It is a truth universally acknowledged that Rosewood, Pennsylvania is a place where anything can happen. Time is fluid, owning a shovel is a felony, adrenalized hyperreality is an actual medical diagnosis — and for a while it seemed like the Sapphic gods were just raining down beautiful gay ladies to date the town’s most favored lesbian. One of those gifts from the gods was Paige McCullers. Over the course of three seasons, we have watched her wrestle with accepting her sexuality, wrestle with the decision to come out to her friends and family, and wrestle with her feelings for Emily Fields. Actually, we’ve also watched Paige literally wrestle Emily, right to the bottom of a swimming pool.
One of the the things that makes Paige so real and relatable is the way Lindsey Shaw throws herself into playing the character. If it’s an attempted drowning, she’s game. If it’s karaoke, she’s up for that too. Drunken cupcake sleuthing, roofied pratfalls, dizzying displays of lightning biking? Lindsey is all in. But it turns out her soft spot is playing a really good girlfriend to Emily. Lindsey chatted with me yesterday about why she’s such a big Paily fan, what kind of hijinks we can expect from Paige in the future, and how glad she is that Paige is leading ABC Family’s “#BetrAyal” Suspect Tracker.
AfterEllen: The last time we chatted, Paige had finally come out to herself and to Emily out loud, but she’s been through a lot since then. Can you talk me through Paige’s evolution a little bit, from her fear of coming out of to her family to the terror of not being able to find that coconut cupcake to the joy of finally getting the girl?
There’s a softness and a sweetness to Paige that we haven’t seen before, and in some ways, it’s like she and Emily are seeing each other for the first time. Paige feels like a complete person now that she’s come out, and she wants to start this new chapter of her life with Emily. Emily is so caring, and we get to see her really fall for Paige, and, honestly, Paige has always been in love with her. So the love is finally just ramped up!
All photos courtesy of ABC Family
AE: I actually, sadly, thought we’d probably seen the end of Paige, so I was so excited when she was back for the masquerade ball in season two. How did you feel when you found out they were bringing you back?
AE: Whenever I talk to you, you always seem to have such an affinity for Paige. You seem to just really like her.
More than once, Paige has moved me to tears. I have so much compassion for her, and for her courage. We can say, you know, It Gets Better, and then we can see that it actually has gotten better for Paige, in a relatively short amount of time. Seeing her struggle, seeing her find the light in her own darkness, it’s given me clarity for my own life. And I could not be more grateful for the opportunity to play her, and for the wonderful writing this Pretty Little Liars team continues to give to me.
AE: Speaking of the writing team, Marlene King said Paige is going to throw us for a loop before this season is over.
AE: Well, now that you mention it, I’ve seen some pictures floating around on Tumblr of you on a set and you’re covered in blood. Some people are speculating that it’s a flashback of Paige killing Maya, and some people are saying, “No, it’s from a movie where Lindsey played a werewolf.”
AE: I’m glad you mentioned Paige’s clothing situation. We have seen her go through a serious style evolution.
AE: My boss talked to [PLL costume designer] Mandi Line at TCA the other day, and she said she wants to make Paige into this soft butch character.