Bianca Lawson talks marriage equality, Emaya, and that “Pretty Little Liars” finale rumor


AE: In episode 220, when Maya really does sort of act out, I read that Paige was originally slated to be in the episode, but that Lindsey Shaw had a scheduling conflict. Do you think if a Paige confrontation had been there, Maya’s actions would have made more sense?

  Right, there was originally supposed to be a big Paige element in that episode, so what you saw play out onscreen was sort of half of that dynamic. The scene where Emily and Maya are talking on the stairs, they had to rewrite that the night before to fill the space of the Maya/Paige confrontation. Paige was actually supposed to be in the scene at the school too, when Maya was there with her sign. But the scene on the stairs, there was a conversation that was so beautifully written, but we only got to see a portion of it. I’m not sure if they had to take it out for time reasons, or if they’re taking the story in a different direction. There’s so much going on all the time on the show, and the writers are so good at what they do, sometimes there’s just too much good material.

AE: Ooh, tell me more some more missing scenes.

OK! Here’s a good tidbit: In the original season two episode when Maya returns, it’s right around the time when Spencer had pawned Melissa’s engagement ring. So, “A” bought it from the pawn shop, remember? And originally, “A” was supposed to have hidden it in Maya’s dessert the night she met Emily for dinner when she returned, so Maya thinks that Emily is proposing to her. So, she’s like, “Whoa! Oh, my God!” And Emily doesn’t know what to say, because you know how when someone gets a gift and they’re totally beside themselves, you can’t be like, “Whoops! That’s not for you!”

AE: That is the greatest thing I have ever heard.

I know! So, then in the episode after that, when Maya is like, “I really like you, and I’m glad to be back in your life, but I really think we should take things slow,” that was actually a response to her thinking Emily had proposed, like after me giving the ring back.

AE: Amazing. This is amazing. Oh, the fan fictions you’re setting in motion right now.

It’s actually really fun as an actor to watch these stories take shape. Like I said, there’s so much great content on Pretty Little Liars, so it’s so interesting to see how they edit it down and move it around and change it.

AE: Do you feel protective of Maya?

I do. But, you know, I kind of feel that way about all my characters. I remember when we were shooting Save The Last Dance a million years ago, and someone was like, “Nikki is such a bitch.” And I was like, “Oh, but she’s just going through so much.” And they were like, “Oh, you’re one of those actors who can’t say anything bad about any of your characters.”

AE: Whatever. Nikki was the best character in that movie. I should know. I own it on VHS and DVD and I quote it at least once a day. Like, “It ain’t over, bitch!” I just say it to myself out loud when I’m in my office working.

You are so funny. Thank you. I love Nikki. And I love Maya. I just think when you live with this person, you find a humanity in them, and you really get to know them, and you put a little bit of yourself in them. You become very attached to your characters. So, yeah, I really am protective of Maya.

AE: You’ve gotten to play a bigger range of things with Maya this season. There have been some hilarious bits, especially with Pam in that restaurant.

That was so fun. Getting to duke it out with Nia Peeples, it was hilarious. I had a great time with that.

AE: You’ve done serious this season, too. And sexy. And mysterious. What’s your favorite Maya to play?

Oh, I love all of her. I’ve read all of the books, of course, and Maya had some serious personal issues in the books. She was a cutter, she was a bit bipolar. I’m not sure if we’ll get to explore that with her in the future. We’ll see. But I love that in the beginning Maya was so confident and so self-assured and so happy doing her own thing. She loves Emily and she’s committed to Emily, and when she loves someone, it doesn’t even occur to her how that would come off to other people. But, you know, life happens and things can start to chip away at your self-image and your self-esteem, and especially with her being a teenager, she might not have as many tools to manage things. I love playing that too.

But I just really love Maya and Emily’s love story. I’m such a romantic anyway, I’m a sucker for a good romance, and I love them together. I’m so glad they’ve had those tender moments, those intimate moments together.

AE: Well, the fans were obviously ecstatic about that. Now, I know you’re not on Twitter, because fans are asking me all the time to ask me to ask you to get on Twitter, so have you heard from any of your lesbian fans? Your actual army of lesbian fans?

I’m aware a little bit. When I took the role of Maya, I was just excited to be on this show. It’s such a fun show. And I like Maya. It never occurred to me to think, “Oh, she’s a gay character.” But I am so happy now to be playing her, to be a part of that larger conversation. I mean, I honestly think it’s ridiculous that marriage equality is even an issue, that people are actually debating it. Love is love and people are people. But we are in a civil rights moment right now, and I feel really proud that I fell into this character and into this storyline at a time when there are so many boundaries being pushed and such a political conversation about how gay Americans deserve the same rights as all other Americans.

AE: Well, we’re glad you fell into it too. Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Just that I love your site and your recaps are hilarious and I’m obviously honored and proud to have my lesbian fans.

AE: “Lesbian army,” I think I said.

Yes. I’m very, very honored to have a lesbian army.

AE: The army wants me to ask if there’s any time in the future when you’ll consider getting a Twitter.

You never know what the future holds! Never say never!

Pretty Little Liars airs Monday nights on ABC Family.

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