"You were always my favorite."
Pretty Little Liars is known for having some of the most passionate fans in the history of television, but with those five little words, a new fandom was created which can rival even the strongest of shippers. (Oh yes, we're talking about you, Delena fans.)
Viewers know and love Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) and Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse) as two of the prettiest little liars in Rosewood, a town that is bursting with deception, drama and deep-dark secrets. However, once fans discovered that the two lovely ladies once shared a secret romantic past, they quickly became one of the most popular couples on the show, despite the fact that we've only witnessed in two brief yet tender kisses.
Now that we're coming to terms with the shocking news that Ali has actually been alive this entire time (Seriously—what?!), the Emily-Ali fandom, more proudly known as Emison, is ravenous for details on what's to come for the duo's future romantic entanglements.
To feed your frenzy and prepare you for all the steamy moments ahead, we sat down with leading ladies Mitchell and Pieterse last week for an exclusive in-depth talk of all things Emison. (Please feel free to send your Valentine's Day gifts of appreciation to the E! Studios in Los Angeles.)
When asked how the ladies feel about Emison eclipsing all the other couples on the series right now, Mitchell was quick to voice her admiration. "I think it's kind of amazing," she gushed. "I had a hint of how big it would be when they found out [about their past], but now, I'm even more shocked with everything. You think it's going to be big, but you don't realize how big the reaction is actually going to be."
Although Emily is currently in a romantic relationship with Paige (Lindsey Shaw), Mitchell is eager to explore whichever relationship will make Emily the happiest. "Let's just say there are a lot of fans for Emison, and there are also a lot of Paily fans that are like, what's going to happen to Paige and Emily? And to be honest, I don't know," she revealed.
"That's a [creators'] question. But I'm excited to see where Emily and Ali's relationship goes, especially knowing where it left off. So I'm very excited for #Emison—gotta use my hashtags right," the actress added with a laugh.
Every PLL fan knows that Ali's confidence and charm are undeniable and it's nearly impossible not to fall under her spell—either in a romantic haze or just in desperation to be her friend. Pieterse clarified that this devious trait is something that naturally flows throughout Ali's body—it's genetic.
"Honestly, I think she learned all these bad habits from her mother, and her mother is very manipulative," she explained. "She's scarred by that emotionally and physically, and so I think once she learned that she had that power over someone, she used it to her advantage and she used it a lot, time and time again."
Throughout the series, there has been speculation as to whether or not Ali's feelings for Emily have been 100 percent true or if Ali merely loves being loved. So we asked the gorgeous gals what they truly believe Ali's intentions have been throughout their flirtations.
"I think Ali was playing," Mitchell explained. "I know that Emily had deep-rooted feelings for Alison, and she was like her first real love. And I think she also opened her eyes to be like, OK, I have feelings for another person who is a girl and obviously that opened up another door. But for Emily, 100 percent it's real, and I don't think it ever went away, even when she was supposed to be dead for a little while."
However, Pieterse offered an intriguing perspective from inside Alison's mind in her current state of isolation and fear: "I think Alison is desperate for someone that she can trust, and so she's kind of grabbing at straws at the moment," she said. "But I think she really does love Emily and feels close to her and still feels that connection. And I honestly do feel that Alison had real feelings for her."
Pieterse candidly continued, "I think she might have been just as confused as Emily was, and she didn't really know what she was doing. She was spiraling out of control."
Most recently, Spencer (Troian Bellisario) warned Emily that Ali could be trying to manipulate her emotions in order to get what she wants. However Pieterse defended Ali saying, "I think, she has been in hiding for so long, and she just really needed that connection, that kind of grounding. It was devastating for her [when Spencer showed up]. Absolutely devastating."
Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.