Sure, most people may recognize Keegan Allen as the mysterious Toby Cavanaugh (with an amazing set of abs) on Pretty Little Liars, but did you know he’s also a talented writer and photographer? In his new book, Life. Love. Beauty (available today on amazon.com), the 25-year-old takes fans on a photographic journey through his Los Angeles childhood all the way up to his fast-rising acting career. The photos are not only stunning, but every captured memory is accompanied by heartfelt stories, poems, and song lyrics as well as several interesting tidbits straight from the PLL set.
We recently caught up with Allen where he divulged on everything from his hairstyling secrets to his tips for the perfect selfie. And he even answered the most burning question of all: When will we finally find out who “A” is? Read on for the full scoop, and then check out his five favorite photos from the book, below!
What inspired you to create this book of photographs?
Before I began my training as an actor and really got into realm of the craft of acting, I was obsessed with photography because when I was really, really young my father had this Leica M6, this beautiful camera and he would bring it with him everywhere. He would always pose us for photos or would take candid shots and growing up in that kind of realm of constant obsessive need to capture: It kind of rubbed off on me.
How do you make those everyday moments seem beautiful and interesting?
I like to take photos that impact me and might impact others. Images are always up for interpretation. Had I never explained certain images, people would interpret them completely different because they’re seeing them from a perspective of their own. Sometimes you get lucky and find someone who sees it the same way as you, but it’s super rare.
What techniques do you have for achieving the perfect selfie?
I think it has to do with the set and setting and making sure you’re conveying why you’re taking it, and you’re not just taking some shameless by-yourself selfie. I think the perfect selfie has purpose.
You have amazing hair, which you showcase in your book and on every episode of Pretty Little Liars. What are your styling secrets and what is the primping process like on set?
On set, Kim Ferry cuts my hair and styles my hair and she’s just amazing. Recently, Toby’s become a police officer so he has a different haircut now and that’s all because of Kim. But when I’m not on Pretty Little Liars, I usually put coconut oil in my hair. And I go surfing so the salt water makes it look awesome. Sometimes people don’t realize how amazing the ocean is. If you dip your head in the ocean, your hair will be awesome.
You mentioned in the book how much Troian Bellasario (Spencer Hastings) inspires you in your career, but your onscreen relationship seems to be on the rocks so far this season. Is Spoby heading for a break-up?
Troian in real life is one of my closest friends but as far as the show goes, that’s hard to tell. I can tell you though, relationships are based on compromise and bargaining and when somebody like Toby or somebody like Spencer are not in that realm of the relationship for whatever reason, be it the job they’re doing has taken over their life or they want the answers to secrets they feel like they can't get, the relationship might falter. But this is Pretty Little Liars—the fans love to see wrenches thrown in their favorite relationships for a little while and see how they recover.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from the remainder of Season 5?
You can expect the most thrilling, just completely jarring array of situations that the show has ever done. Hats off to Marlene King, Joseph Gordon, and Oliver Goldstick in a way where they’ve emulated classic cinema. They give the audience the answers before the characters, so the audience gets to watch in this fishbowl their favorite characters running from this monster; they all know who the monster is and it’s like murder in the graveyard. You know who it is and the characters don’t and you’re sitting there biting your nails and screaming at the TV and I love that.
We’ve heard you now know who "A" is. When can fans expect the big reveal?
The joy is that you do know who it is and as you watch it will be revealed to you. It will be revealed by the end of this season—and it’s the real one, none of this runaround stuff. It really is this person. The reason I feel like the show will continue after that is because you’ll want to see what happens. ... It’s all explained in really good detail. You can go back to Seasons 1 through 4 and see who this person is the entire time and see how they function and operate.
Wow. Is it going to be that obvious?
Some people will be like, "Oh my God, it was so freakin’ obvious! How did I not notice this?" And then other people will be like "I never would’ve known!" It depends on the person’s level of engagement with each episode.
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Keegan Allen's 5 Favorite Photos from his Book, Life. Love. Beauty:
Shay Mitchell. I took it of her at the beach. It almost feels staged with the lifeguard tower, but that was a really fun photo.