Actress Lucy Hale could not pick me out of a line-up if her life depended on it, yet I could tell you more about her daily routine, thoughts and feelings than I could about my own sisters.
If pressed, I could easily tell you that her dog’s nickname is Elvie, she enjoys a Starbucks treat post gym visit and she currently has a very unfortunate scorpion infestation in her backyard that is in dire need of professional attention.
I don’t know these things because I choose to spend my Friday nights crouched in the bushes outside her bedroom window (frankly, that sounds uncomfortable and a waste of prime Netflix viewing time) or because I’m a super fan who has images of her placed atop a secret alter in my home.
All these facts have simply etched themselves into my brain because I, along with more than 21.5 million other people, follow Lucy on Instagram .She is a master of using the platform to tell her own stories, a prime example of how social media has given us more access to the the lives of celebrities than any paparazzi ever could.
Even if it is through a curated lens.
Opening up her daily life up to a legion of viewers has made the 29-year-old former Pretty Little Liars star one of the most beloved names on social media. However, there is a drastic downside to profiling yourself online and no one recognises that more than Lucy herself.
Nothing says sisterly bonding more than permanently tattooing your body. After years of wanting our grandmothers writing, we did it ! Our Grammy was our favorite person & now she’s even more a part of us. Also, my sister is a badass who raises two kids, teaches combat classes AND goes on tattoo runs with her baby sister ???????? Also, ouch. This one hurt.
It’s an idea she had to face head on while filming her latest movie, the horror flick Truth Or Dare.
In the film her character Olivia goes from stoically using her immense social media following for good to using it in a way that, in the final moments of the film, will send an intense chill down your spine.
During the horror film, Olivia and her friends travel to Mexico where a stranger convinces them to play a seemingly harmless game of truth or dare. Once the game starts, it awakens a demon and then the rules become very simple, and very dangerous.
Tell the truth or die, do the dare or die, and if you stop playing, you die.
“It’s always the psychological stuff in horror movies that terrifies me the most, that moment you never see coming and that’s what I loved about Truth Or Dare,” Lucy told Mamamia.
“The ending of this film is what makes it so unique and the way it involves social media makes it very relevant right now. We can make good decisions with it but we can also make every bad decisions and of course this movie is a heightened example of that.
“What I love about Olivia is that she starts out super sweet but you can see how she becomes so damaged by the end. She ends up putting the entire world at risk.
“The ending of the movie was something that I really struggled with throughout filming because unless you are really in that situation you don’t know what you would do. It’s so easy to say ‘I would save the world’ but if it really comes down to it I might be selfish.
“In real life though, I question everything that I put up on social media on a daily basis.
“I’m very aware of my platform and you definitely have to filter things. But you know, I have definitely crossed the line with it and I have learned from it.”
There are many actresses and actors out in the world with immense Instagram followings who will tell you they never read the thousands of comments that get left for them each day, but for Lucy it’s a very different story.
If you leave a negative comment on her Instagram account not only will she see it, she will also not hesitate to shut you down and send you on your way.
“There are always going to be people who cross the line, the people who want to be really invasive, but I have gotten to the point where I am really comfortable shutting those people down,” she said. “I have tried not to read the comments, but it would be a lie to say I didn’t because I do. It’s so easy for me to just type some angry response back and post it but I’ve had to learn to really bite my tongue.
“It is nice to read supportive stuff but then there are the assholes that never have anything nice to say.”
Although Lucy is an avid horror film fan, the Paranormal Activity movies still horrify her and she thinks A Quiet Place is one of the most impactful films she’s ever seen, she said there is absolutely nothing terrifying about being on the set.
“The most common question I always get asked is ‘are they scary to film?’ and the answer is always ‘no’,” she said. “Because there are a hundred crew members on the set but it’s fun to do a film with that scary energy and Pretty Little Liars was a lot like that too.
“In saying that though, one of the most bizarre scenes to film in Truth or Dare was the sex scene (which is done with fellow teen TV star Tyler Posey, star of Teen Wolf, who plays Lucas). It was just not a normal sex scene to film because on top of that our characters also become possessed the sex scene so we had to film that as well.
“Filming a sex scene is tough enough on a normal day but then having to also act possessed in that moment, while not knowing what the end result would look like, was a pretty strange one.”
One of the downsides to Instagram fame, as anyone with a significant following can attest to, is that when you build up your story around the highlights of your life, you also find yourself having to publicly discuss the dark times as well.
Which is what Lucy was faced with this year when her TV series Life Sentence, her first solo starring TV vehicle and her highly anticipated follow-up to the juggernaut hit that was Pretty Little Liars was canceled after one season.
Since she had covered the show's conception and journey so intently on her social media accounts, she then found her herself having to cover it's sad demise with equal depth.
"After Pretty Little Liars ended I was in a very interesting place," she told Mamamia. "With Life Sentence the whole experience of just being on that show made me fall back in love with what I do in a way that I had never experienced before.
"I loved it so much but as you all saw, it did not get renewed. It’s sad and it’s okay to be publicly upset about it like I was.
"Life goes on and I will always have those memories. But then I look at the comments people have left on my Instagram posts about it and people really were appreciative of the show so that just makes it all worth it.
"It’s a bummer but life goes on."
So whether you're navigating the terrifying world of horror movies or the even more treacherous world of social media, keep Lucy's words in your head and remember that there is always a lesson to be learned.
Truth or Dare has now been digitally released across Australia. It is rated M.