An interview with Bianca Lawson

 

AE: You do realize that now you’re going to have a huge lesbian fanbase, although you probably already had it started from being on Buffy.
BL:
I’m excited. I’m excited to have a lesbian following!

AE: One thing I really like about Maya, too, is her style. Was that something from the book?
BL:
In the books, she’s a little more Bohemian and I think from the pilot through the second episode through the rest of them, she went through a sort of transformation with the clothes. But our costume designer that we have now is amazing. What’s great about her is … she’s so invested in the characters — she has a reason why the character would wear this or wear that. And so I go in and try on a bunch of things and she also wants to know how the actors feel about the outfit. But I have to say it’s all her! She’s absolutely incredible.

AE: And I like that Maya and Emily don’t look like the stereotypical lesbian character.
BL:
Yeah I love that they both are feminine, girly and sexy and typical lesbian look. They’re a little soft and I think they’re doing a good job with it.

AE: They’re real cute together, too — especially in that photo booth.
BL:
[Laughs]

AE: When you were preparing for the role did you do any lesbian research or did you just go in and do your best gay?
BL:
I just dove right in because I never look at her like "she’s a lesbian character." She’s a person and this is what she’s gone through and these are her characteristics. This is the person that I love; not this is the girl that I love. This is the human being that I love and this is why I love her — I feel connected with her. So that’s how I approached it. … With any lesbian or gay boy friends that I have, I never feel like they have a big flashing sign over their heads saying they’re gay, it’s just that’s who they are! So maybe something subconsciously has settled at the back of my mind and is channeling their queerness.

AE: Were you ever concerned that after taking this role you might be typecast at all and just get offered lesbian roles?
BL:
No and if that’s my fate, then that’s OK! I don’t know, I never think about that. I just try to do the best I can in my work. I think fear runs your life and it can become your fate. You never know how people will relate to something or how things will turn out. … I try not to think that far ahead and I didn’t have any apprehension. I was just excited to play Maya and be on the show and be with such an amazing group of people.

AE: Shay is more of a new actress so I wonder if she had any qualms about playing a lesbian at all.
BL:
I can’t speak for Shay but to me she seemed totally open and relaxed about it from my interaction with her. I don’t think she had any apprehension about it. … She’s a beautiful girl, it was very easy. It wasn’t like "Oh it’s so weird!" It’s like any other kiss; like kissing a boy. It really didn’t occur to me.

Catch "Pretty Little Liars" on ABC Family every Tuesday night.

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