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The Pretty Little Liars Cast Strips Down for GQ (and Addresses Those Photoshop Accusations)

05/22/2014 at 09:00 AM ET

Pretty Little Liars naked photosEllen Von Unwerth/GQ

It’s a rite of passage for any teen-soap starlets: The sexy, fashion-y cast photo for a major magazine. The Hills girls did it, the Glee girls did it, and now the Pretty Little Liars stars (above, from left: Troian Bellisario, 28, Shay Mitchell, 27, Ashley Benson and Lucy Hale, both 24) have stripped down to some saucy swimwear for a page in June’s GQ. Styled in retro-glam dos and high-waisted bikinis, the girls play-fight with a male model, goof around with water guns and talk about their post-PLL lives (Benson wants to be in a Woody Allen movie, while Mitchell thinks she’d make a great female Bond).

The cast posted some early looks at the photoshoot on their Instagrams, which immediately got people talking about whether the use of Photoshop was excessive. Since Benson has been vocal about her dislike of Photoshop in the past and Bellisario has talked about her eating disorder, fans seemed surprised that they’d go for such a stylized spread. Bellisario addressed the controversy head-on on her Instagram, posting on-set photos to show how the girls actually looked that day, and writing the below (which we posted unedited, because it’s great):

“So by now you have seen many a shot from #GQ and many people have said that we were photoshopped… OF COURSE WE WERE! that’s a very specific type of photo shoot. And looking very blown out and perfected was obviously what they were looking for. Great. Cool. As long as we acknowledge how it was achieved so we know it’s not real. Here’s some behind the scenes of my body the way it is and was on the day. I’m not mad at how these pictures turned out, the girls and I had an absolute blast. More fun than we’ve had on a photoshoot in a while, and I think you can see that in our eyes and smiles. But it’s the same everywhere. It’s the same way on the posters of our show and even in women’s magazines. This industry seems to invest more in perfection than in flaw. But flaw and individuality, to me, are what make a human being interesting, they make our stories worth telling. (Unfortunately the flaws don’t usually sell products or magazines.) I’m proud of my body and the way it looks because @themarkwildman kicks my butt in aerial. But my hips and thighs are a part of me (even though they magically weren’t in some shots!). I get those things from my momma. And I’m happy to shake what my momma gave me.”

She followed up by posting a snap of the top shot and writing, “I mean. Photoshopped or not. I work with three of the most gorgeous women on the planet. (Goddesses without hair and make up as well).” And judging by the photos her castmates posted on their own Instagrams (both behind-the-scenes and in the mag), everyone was happy with the way the shoot turned out.

For more from the PLL girls, check out GQ.com or pick up the new issue, and tell us: What do you think of the photoshoot? Do you agree with Bellisario’s take on it? Tell us in the comments!

–Alex Apatoff

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Showing 11 comments

Vtmom on

Can you willingly objectify yourself and then call foul on it?

Marie on

And, of course, we need the naked man in the picture to
prove what? The girls are what the picture is about, we
don’t need them stripping the man down. If it were the
other way around, four men and one of them grabbing a
towel from around a naked woman, boy, would you hear
about it!! Let’s not be hypocrites.

Marie on

The point of my comment is that this picture can be published
in the magazine without bringing male nudity into it. And this
naked man near them sends the message that the photo isn’t
worth anything unless it is salacious. I am no prude. But a
nice picture of the cast can run without showing a women
trying to strip a the man of his towel and what dignity he
thinks he has left. And this doesn’t show it.

Jim on

ALL HAIL LUCY HALE!

missk on

Thank heavens she addressed her massive hips and thighs. I couldn’t concentrate on the photo because I was shocked at her gigantic lower half //sarcasm.

Karen on

Love the Pretty Little Liars cast! They’re all adorable!

sandy on

whew, these girls are hot! they dont eat much I can tell you that! haha

sandy on

theres a guy in this pic??

Not enough on

I actually really like Bellisario. The thing is, they didn’t talk about the photoshop before comments questioning the photos were out there. Even if they had, I find it a bit of a lame explanation. They did the shoot because only these photoshop photos sell magazines? Yet, they claim to be against this image. Well, we certainly aren’t going to get the media to stop the madness unless actors refuse the excessive photoshopping – I mean, their legs are even longer! I just wish a woman with an eating disorder and one that claims to hate the artificial look of photoshopping would walk the talk. Furthermore, you can say someone was photoshopped and you can usually tell but if there hadn’t been questions, most young girls would think the skin tone was changed but not their actual bodies. I just think it sends such a pathetic message when beautiful girls like these don’t have the courage to say no way. And if you work with three of the most beautiful girls on the planet without makeup how about seeing that…no fancy lighting either. I know there are pics below but they really don’t show the extent of the photoshopping – I’d love to see them pull the same pose and see how they look. If nothing was questioned, there would have been no comment from one of the actors. At least Bellisario posted something but I still think her logic is flawed. Change will only occur for women when women step up and say take me as I am. I’m sure I will get people here thinking this isn’t a big deal but there are many many young teens out there trying to look like these mid to late 20-somethings, as if they are teenagers because of the show. With shots like this, it is even worse. As for Bellisario and the girls, I wish them every success.

colleen on

I try not to judge people – especially celebs because of one thing or another you read about them. In saying that, Woody movie…really. I did not think I would ever be in a situation where I lost so much respect for Ashley Benson from one opinion or desire….she picked the one thing that truly disgusts me…a desire to work with Woody despite the fact that he is a vulgar excuse for a human being.

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