It would be a show by I. Marlene King if something unbelievable didn't happen right out of the gate — I mean, this is the woman who reigned over Pretty Little Liars for all those years. Now, she's in charge of spinoff PLL: The Perfectionists, and boy oh boy, does the premiere of The Perfectionists have one in store. Who is Taylor Hotchkiss on The Perfectionists? Hayley Erin, the actress who plays her, has to hide so much. "Keeping secrets is not easy," she tells Bustle in an on-set interview.
A big part of the mystery of The Perfectionists has to do with Taylor and her apparent suicide. The whole Beacon Heights community is rocked by her death because she was the golden child — rich, smart, beautiful, and from the perfect family. Basically a beacon of the community. It turns out, though, that Taylor isn't dead at all! This was a huge secret, so huge that Erin doesn't even have a character name if you look on her IMDB page for The Perfectionists. Instead, Taylor is in hiding, and she's trying to tackle the very foundational structures of her small, insular community. You go, girl. It's here that Taylor is undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts, Erin says.
"I think Taylor is a really cool girl, she grew up in this affluent, really powerful family, and obviously was under pressure to be a perfectionist. And she sort of freed herself from that pressure and she’s now on her own mission," she says, "I think in shedding the pressure she’s been under her whole life, she’s been able to come out of it and serve herself for the first time. So, she’s on her own path of discovery. I think she’s growing rapidly."
And the mystery surrounding Taylor is precisely why Alison blew into town — she loves to trace the untraceable (since she, you know, used to be untraceable). Though Erin is mum about what happens next to Taylor on The Perfectionists, but she was able to spoil a bit about whom she's been partnering with. "I’ve been working a lot with Sasha, so I sort of know her the best," Erin says, "But it’s been fun integrating with the rest of the cast and getting to know them and work with them." Erin went onto say that it was "isolating" being the one character apart from the others, but perhaps that nod to "integration" means that slowly everyone will know that Taylor is still alive.
Pretty Little Liars fans are loyal and, well, fairly rabid about their favorite show, and Erin says that she's ready to embrace them. "I’m so excited! They’re so dedicated. I was on a soap opera before and there’s a lot of crossover fans, fans who I've known from the soap opera were HUGE Pretty Little Liars fans," she says. "Most of what I knew about PLL before comes from my fans that I follow on Twitter, so I’m really excited to share more with them." And we as fans can't wait to watch everything unfold.
Additional reporting by Karen Fratti.