Ian Harding Hosts Dinner Parties: "I've Mastered the Crock-Pot"
If actor Ian Harding weren't steaming up screens as Ezra on ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars, he may just have a career in the kitchen. After all, when the 27-year-old isn't in front of the cameras, he's at the stove cooking up dinners for his costars, including Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell and Troian Bellisario. "I've mastered the Crock-Pot," the actor tells Us Weekly of his penchant for the slow cooker, which he often turns to when inviting the PLL gang over for a shared meal.
Indeed, spending 12-16 hours on set each day can be daunting for the young Hollywood stars, who often pass the time between takes by playing practical jokes on one another. "Our show has such heavy material, everyone can feel on edge," costar Keegan Allen explains. "Then someone sits on a whoopee cushion, and we'll all of a sudden feel better!"
The gang's biggest prankster? None other than Benson, who never fails to make her costars chuckle with her latest antics. "I'm not saying that she isn't mature," says Mitchell, "but she always brings out that kid in me." One of Benson's go-to tricks? "One of my favorite things to do when I meet a new person on set is to act like a total diva," she tells Us. "I love messing with people!"
Gathering for family-style meals is just one of the ways the group winds down after their long days in front of the lens. Like Harding, Benson can be somewhat of a homebody. She loves to bake ("Premixed stuff, though, like chocolate chip cookies"), shop online for furniture (she skims interior-design blog A Touch of Luxe for ideas) and prefers playing with her shih tzu-Maltese, Olive, instead of going on dates. As Benson tells Us, "I'm obsessed with my dog; you don't even know. I dress her up and have photo shoots with her all the time!"
Harding, for his part, appears to love noshing on the treats he whips up in the kitchen. "You can wash laundry on Keegan Allen's abs," he tells Us in jest. "Mine? You can only dry stuff on it."