Ian Harding Covers BELLO mag Entertainment July 2015

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#1 Crush: IAN HARDING – Featured in BELLO mag Entertainment July 2015 issue #75 – Download BELLO App for free

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As the handsome and affable Ezra Fitz on the hit ABC Family series, Pretty Little Liars, Ian Harding has dealt with just about everything, from an illicit affair with a student to attempted murder. But primetime drama aside, the actor is currently having one of those out-of-sorts moments that are much more apropos of real life.

“I’m arriving in Palm Springs,” he reveals, as we chat on a typically sun-drenched So-Cal Spring afternoon. “And I’m not particularly a hot weather person, so I get really anxious in the desert. Maybe it’s because I know there’s no water here.”

Harding is in town for the Palm Springs International Shortfest, and nervousness aside, he’s quite happy to be here, even if it is only a brief visit. “A short that I did with a friend got into the festival so I’m out here for that, but then I have to shoot back to LA to film the season premiere of the show.”
Time management like this is something he’s become quite adept at, having starred on the buzzy teen soap for five years now, filming 20+ episodes per season which, you can imagine, leaves little room in his schedule for anything else. Not that you’ll hear Harding complain. “I’m thankfully very busy in all the ways that I enjoy being busy,” he says.

Plus, as any actor will tell you, not many projects have the legs that PLL has had. “I always knew that Pretty Little Liars had a built-in audience because the books were sort of a cult classic,” he admits, referring to Sara Shepherd’s YA literary series on which the show is based. “But I honestly just expected to do the show to polish off some college debt. I didn’t expect it to be what it became, because I immediately assume that anything I’m a part of is probably bad.”

Harding has a habit of joking like this; not in a needy, fishing-for-compliments kind of way, but rather, endearingly, in a self-deprecating, relatable way, as if acknowledging that while he is incredibly handsome and talented, he’s not about to get hung up on it. Well, that, and the fact that like most of us, he’s his own harshest critic.

“I’ve been asked to watch the dallies or look at playback – sometimes for technical reasons, sometimes even complimentary ones – and I know this is annoying, but I never watch,” Harding explains. “Until we’re done with the project, till it’s wrapped and in the hole, I don’t ever watch because I start to get in my head and second guess things, and then I start to act from an outside perspective.”

Needless to say, he’s not exactly binge watching Pretty Little Liars on the weekend. “If I’m flipping channels and happen to see my face, I don’t have to see a therapist for a couple of weeks, but I do try and avoid it.” Instead, the Heidelberg-born, Washington, D.C.-raised son of a journalist/military historian chooses to spend his off time enjoying more mature pursuits. He’s heavily involved with The Lupus Foundation Of America, having experienced the devastating and tricky disease first hand as a kid. “My mother was diagnosed multiple time with Meningitis or MS. [Doctors] couldn’t tell it was [lupus] at first, and this was in D.C. – definitely a Metropolitan area.” But the actor also admits, “I do things that I think a lot of middle-aged white guys do. I love camping. I love hiking, skiing. I’m helping to open a brewery in Virginia. I grow some of my own fruits and vegetables, and I read a ton.”

It would seem that a love of the written word is to be expected when your father’s a writer, but Harding believes it goes even deeper than that. “What I inherited the most from my dad is his love of stories. He’s able to find interesting stories and he’s an excellent storyteller and that’s on both sides of the family. His ability to captivate a room I always found really wonderful.”

And speaking of stories, it’s impossible to chat with the actor and not attempt to glean at least a few deets about what’s next for Ezra in part two of season 6. But alas, Harding will only say little. “We just read the first episode in 6B where there’s a bit of a time jump, and without giving too much away, how things develop is really satisfying because we start to see more flaws and little bit more of [Ezra’s] humanity.”

It’s diplomatic yet still overwhelmingly positive answers like these that Harding excels at. In fact, one would be hardpressed to find him speaking negatively about almost anything. Social media, for example. “I just don’t look at something and say I want to take a selfie with this, but you learn where you fit into certain things and I think being online and using social media for something other than purely myself is how I can justify using it.” On his sometimes grueling schedule, he explains that “the girls have it so much harder than I do because they’re there five days a week- ten to twelve hours, sometimes more – and they have whole swaths of dialogue to remember.”

Not surprisingly, he’s even managed to add a positive spin to the unease he’s currently experiencing. Upon thinking further about Palm Springs, he tells me, “I bet it’s a nice town otherwise. I’m driving past some cool mid-century houses right now, so if someone was to walk out with one of those long cigarettes, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

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photography AMANDA PEIXOTO-ELKINS www.amandaelkins.com
Words by Brad Liberti
art direction ALEKSANDAR TOMOVIC
production LESLIE ALEJANDRO
styling WARREN ALFIE BAKER www.warrenalfiebaker.com
grooming BARBARA GUILLAUME at ART DEPARTMENT using Advocare moisturizer with sunscreen and ORIBE
wardrobe assistant KIRSTEN KAY
video ARNO DIEM
interview JAMES MCCOURT
special thanks Alle Gahdban, Lynn Teschner, and Meg Kollar
location AN ALLE GHADBAN DESIGN

About The Author

Stephane Marquet
Creative Director

First of all, excuse my French! … I was born in the South of France. Lived in Paris for 10 years and travelled the world until I moved to Los Angeles in 2008, because obviously recession was a great time to move to a new country! I also arrived around Halloween and was greeted at the Social Security offices by a nurse who directed to the window Number 6 so a witch could hand me my social security number. Welcome to America. I am a painter, a photographer and the creative director of BELLO mag.

One Response

  1. Pretty Little Liars’ Ian Harding Covers BELLO mag July Entertainment Issue – OHLALAmag

    […] As the handsome and affable Ezra Fitz on the hit ABC Family series, Pretty Little Liars, Ian Harding has dealt with just about everything, from an illicit affair with a student to attempted murder. But primetime drama aside, the actor is currently having one of those out-of-sorts moments that are much more apropos of real life. “I’m arriving in Palm Springs,” he reveals, as we chat on a typically sun-drenched So-Cal Spring afternoon. “And I’m not particularly a hot weather person, so I get really anxious in the desert. Maybe it’s because I know there’s no water here.” … read more. […]

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