‘PLL: Original Sin’s Zaria Teases Faran’s New Romance: Henry ‘Looks Out For Her’

In the midst of the brewing drama, Faran can depend on Henry. HL spoke EXCLUSIVELY with 'PLL: Original Sin' star Zaria about Faran and Henry's relationship, the backstory behind Faran and Karen's hostility, and more.

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There’s so much on the line for Faran. In the midst of trying to stay at the top of her ballet game, she’s also dealing with the murderous new A. In the wake of Karen’s shocking death, Faran has more on her plate than ever.

HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with PLL: Original Sin star Zaria about what’s to come for Faran. The actress teased several “revelations” for Faran as she deals with the A drama and navigates her complicated relationship with her mother. However, Henry emerges as someone Faran can truly depend on. Read our Q&A below:

Zaria as Faran on ‘PLL: Original Sin.’ (HBO Max)

Faran is an incredible dancer. Did you have any ballet background before PLL: Original Sin?
Zaria: I danced on and off. As a kid, I moved around quite a bit, so I wasn’t as consistent as Faran is. Faran is like, I have to dance every day. If I’m breathing, I’m dancing. And that’s what I love about her. She’s in high school knowing that about herself, which I identified through acting. I had amazing rehearsals with Kelly Devine, who does Broadway, and Ben Cook who was also on Broadway. So I was in really great hands teaching-wise. I felt like a really, really blessed student.

I’m going to need there to be a performance of Black Swan, even just a number this season. I feel like that could go very well with Pretty Little Liars.
Zaria: Avery, I think that’s really smart of you. I can’t say much more, but…

All the girls had their reasons for wanting to take Karen down. Imogen was hesitating at times regarding how far to go, but Faran never did. She’s like, Karen’s got to be taken down a notch. No mercy. Will we get more backstory into why there’s so much hostility between Karen and Faran? 
Zaria: Absolutely. I mean, the first episodes definitely hinted at it. Karen nearly says the thing that she thinks, which is the only reason Faran is getting the role is because she’s Black. She doesn’t get the word out, but she nearly says it. To have a character that works so hard and puts everything into the art, and then just has it blamed on you’re just a diversity hire is something that I’m used to hearing myself. I think that there is going to be a reveal on why exactly Faran feels so strongly, but I think Faran is really good at focusing on the art. She just wants to dance. It’s all she wants to do. Karen and Madame Giry have been impediments to that. I think she’s taken so much on the chin, and she’s just had enough. I don’t think she humanizes Karen. I think she sees Karen as a monster. I think Karen is her A.

Maybe Karen didn’t deserve to die in the way she did, but it doesn’t negate all the bad and terrible things she did. 
Zaria: Here’s the thing, Faran wasn’t trying to kill her. I think a theme in Pretty Little Liars is be careful who you call the bully because it might just be you. I love Faran, but I’m also aware of her being a teenager and making mistakes. So yeah, that was a mistake. She lashed out at someone she felt was violent towards her. I think the most violent form of aggression is aggression that is gaslit. You’re hurt and then told, why are you crying? You’re just making this up in your head? That’s impossible to fix, so her way of fixing it is getting on Karen’s level. She shouldn’t have stooped that low.

We know from the original series that this A game is a long game. A was sending Faran and the others messages long before the current situation unfolded. There was the message at the end of episode 3: “One bully down. Five more to go.” Are we going to get insight into why A views the girls as bullies? 
Zaria: Our writers are really good at closing circles. I will say that you will leave the season satisfied and wanting to rewatch it. That is the thing. But I think it’s a great example of, in the first two episodes, of them being bullies. Even though Karen did do a lot of terrible things, there are better ways to handle it than to stoop to her level. I think that was reason enough for A.

The show reaches back 20 years to 1999 and connects to what happened with the mothers. We see that Faran and her mom don’t have the best relationship. Will the show dive deeper into that? 
Zaria: Original Sin definitely stems from our relationship with our mothers. It was such an honor working with Zakiya [Young]. It was a masterclass in acting and being able to build my character with hers. That was another beautiful thing that you don’t always get to do. You don’t get to build a family in that way, so I was really grateful for that. A lot of who Faran is is because of her mom. I don’t want to put a blanket over us, but I think that that is a common thread among us. Faran is discovering herself within the series, and she just goes through so many different revelations of what it means to exist in a world not built for her and as a Black woman, and she gets a lot of that knowledge from her mom. She has to learn to decipher what is her truth and what is her mom’s truth and, and what will guide her from then. She mostly lives with her dad. She’s a daddy’s girl. Dad lets her do whatever because he’s busy working. Faran feels like she’s the mom of the house, so when her mom comes into town she’s like, “What’s going on?”

Faran and Henry on ‘PLL: Original Sin.’ (HBO Max)

Imogen, Tabby, Faran, Mouse, and Noa find themselves growing closer after finding a common enemy. Over the course of the rest of the season, who will Faran grow closer to? 
Zaria: The thing about Faran is that she grows closest to the pointe shoes. But in that class, she has Henry, who is her dance partner. I think she just has a hard time trusting people. I don’t think she lets any of the girls in because I think she’s just not one to go, oh, we both have the same bully, let’s team up. She’s kind of just so laser-focused on what she wants to achieve. So I think when Henry comes into her life, she realizes that this person is trustworthy and that she wants to open up to who is also good at dance. She can hone her skills. So I think it’s either Henry, or she also has a really soft spot for Mouse. Whenever Mouse says, “Oh, I wasn’t invited.” She goes, “I didn’t want to go either. It was lame.” Or something like that. She has such a deep empathy for people that feel outcasted.

Speaking of the Henry romance, what is going on with that? 
Zaria: I cannot wait for everyone to watch that whole relationship unfold. It was such a magnetic experience because we got to bond over dancing. He’s such a good dancer, Ben Cook. He was in West Side Story, so it was such a learning experience all the time. I get really excited about that relationship because there’s no one like Henry in this series for Faran. There’s no one she can really depend on. Not her parents, not anyone else, and Henry is someone that looks out for her.