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It might look like a Troian Bellisario is an urban chic girl in her role as Spencer Hastings in ABC Family’s hit series Pretty Little Liars, but she’s dropping the back-to-school threads for her newest shoot with Flaunt Magazine.

Troian poses for René & Radka in a series of layered denim, leather, fringe, and large cowgirl hats. Inside the magazine, the actress opens up about what it was like being a teenager in real life and how she transferred that over to her character on the series.

“I was a huge nerd. I had giant curly hair—like if I was a cartoon character, I probably would have a huge triangle drawn for my head. I was painfully awkward, and I was valedictorian but I was also voted funniest girl because I think I just ingratiated myself into every group by being funny.”

In fact, Troian thinks she and Spencer share the same nerdy tendencies.

“When I went in to audition for Spencer, I thought they 100% were never going to hire me. But I was 100% confident I was this girl. I was so concerned with being perfect and getting every good grade and being the best at everything and being well-liked, and then on top of that, covering up this insane neurosis and darkness. So [with Spencer] I was like, oh, this is my jam.”

Although she’s always been a good student, acting was her real passion. Troian says that her parents made a deal that would help her balance both school and her acting career.

“It was their big rule that if I’m going to act, I’m allowed to do it on summer vacations and winter vacations. The deal that I made, whether they were aware of it or not, was that I will be the most amazing student until I get to college, and then I can study my craft. I can study my passion and nobody can tell me otherwise, because I [would have] done my time being a good student. So when I got to USC theatre school, it was the first day of my life. I was being the person I really always wanted to be instead of being who everyone else wanted me to be. Which is also why I connect so much to Spencer, because so much of her story was who she wants to be versus who everyone else wants her to be.”

The 28-year-old also opened up about coping with an eating disorder in high school.

“It’s circumstances that pull the trigger. In high school, you’re going through so many changes. I do not fault any parent anywhere; it’s really hard to create a safe environment where you are allowing your child to grow up and away from you, but also one where your kid feels like they can come talk to you. For me personally, I felt like my mental state and my emotional state were threatening to get out and if I let it out everyone would hate me. I think a lot of kids keep everything inside. It’s because they don’t even know who they are. High school is a place that automatically puts you in the spotlight—What are you? Where do you fit in? Are you this? Are you that? Go there. Be happy.”

Check out the rest of Troian Bellisario’s interview in Flaunt Magazine, and take a look at her wild pictures down below.

SOURCE & PHOTO CREDIT: Flaunt Magazine 

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