Love her or hate her, Sara Harvey has had a major impact on this season of Pretty Little Liars. After escaping from the dollhouse alongside the Liars, she has moved in with Emily and the two have started a relationship. In this week’s episode, Sara moves out of Casa Fields so she can properly date Emily. But who is this girl really? Is she working for A/Charles?
I sat down with Dre Davis, the actress and model who plays Sara, to find out more about Sara’s intentions, her sexuality, and why she’d want to get stranded on an island with Nina Garcia.
AfterEllen: Given the developments of last night, it’s clear that Sara is interested in dating Emily. Do you think she is queer or just enjoying the comfort and safety that Emily provides?
Dre Davis: That’s a very interesting question, and I’ve thought about that before, because she is only 17, so she is still discovering herself. I think that anyone at 17 is still figuring out who they are, but it is very vital that she’s been out of society for a couple of years, so she’s been essentially out of herself in relation to other people, so I think that it’s kind of new for her, that she’s discovering herself through Emily, but also getting back to anybody touching her…even a finger on her and she quivers, so I think that, you know, there’s a fine line between that. I do think that she’s gay, but this is something that, she’s not just had to discover that right away, but just how it feels at all to be touched by someone else.
AE: When you first signed on to PLL, did you know that you’d be playing a romantic love interest for Emily?
DD: I did know there was going to be a relationship with Emily, because there were two scenes I did in the audition—one of them had a kiss, so that gave it away!
AE: Yeah, I imagine that would. So the majority of your scenes have been with Shay Mitchell—what’s it like to work with her?
DD: It’s been great. She’s really funny, she’s really nice. She’s super-quick on set; they’re all pros, they’ve been doing it for years, and I’m new to TV, I did mostly modeling and theatre work, which is a completely different medium, so I’ve essentially been learning just by watching them. Shay’s been great because she’s so well-adjusted on set, and she’s been kind of guiding me, gradually. She’s been wonderful. They’ve all been very cool, actually.
AE: One of your first gigs was as a model on season 8 of Project Runway. So I have to ask, if you were trapped on a desert island, who would you rather have with you: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, or Michael Kors?
DD: Nina Garcia, she’s quick-witted and honest. I mean, they all are, but I felt like she was pretty smart and a problem solver.
AE: I feel like Nina would get shit done, like she’d build a fabulous shelter.
DD: Michael Kors could build a shelter since he is a designer, but I would pick Nina, that’s my first instinct. She’s a grounded woman.
AE: So, will we be seeing Sara after the big time jump post-summer finale?
DD: You will see me, yes. Sara is there.
AE: PLL has a massive, rabid social media fan base with lots of intense fans. How has that been for you?
DD: Oh my gosh! When I started, my numbers jumped up like crazy, and I was so amazed by the reaction that fans had off the show and how much they enjoyed it and enjoyed interacting with the actors. I’ve definitely gotten a lot of messages, comments and stuff, and the bulk of it is incredibly sweet, it’s like too much! Not in a bad way but everyone’s been so kind. Yeah, there is some negative backlash, which is completely fine. Because I’m in a relationship with Emily, there’s definitely been fans that aren’t happy about that! But I’ve been totally surprised by the reaction I’ve gotten!
AE: Emily fans can be crazy.
DD: The Emison shippers, I’ve heard from them.
AE: So let’s talk about those tattoos Sara got with Emily. On a scale from one to Lauren Conrad, how basic was Emily’s “courage” tattoo?
DD: [Laughs] What are the numbers between? I don’t know how to answer that. Can I say 5? That could be anything, if Lauren Conrad can be a number, I think I’ll stick with 5.
AE: That seems fair. Now, it’s time for the PLL Survival Exercise: you are trapped in Charles’s Dollhouse and you come upon a table. There a three items you can chose from to defend yourself with. They are: a mannequin leg, a creepy old doll that shoots flames, or a beer mug filled to the brim with pot cookies. Which do you choose?
DD: That’s tricky. I’d say the second one because it’s like a weapon but the third one, I don’t like the fact that it has pot in it because I can’t smoke pot, but I do need food, so I’m gonna go with the pot cookies. I think actually that’s the most practical choice.
AE: I don’t consider that third option a weapo—.I consider it dinner. Just kidding.
DD: I need to eat and I like cookies!
AE: Fair enough.
You can catch Dre Davis as Sara Harvey on Pretty Little Liars and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @drelyndavis