When viewers last saw Mona on Pretty Little Liars she was living in Paris and keeping Mary and Alex Drake captive in a dollhouse — seemingly she was the same old Mona. But now it's been a couple of years and actor Janel Parrish's role on The Perfectionists shows Mona in a whole new light. "She’s got a lot of sides, and keeps a lot of secrets," Parrish tells Bustle of her character. "This time it’s different. I think a lot of times on PLL she was the antagonist, and [on The Perfectionists spinoff] she’s kind of one of the heroes."
Hero Mona is definitely something fans can get behind, since she was a fan favorite on the original series even though she was a villain at points too. But has Mona really changed enough for people to be able to totally trust her? This is Mona we're talking about. Ali, who also jumped from PLL to the spinoff, definitely has some reservations.
In a trailer for The Perfectionists, Ali learns that there's been a murder on campus where the two of them both work. She immediately confronts Mona about it. "Mona, where were you when he was killed?" Ali asks. "What kind of person do you think I am?" Mona retorts. "Well..." Ali says, her mind likely flashing back to all the wild, often dangerous things Mona did in Rosewood.
But, this time around, Parrish really does want fans to trust Mona. She told Teen Vogue that her character has grown up a little thanks to a two-year time jump to The Perfectionists. "Obviously, something happens in Paris that leads Mona to Beacon Heights where she decides, 'I need to start over, try to grow up a bit, and not be that person I was when I was living in Rosewood,'" Parrish says of her character's reinvention for the spinoff. That doesn't necessarily mean the old Mona is gone for good, though. "Will she still be Mona? Will she still have secrets? Yes, absolutely, 'cause that's what makes her Mona," Parrish said. "She doesn't always share the whole truth of things that she knows. But can you trust her in this series? I think the answer is yes."
Whether or not Ali will be able to trust her is another story, though. They do have a lot of history together. But Parrish thinks the have enough in common to bring them together into a sort of friendship on the spinoff. "I think it might be one of the most fun things that fans will enjoy," Parrish told Entertainment Tonight of the Mona/Ali dynamic on The Perfectionists. "Mona and Alison always kind of had a tumultuous relationship, but they also have a lot in common as well. So their situation kind of forces them to have to learn how to team up and find a new relationship and I think it is really interesting to watch their dynamic shift."
Parrish was able to spill one other major thing for Mona fans to look forward to on The Perfectionists — she may finally be getting a love interest. "You will start to see some fun romance things happen, too, with Mona," Parrish teases to Bustle. "She’s still trying to figure out how to be romantic."
Mona's always totally on top of everything and so sure of herself. It will be interesting to see her tackle a new side of herself, and a more vulnerable side at that, in a potential romance. Fans can see all of this unfold for Mona, Ali, and a new set of secret keepers when The Perfectionists begins March 20 at 8 p.m. ET on Freeform.
Original reporting by Karen Fratti.