Rosewood will be welcoming yet another new face to town. Soap star Sydney Penny is joining the cast of “Pretty Little Liars” in an interesting role: the mother of Mona Vanderwaal (Janel Parrish).
Deadline reports Penny, who is best known for her role as Julia Santos on “All My Children,” will be tackling the part of Leona Vanderwaal. Details about the new character are currently unknown. However, since Penny will be playing the mother of the sometimes-kooky Mona, it’s probably safe for “Pretty Little Liars” fans to assume the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Mona’s Janel Parrish and Hanna’s Ashley Benson both took to Instagram to boast their excitement over Sydney Penny’s addition to the Season 5 “Pretty Little Liars” cast.
“Mona finally gets a mama,” Parrish posted with a photo of the pair in a picture frame. “The beautiful @sydsshots.” Penny responded to her on-screen daughter on Twitter, tweeting: “Lucky me! Love my ‘daughter’!”
Benson on the other hand posted a selfie alongside Penny.
“Can’t believe we are working together @sydsshots been in the family for a longgg time,” she captioned the photo.
Both Ashley Benson and Sydney Penny have appeared on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” Benson played Abby Deveraux (2004-07) while Penny appeared as Dr. Liv Norman in a handful of episodes in 2011.
Penny’s casting as Leona Vanderwaal is a recurring role, and even though fans of the ABC Family drama are not sure about what to expect, they are very familiar with Mona’s antics. Previously referred to as “Loser Mona” by Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) before the Queen B teen disappeared, Mona had a major makeover to become one of the most popular girls at Rosewood High School. However in Season 4 viewers learned Alison’s disappearance and Mona’s immediate makeover weren’t a coincidence. Mona had taken advantage of Alison’s fear after her mother buried her alive, and convinced her bullying classmate to leave town and never come back.
After Alison’s disappearance, Mona’s wore many hats: best friend of Hanna (Ashley Benson), hooded torturer of the Liars and a Radley inmate. And while she supposedly found help and stopped secretly harassing the Liars, Alison’s return to town has definitely triggered something in the troubled young woman.
Since Season 5 kicked off in early June, Mona has formed an anti-Alison army to make sure the former teen queen doesn’t take over the school again. Determined to drive her classmate out of town for good this time, “Pretty Little Liars” viewers discovered Mona had teamed up with other major anti-Alison players: Melissa (Torrey DeVitto), Jenna (Tammin Sursok), Lucas (Brendan Robinson) … and in a shocking reveal, Sydney (Chloe Bridges), a new Rosewood student.
The special 100th episode of the show revealed Mona’s plan for forcing Alison out of town was to begin alienating her from her friends -- and she succeeded in putting a wedge between them when she recorded a particularly brutal (and physical) exchange with her nemesis.
Sydney Penny is rumored to make her debut in Season 5 episode 13. What do you think is in store for Mona’s mom? Tweet your thoughts about Momma Vanderwaal to @AmandaTVScoop.