Childhood & Early Life
Ashley Victoria Benson was born on December 18, 1989, to Shannon and Jeff Benson in Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, California. She has an elder sister, Shaylene.
At an early age, she developed a passion for dancing and singing. She aced all the major forms of dance, be it ballet, jazz, hip hop or even lyrical when quite young. Gifted with a melodious voice, she enjoyed singing and appeared in several musicals. At four, she auditioned to sing solo at four Christmas services at church.
By the age of five, she had modelled for several dance catalogues. Three years later, she began professional modelling under the Ford Modelling Agency in print advertisements. Interestingly, she is still associated with them.
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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 some guest roles in television series ‘Nikki’, ‘The West Wing’ and ‘The District’, she wrapped up 2002 by appearing in a Lil' Romeo music video as a schoolgirl.
In 2004, she signed a three-year contract with NBC daytime soap opera ‘Days of Our Lives.’ Featuring as Abigail ‘Abby’ Deveraux, the oldest child of super couple Jack Deveraux and Jennifer Horton, she was commended for her acting skills. The same year, Benson made her big screen debut for the film ‘13 Going On 30’ as one of the six chicks.
Ashley Benson made a brief appearance in the ‘Zoey 101’ episode ‘Quinn's Date’ in March 2005. She also appeared in the music videos for NLT's ‘That Girl’, One Call's ‘BlackLight’, and Hot Chelle Rae's ‘Honestly.’ In 2007, she appeared in the fourth instalment of the ‘Bring It On’ franchise, ‘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 it, she played the character of Mia, the teen-aged daughter of Roxie Torcoletti. Though the series was short-lived and was cancelled due to low ratings, it has gained a cult following ever since.
Ashley Benson ended 2009 on a happy note as she signed a contract to star as Hanna Marin in the Freeform mystery-thriller teen-drama ‘Pretty Little Liars’, based on the novel series by Sara Shepard.
In the series, Benson dons the role of Marin - the ‘diva’ and ‘It girl’ of the group, who has comfortably replaced Alison as the most popular girl at Rosewood High in the latter’s absence. The series premiered to 2.47 million viewers with Benson's performance being praised by critics. She continues to be a part of PLL till date.
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 plot of the film centred on four college students who are arrested and 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 on an episode of ‘Punk’d’ television series.
In January 2013, she was cast on an episode of the CBS sitcom ‘How I Met Your Mother.’ Off late, she has made guest appearances in several television series including ‘Ravenswood’ as Hanna Marin, ‘Barely Famous’ as herself and gave the voice for the character of Dakota in ‘Family Guy.’
Her big screen outing for 2015 and 2016 include ‘Ratter’ where she played the role of Emma Taylor who is stalked through her technological devices, ‘Pixels’ wherein she played the character of Lady Lisa, a fictional game character brought to life, and ‘Elvis & Nixon’ in which she appeared as Margaret.
Ashley Benson’s upcoming projects include the film ‘Chronically Metropolitan’ which is slated for a 2017 release. The film has Benson in the lead role of Jessie. The star cast of the film includes Shiloh Fernandez, Addison Timlin, Mary-Louise Parker and Chris Noth.
Awards & Achievements
In 2011, Ashley Benson won the Young Hollywood Awards’ Cast to Watch (with Troian Bellisario, Lucy Hale and Shay Mitchell) for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’ She also won the Youth Rock Awards in the category of ‘Rockin’ TV Actress’ for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’
In 2014 and 2015, she won the Teen Choice Awards Choice Summer TV Star Female for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’
In 2016, Benson was awarded Teen Choice Awards’ Choice TV Actress: Drama and Choice TV: Chemistry for ‘Pretty Little Liars.’ She shared the latter award with Tyler Blackburn.