Who is Ashley Benson?
Ashley Benson is one of the most loved actresses in the contemporary American film and television industry. A child prodigy, she was only four when she made her talent known to the world. A dance enthusiast and passionate singer, she started appearing in musicals and modeled for several dance catalogues when she was a young girl. By the age of eight, she had signed a contract with ‘Ford Modeling Agency’ for a professional modeling career, an alliance she holds till date. It was in 2002 that Benson made her television debut, playing a guest role in ‘Nikki.’ She received her breakthrough role in the NBC soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives,’ wherein she portrayed ‘Abigail Deveraux.’ Following this, she featured as ‘Mia Torcoletti’ in the supernatural television series ‘Eastwick’ and as ‘Brit’ in the 2012 crime thriller film ‘Spring Breakers.’ Though she had played a number of roles, it was her role as ‘Hanna Marin’ in ‘Pretty Little Liars’ that catapulted her to stardom. Benson’s performance in the series received both popular and critical recognition and even won her several awards, including the ‘Teen Choice Awards’ and ‘Young Hollywood Award.’
Childhood & Early Life
Ashley Victoria Benson was born on December 18, 1989, in Anaheim Hills, California, USA, to Shannon and Jeff Benson. She has an elder sister named Shaylene.
At an early age, she developed a passion for dancing and singing. She became proficient in several forms of dance, such as ballet, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical when she was quite young. Gifted with a melodious voice, she enjoyed singing as well and appeared in several musicals. At the age of four, she auditioned to sing solo at four Christmas services in the church.
By the age of five, she had modeled for several dance catalogues. Three years later, she began professional modeling in print advertisements under ‘Ford Modeling Agency.’ She is still associated with ‘Ford Modeling Agency.’
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By 1999, Ashley Benson was pretty sure of what she wanted to do in life. She started pursuing acting and began appearing in a number of commercials, films, and television projects in minor/guest roles.
After playing guest roles in television series like ‘Nikki,’ ‘The West Wing,’ and ‘The District,’ she wrapped up 2002 by appearing as a schoolgirl in a Lil' Romeo music video.
In 2004, she signed a three-year contract to play a role in the NBC daytime soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives.’ She played ‘Abigail "Abby" Deveraux,’ the oldest child of ‘Jack Deveraux’ and ‘Jennifer Horton,’ and was commended for her acting skills. The same year, Benson made her big screen debut in the film ‘13 Going On 30’ where she played a supporting role.
In March 2005, Ashley Benson made a brief appearance in an episode titled ‘Quinn's Date’ in the comedy drama TV series ‘Zoey 101.’ She also appeared in several music videos, namely NLT's ‘That Girl,’ One Call's ‘Black Light,’ and Hot Chelle Rae's ‘Honestly.’ In 2007, she appeared in the fourth installment of the ‘Bring It On’ franchise titled ‘Carson in Bring It On: In It to Win It.
�In 2008, she played a witch disguised as a cheerleader in an episode of the CW series ‘Supernatural.’ She also appeared in ‘CSI: Miami’ and ‘Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal.’ As for films, she starred as ‘Alice’ in ‘Bart Got a Room.’
In 2009, she starred in the ABC television series ‘Eastwick.’ In the series, she played the character of ‘Mia,’ the teen-aged daughter of ‘Roxie Torcoletti.’ Though the series was canceled due to low ratings, it has gained a cult following ever since.
Ashley Benson ended the year 2009 on a happy note as she signed a contract to star as ‘Hanna Marin’ in the Freeform mystery-thriller teen-drama series ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ based on a novel series by Sara Shepard.
In the series, Benson played the role of ‘Marin’ who replaces ‘Alison,’ played by Sasha Pieterse, as the most popular girl at ‘Rosewood High’ in the latter’s absence. The series premiered to 2.47 million viewers and Benson's performance was praised by the critics. She was part of the series from 2010 to 2017.
Following the stupendous success of ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ Ashley Benson starred in the television film ‘Christmas Cupid’ in 2010, alongside Christina Milian and Chad Michael Murray.
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The actress returned to the big screen in 2012 with the film ‘Spring Breakers.’ The film revolved around four college students who get arrested and subsequently bailed out by a drug and arms dealer, who then makes them do some dirty work on spring break. The same year, she also appeared in an episode of the popular reality television series ‘Punk’d.’
In January 2013, she was cast in an episode of the CBS sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ She then went on to make guest appearances in several television series, including ‘Ravenswood’ and ‘Barely Famous.’ She also voiced the character of ‘Dakota’ in ‘Family Guy.’
In 2015, she was seen in ‘Ratter’ where she played the role of ‘Emma Taylor’ who is stalked through her technological devices. The same year, she was also seen in ‘Pixels’ wherein she played the character of ‘Lady Lisa,’ a fictional game character brought to life.
In 2016, Benson was seen in the film ‘Elvis & Nixon’ where she played ‘Margaret.’ The same year, she was also seen in the film ‘Chronically Metropolitan’ where she played the lead role of ‘Jessie.’ The film also starred actors like Shiloh Fernandez, Addison Timlin, Mary-Louise Parker, and Chris Noth.
She starred in the drama film ‘Her Smell’ in 2018 alongside Elisabeth Moss, Cara Delevingne, and Dan Stevens. In 2019 and 2020, she appeared in music videos, such as 'Can't Wait' and 'Imagine (Quarantine Edition)' respectively.
Though Ashley Benson is best known for her performance in the television series ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ wherein she played the role of ‘Hanna Marin,’ she first came into prominence after playing ‘Abigail Deveraux’ in the NBC soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives.’ Her innate talent in acting was visible in her work in the series. Benson’s popularity grew by leaps and bounds after the release of films like ‘Spring Breakers’ and ‘Ratter.’
Awards & Achievements
In 2011, Ashley Benson won the ‘Young Hollywood Award’ under the ‘Cast to Watch’ category (with Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale, and Shay Mitchell) for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’ She also won the ‘Youth Rock Award’ under the ‘Rockin’ TV Actress’ category for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’
In 2014 and 2015, she won the ‘Teen Choice Awards’ under the ‘Choice Summer TV Star: Female’ category for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’
In 2016, Benson was presented with two ‘Teen Choice Awards’ for ‘Choice TV Actress: Drama’ and ‘Choice TV: Chemistry’ for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’ She shared the ‘Choice TV: Chemistry’ award with Tyler Blackburn.
Personal Life & Legacy
If online reports are to be believed, Ashley Benson has dated a lot of attractive people from Hollywood, including Justin Thorne, Chord Overstreet, Taylor Lautner, Tyler Blackburn, Keegan Allen, James Franco, and Ryan Good. She started dating Ryan Good in 2011 and maintained an on-again-off-again relationship with him for some time. From May 2018 to April 2020, she dated English model and actress Cara Delevingne.