“Pretty Little Liars” Star Keegan Allen Reveals The Grittier Side Of Hollywood In Personal New Photo Book

Keegan Allen author photo credit Luke FontanaPhoto Credit: Luke Fontana

As an actor who starred on one of the hottest shows on television, Keegan Allen is someone who can authoritatively speak to the Hollywood we all see… and the one that we don’t. The “Pretty Little Liars” star is a Hollywood native, growing up in a world that millions visit and many more imagine. With an avid fan base that follows him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and a busy career that includes seven years on his hit Freeform series as well as in films directed by James Franco and Gia Coppola, he is also a lifelong photographer whose first book, “life.love.beauty,” was a national bestseller. And this week, on April 24th, he’ll release his second book, on a subject matter he’s well versed in: Hollywood. In ” HOLLYWOOD: Photos and Stories from Foreverland,” Allen shares a photo-driven narrative, featuring more than 250 emotionally-charged color and black and white photos. “Hollywood” captures the beauty and glamour of the place itself—with unusual angles of the famous Chateau Marmont sign at twilight, secret local hideaways, red carpets and more—but also the darker side of dreams unrealized in the faces, hands, eyes, and footsteps of those who live on the fringe of celebrity. Here, Allen—who’s also a musician in addition to being an actor and photographer—discusses the inspiration behind his new book and shares his favorite spots in L.A.



Hollywood by Keegan Allen
Hollywood by Keegan Allen

How does the Hollywood we see differ from the Hollywood of reality in your personal experience?

Growing up here in Hollywood, I have experienced the ebb and flow of this place as a local and a tourist. It’s home, but it always feels new. Hollywood exists with positive dreams of tangible successes and the other side of that. My photography has always been intimate and personal, and with a beautiful and weird city that thrives on being seen, I wanted to transport the reader into a journey that has taken years to craft and fine tune.

In this sense, social media seems to be more about fantasy and aspiration than actual reality. What’s your take?

Social media for me has always been another avenue to create and test photography styles and ideas rather than a strict visual fodder for the masses. And in the age of “look how good my life is” and “FOMO” I tend to lean more into fantasy and inspiration from my social media experience. I draw so much inspiration from photography pages, hype-angst pages , blogs, and assorted collections of weird art. The more personal the work or writing, the better.

Is there one particular photograph that appears in “Hollywood” that touches you the most?

It’s not possible for me to single out one image in this book since the whole book is one massive portrait of Hollywood. But I am always impacted by the personal experiences I went through photographing the people I met on this journey.

How would you describe Hollywood and its residents?

Beautiful, weird, stunning, weird, new, weird, old, weird, classic, weird and a foreverland.

Hollywood has been good to you, but have you ever seen its darker side personally?

The darker side is different for everyone. Some people are immune to seeing it and others feel it with visceral accuracy. I tend to stay on the shoreline of that darkness and admire the beauty in disaster rather than seek out a personal experience with it.

“Pretty Little Liars” was always pretty dark. Did you turn that off during breaks on-set? How?

Jokes and memes.

Walk of Fame
Walk of Fame

Which of the cast members are you still closest to, and how often do you see them?

All of them. Still great friends, we all get together when we have free time and I think we will all maintain lifelong friendships.

Given that you act, write and perform, is there one medium you prefer the most, or feed the most? Which and why?

I try and feed them all when they are hungry. I don’t like to burn out on any one thing, so I mix it up to keep each creative avenue fresh and abundant. I’ve been doing a podcast, playing music, and swimming. Also, I meditate a lot at the beach. That helps feed the soul.

What’s up next after the promotional tour for “Hollywood?”

I’ve been focused on my photography and book tour after the show so I will be switching back over to acting and simultaneously shooting a new photography book.

Please list your top 5 favorite spots in L.A. and what you love about them.

Only 5? I have a top 50 but… The Hollywood sign, Griffith Park, Malibu Pier, Angeles Crest and of course, the Hollywood Walk of Fame (Love-hate relationship with the Walk of Fame but definitely a favorite place). Each place to me is part of a larger quintessential LA must see.

The streets and the people
The streets and the people