. Tell us about how you book the role
and did you audition for a different character initially?
KA: I went through a period of time where I was auditioning and it was very premature for me to get out
there because I was still transitioning from theater. Going from theater to film/tv is like going from baseball to
basketball. For instance, theater is all about big reactions because you’re performing for a live audience and
what you do on stage has to hit the back of the theater. But with TV and film the shots are very tight so your
performance can’t be so big, and it has to come through your eyes and body on camera. I had to learn that
and perfect that.
I initially auditioned for the role of Wren Kim and that is now played Julian Morris. Julian is incredible, very
British, very charming and he was a better fit for the role. I obviously didn’t get the role so I ended up doing a
short film, it was French film that my friend shot on the RED (camera). Then I ended up getting another
audition with PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and this time it was for the role of Toby. I had a really good idea about
the character and what the writers were looking for. It was a very interesting role because in the book series
they describe Toby as this crazy weird kid. I wanted to bring a lot of that in but I didn’t want it to pigeon hold the
way I played the character and I think that came across in the audition room and the rest is history.
IAE: What’s the most exciting part about being on the show?
KA: There are a lot of very exciting parts about being on the show. I think the most exciting part is that I
get to work with these amazing directors that are very creative. Our cinematography, Dana Gonzales, is an
incredible Director of Photography. You can tell he loves the vision of the show and he shoots it like that it
would be a movie.
The writers have so many great ideas. Plus, the fans are great! The fans pretty much run the show and tell us
what they want. We didn’t stray too far from the books, but we took what was interesting in the books and ran
with them. If everyone read the books then they would know what’s going to happen next and it wouldn’t be
interesting. So one of the most exciting parts about the show is definitely reading these scripts every week.
IAE: What’s the most difficult thing about being a rising star and having to maintain your
KA: I think the most difficult thing is actually not being able to go to every country and meet all of the fans
of the show. Our scheduling is pretty demanding and I wish we could do a PRETTY LITTLE LIARS tour to do
meet and greets. I feel we owe that to our fans because they are so supportive of us.
IAE: What words of wisdom can you give to fellow actors and actresses out there who are
working hard, training, and going out on auditions but not booking anything?
KA: The only thing that I can say is be yourself and don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do something. You
should really commit to what you want and see the vision of who you are. If there’s someone negative in your
life, even if it’s a parent, just move on and do what you need to do. I know so many kids who have a lot of
talent but because their parents are so negative it’s hindering their ability to really pursue their dreams. Once
you’re old enough to make your own decisions go out and go for it, it’s your life and you should have a say on
what you want to do with it. Believe in yourself and let it propel you forward.
IAE: Just for fun…what’s your favorite color?
KA: My favorite color is red. Red means love, rage, passion and it’s so powerful.
IAE: Favorite type of food?
KA: I like healthy food. I like to eat what makes me feel good. I don’t eat fast foods and I try to eat very
IAE: Biggest pet peeve?
KA: My biggest pet peeve is being lied to. I’m not just saying this because of the irony of the show but the
truth is I’m very good at being able to tell if somebody lies.
IAE: Favorite television shows?
KA: Anything on HBO and Showtime. I also like PRETTY LITTLE LIARS and would watch it even if I wasn’t
on the show.
IAE: What would you like to say to your fans?
KA: I’d like to say thank you to everyone around the world. Everyone keep submitting pictures and videos
and ideas. We look at everything and your support is amazing.
|Keegan Allen - Actor from Pretty Little Liars
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