Sasha Pieterse Filmed the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Pilot When She Was Only 12

One of the most popular teen dramas of all time was the Freeform show Pretty Little Liars. Featuring an attractive, talented cast of fresh faces, and a riveting storyline, Pretty Little Liars ruled the airwaves for seven years, before the series ended in June 2017.

While the show might not be in syndication anymore, the reruns are getting plenty of play, and fans keep coming back to the show and the characters they love. Sasha Pieterse was one of the more popular characters on the show. She played Alison DiLaurentis, a teen queen who ruled her school.

With the exciting news that the show is getting a spinoff, which premiered in March 2019, fans are wondering how Pieterse originally landed the role of Alison DiLaurentis and how exactly she will feature in the new spinoff.

Pieterse’s early career

Sasha Pieterse was born in South Africa in 1996. She only lived there for five years, ultimately moving with her family to Las Vegas in 2001. She was raised in Vegas by her parents, who were dancers with an acrobatic dance team. Pieterse was homeschooled until she was 14, and knew from an early age that she also wanted to pursue a career in entertainment.

Well before her tenth birthday, Pieterse was working as a child actor. She was featured in popular TV shows such as Family Affair (landing the part when she was only six years old), House, Stargate SG-1, and Wanted. Pieterse soon turned her attention to films and got parts in 2007’s Good Luck Chuck and 2009’s Without a Trace. 2009 also brought Pieterse her most popular role yet, and one that would soon make her a teen idol for young fans everywhere.

She lands her career-defining role

In 2009, Sasha Pieterse was brought in to audition for the upcoming TV show Pretty Little Liars. According to showrunners, Pieterse almost wasn’t cast in the role of Alison DiLaurentis – instead, they were favoring her for the role of Hanna Marin, a main character on the show. She had read for the role and impressed them all with her maturity and talent, but once the producers found out that she was only 12 years of age, the plans to cast her as Hanna Marin fell through.

Since Pieterse wasn’t yet 16 years of age, she could only work a set amount of hours per work, which eliminated her from the running. However, they realized that she was perfect for another role – that of Alison DiLaurentis.

Although Pieterse admitted in a 2014 interview that she was worried at first how fans might respond to the character of DiLaurentis, she said that as the show went on, she was able to develop more layers and depth to the character. She said that she loved playing DiLaurentis, and her fans seemed to echo the sentiment. Alison DiLaurentis became one of the more iconic characters to develop during the course of Pretty Little Liars‘ seven-year run.

What will she be doing in the spinoff?

In February 2019, it was announced that Pretty Little Liars would be getting a spinoff called Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists. A few of the original cast members would be returning for the show, including Sasha Pieterse, reprising her role as Alison DiLaurentis. 

The Perfectionists debuted on March 20th, and fans raved over Pieterse’s return as Ali. Playing a grown-up version of her character, Pieterse is able to flex her dramatic muscles and really show fans what she’s made of. While there’s no telling what might happen for her character on the show this season, it’s certain that she will keep fans riveted the whole way.