People.com just won’t let me rest. In what I’m sure they’re going to claim is a typo (as if major publications ever have those) they teased to the world that “Ashely Benson” would direct an episode of the Pretty Little Liars spin-off called Mediocre Medium Maligners. Just kidding, it’s called The Perfectionists, but there’s clearly a missed opportunity for alliteration here.
Now, I’ve only sort of watched Pretty Little Liars, but I do know that it is a show rife with secret twins, murder, and actors who are probably too old to be playing high school students. Today we’ll focus on the first part: secret twins. Is art imitating life in this case? Who is “Ashely Benson”?
Ashley Benson (the actor) was born in 1989. “Ashley” was the 2nd most popular name that year for baby girls in the US, according to the Social Security Administration. Here’s where it gets interesting: That same year “Ashely” ranked #541 in popularity.
Next, it was off to the most reliable source on the internet, Famousbirthdays.com to see if Ashley Benson publicly acknowledges Ashely Benson as a sibling. She does not — there is only record of Shaylene Benson, an older sister who was born August 25th (this is Famousbirthdays.com after all.)
So what are we to believe? People has on video a woman referred to both as “Ashley” and “Ashely” indicating that she will direct an episode of The Perfectionists at some point in the near future. As someone who grew up watching a lot of sitcoms, the most obvious conclusion is that Ashley and Ashely have both been pretending to be “Ashley Benson,” a successful actress who is now trying her hand at directing. We’ve been watching two women pretend to be one for years, perhaps one of the greatest cons to be pulled off in Hollywood since Crash won the Best Picture over Brokeback Mountain. Like I said, publications like People don’t just have typos—and by now, you know about the layered meanings in all of their articles.
Regardless, according to Women and Hollywood, women only comprised 17% of television directors in the 2016-2017 season (the most recent year with data available.) So whether this turns out to be a “typo” on People’s part, or if the truth is something much more interesting (we all know which one is more likely here), news that more diversity is coming to our television screens is always good.
A lingering question still remains… is “Ashely” pronounced like “Ashley” (undoubtedly making for some confusing situations for their parents, teachers, and friends growing up) or is it “A-Shely”?
Image sources (in order of posting): People.com, Getty