Janel Parrish on Mona and Hanna, the Head A reveal and her picks for the Hot 100

As one of Pretty Little Liars‘ fan favorites, Janel Parrish plays Mona Vanderwaal, Hanna’s frenemy who also took a turn as one of A’s placeholders before dying and then coming back to life. But no matter how badly Mona might be behaving (she won Choice TV Villain at the Teen Choice Awards two years in a row), she’s someone we love to watch, whether it’s working with the Liars or against them because no one really ever knows if she’s trustworthy. 

Janel herself, though, is a different story. A muli-talented performer, the 26-year-old actress/singer took home third place on Dancing with the Stars last year and just came off a stint starring in The Unauthorized Musical Parody of Cruel Intentions in Los Angeles. Outside of Pretty Little Liars, she also starred in the 2015 film The Concerto, lending her voice to the soundtrack as well.


We spoke with Janel at the ABC party at TCA on Tuesday night, where she told us she had no idea that queer women were such big Mona fans. 

AfterEllen.com: How was doing Cruel Intentions the Musical?

Janel Parrish: It was a blast. One of my best friends, Jordan Ross, actually wrote the musical version that we did. He adapted it from the movie to stage and it was an amazing run. Katie Stevens, who was doing it, had to go to Nashville for a bit and Jordan asked me to step in. I’m so glad that I did. It actually ended up getting extended once I joined the cast so I was able to do two months of it, and it was just the best. I mean, who doesn’t love Cruel Intentions? So scandalous!


AE: Yes, you got to have some lesbianish moments!

JP: Yes, I got to french kiss two of my friends on stage, both girls—in front of my parents. I was like, “Sorry, parents!” And pretend to give somebody a handjob so it was definitely very scandalous. But I got to sing all of the ’90s songs so that was amazing.


AE: So I’m sure you are aware of this, but many lesbian and bisexual women are huge Mona fans.

JP: They are?!


AE: Yes! Did you not know this?

JP: [laughs] No! I mean, I knew they loved Emily, but I didn’t think they loved me. Woah, thanks guys!


AE: Yes, and there’s speculation or hope that Mona and Hanna might have had or could have a romance.

JP: I’ve heard that theory a couple times. I would have fully supported that, actually. Because I think Mona was extremely sensitive about Hanna and very obsessed with her, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had taken it in that direction. I do not know that that has ever been an idea or a possibility for the future, but I would have not have been surprised if that could have been a storyline, definitely.


AE: We’re about to launch our Hot 100 poll where our readers vote on the hottest women, not just for their looks but their talent, their intelligence—who do you think is the hottest woman?

JP: The hottest woman, wow! I think Jennifer Lawrence is pretty damn hot—her sense of humor and the way she carries herself. Who else? Claire Danes, extremely smart beautiful woman. I think Rachel McAdams is so sexy because of her class. She’s so classy. And obviously Angelina Jolie is just the baddest, hottest bitch ever. I feel like I just have to throw her in there. But yeah, I have a lot of respect for women that are not only smart but are self-aware and extremely classy.


AE: OK, and I know you cannot say anything about who A is, but if you would have been able to choose who A was, who would you have picked?

JP: Me! Honestly, I think that Mona would make an amazing Head A and I was kind of hoping for that, to be honest. Also, it was just so fun to play the villain, and it would make sense, given Mona has done the job before and she’s so smart and a manipulator. But I was not disappointed when I find out who A was. It make so much sense and people will be shocked and I think that they will really like the twist. I really do.


The Pretty Little Liars season finale airs next Tuesday night on ABC Family.